Carbohydrates and sports


The carbohydrates are summarized as a compound of carbon with hydrates. The carbohydrates are distinguished into:

  • Simple sugars (monosaccharides): glucose, fructose, galactose e.g. dextrose
  • Dual sugars (dissaccharides): maltose, sucrose, lactose e.g.

    beet sugar

  • Multiple sugars (oligiosaccharides): consisting of 3 to 10 monosaccharides, e.g. energy drink in sports, toast
  • Poly sugars (polysaccharides): starch, cellulose e.g. potatoes, noodles, rice

The polysaccharides consist of compounds sometimes more than 100. 000 monosaccharide molecules.

One of the most important polysaccharides is vegetable starch, which is present in both potatoes and cereal products. The animal starch (glycogen) is mainly contained in the muscles, but plays hardly any role in nutrition. Glycogen, however, plays an important role as an energy store. Cellulose can be stored in the stomachThe vegetable starch is converted into individual sugar molecules in the intestine, but also in the mouth starting with the intestine, and stored in the muscle in the form of glycogen, or transported to the organs, especially muscles, by the bloodstream and burned as required or also stored as glycogen. The brain covers the demand for carbohydrates exclusively from glucose (glucose).


The human body has three ways to store carbohydrates. The carbohydrate storage in the liver (approx. 75g.

), the storage in the muscle (approx. 300g.) and the carbohydrate storage in the blood (approx.

5g.). As already mentioned, carbohydrates are energy suppliers. The carbohydrates from the liver are needed for organ functions.

The blood sugar level is always kept constant, otherwise blood sugar diseases (diabetes mellitus) will develop. The carbohydrate stores in the liver and muscles can be increased by regular exercise. This provides the body with more energy.

However, this increase in storage is only possible through the intake of polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates). Although simple sugars provide energy, they do not contain any fiber or minerals and have a negative effect on cholesterol levels. Therefore, monosaccharides and disaccharides should not account for more than 10% of the daily carbohydrate intake.

In order to be able to use the carbohydrates effectively, a combination with other food components is necessary. 1. potassium 2. liquid 3. chromium 4. proteins

  • Carbohydrates need potassium to be stored in the muscle. Potassium is mainly found in fruits, salads and vegetables.

    Therefore endurance athletes should always link their diet to these nutrients.

  • In addition to potassium, sufficient fluid is necessary to store the carbohydrates in the muscle. At least 2.5 liters should be drunk daily. Adequate fluids include water, herbal and fruit teas, fruit juice spritzers and other sports drinks.

    Coffee, black and green tea should always be taken in addition with a glass of water, as they have a diuretic effect and therefore do not provide optimum liquid.

  • The trace element chromium improves the effect of insulin and allows carbohydrates to be better absorbed by the muscles. Chromium serves as a lock opener. Especially in the morning chromium should be contained in the nutrients.
  • Last but not least, high quality proteins play an important role in carbohydrate intake.

    Protein improves the insulin effect and thus additionally enables an improved absorption of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates: Potassium: Chromium: Protein: The following topic “Carbohydrate Table” gives you information about the carbohydrate content of certain foods.

  • Noodles
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Muesli
  • Tomato sauce
  • Vegetables
  • Tomatoes, peppers
  • Quark
  • Fruits
  • Cappuccino
  • Mushrooms
  • Edam, Gouda
  • Wholegrain Flakes
  • Nuts
  • Almonds
  • Cheese
  • Peas
  • Fish, meat
  • Beans
  • Eggs, curd
  • Milk, yogurt

During short-term maximum physical performance (approx. 20 muscle contractions), the required energy is obtained from creatine phosphates (KrP).

Only after an exertion period of more than approx. 8 seconds is the energy provided by carbohydrates. First anaerobically, without oxygen and then aerobically, under the consumption of oxygen.

Glycogen in particular plays a decisive role in endurance stress. Per Kg musculature approx. 15 gram glycogen are available.In a man weighing 80 kilos, this corresponds to about 500 grams of glycogen in the entire body.

It is assumed that the body burns about 200 grams of carbohydrates during an exercise of about 30 minutes. Since the glycogen stores are sufficiently filled under normal conditions, a supply of carbohydrates immediately prior to exertion is not necessary. However, the glycogen stores play a performance-limiting role during prolonged exertion. Carbohydrates should either be supplied in the form of monosaccharides during competition and the glycogen storage should be sufficiently filled.