Why does Glycaemic Index matter in sport?

Providing your body with fuel is essential and will help to ensure you can perform at your best.

 

Carbohydrates

What are carbs?

Carbs are the body’s preferred source of energy. They are not the only nutrient that the body can get energy from, but carbs provide energy more quickly and efficiently than other sources.

 

Why are they important?

Carbs don’t only provide energy, but carbohydrate containing foods such as wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and dairy, are also rich in a range of important vitamins and minerals required by the body (think: B vitamins, magnesium, calcium and iron)

man eating banana

Glycaemic Index (GI)

What is GI?

Glycaemic Index is a measure of how quickly or slowly carbohydrate foods are broken down in the body and the effect which they have on energy and blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are high in fibre, broken down slowly by the body and provide energy at a more steady rate. High GI foods are lower in fibre, broken down more quickly by the body and provide a quick rise (often followed by a quick fall) in energy.

 

When to eat low GI foods

Low GI carbohydrates should make up the majority of carbohydrate foods in your diet.

Your main meals should all contain a source of low GI carbohydrate, as well as any snacks that are not eaten prior (1-2 hours) or during your session.

 

When to eat high GI foods

High GI carbohydrates should be eaten less frequently, but are an important source of energy when fuelling for sport. If consuming a snack to increase energy levels before or during a training session or game, high GI foods are a good choice. They will provide your body with energy quickly and require less effort to digest. This will also help reduce any possible stomach upset during a session.

 

Glycaemic Index of foods

 

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