Posted by: Nic | 2009/02/19

Food for exercise

Hi Doc

I would like to know how long before you exercise should you eat something and what kinds of foods should you eat? And how long after you have exercised should you eat or drink something and what and why? Will exercising influence uptake? The why I understand it is that you have to eat something small like a fruit directly after exercise to replenish your energy levels in your blood. But what' s your view?

Thanks for your time.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Nic
Eating before exercise depends on when you had your last meal, so if you exercise after work which is about 4 hours after lunch and if your energy levels are low then you can either eat a food with a high-glycaemic index (GI) such as an energy bar or a jam sandwich, or use an energy drink like Energade or Powerade during your exercise session to provide instant energy for your physical activity. Eating after exercise depends on how you feel. Some athletes feel slightly nauseous and full, while other feel ravenous. It is a good idea to have a high-GI food or some more of an energy drink in the first half hour after strenuous physical exercise to replenish your glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which helps with recovery. Eat a high-carb meal later when you get hungry (e.g. pasta made with Durum wheat with a small portion of lean mince or vegetables, yoghurt with fruit, etc.).
Click on 'Fitness' at the top of this page and then on 'Nutrition' and read the articles on 'Diets for sportsmen and women' esp about carbohydrate intake, carbo-loading and the GI.
Best regards

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