Carbohydrate (CHO) is the body's most limited fuel and the most heavily metabolized during moderate-intensity exercise. For this reason it is recommended that endurance athletes consume a high-CHO diet (8-10 g CHO ⋅ kg body weight−1 ⋅ day−1) to enhance training and performance. A review of the literature supports the benefits of CHO supplementation on endurance performance. The benefits of chronic high-CHO diets on endurance performance are not as clear. Recent evidence suggests that a high-CHO diet may be necessary for optimal adaptations to training. However, the paucity of data in this area precludes any concrete conclusions. The practicality of high-CHO diets is not well understood. The available evidence would indicate that a high-CHO diet is the best dietary recommendation for endurance athletes.
Kevin Allen Jacobs and W. Michael Sherman are with the Sport and Exercise Science Section in the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services, The Ohio State University, 337 W. 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210.