header

Carbs, Protein and Fats: Demystified

Carbs, proteins, and fats – there’s so much information about what’s good and what’s bad that we’re making it simple for you, with our quick guide!

Food is subdivided into three main food groups, protein, fat, and carbohydrate, known as ‘macronutrients’. These are the three classes of food, each with different properties and different benefits for daily life and performance. There are also categories within these ‘macronutrients’ such as minerals, vitamins, and fibre.

Every day a new diet that prioritizes one macro over another hits the hype, with ‘high fat-low carb’, ‘high protein-low fat’ and every other fad coming and going on a regular basis. However, there are a few key things and general tips you want to know to stay healthy and happy.

We’re going to break down just how carbohydrate, protein and fat play a part in your daily life, their role in your cycling performance, and the best types to eat.

PROTEIN

The building blocks

Approximate ideal proportion of total daily calorie intake

20-30%

Ideal sources for cyclists

Protein is the macronutrient essential for growth and repair of the body. Protein produces amino acids which build your cells and muscles, and assist the mechanism of the hormones which regulate your body’s processes.

Try to focus on lean sources of protein where possible, such as white meat and fish. Beef is an excellent source of protein, and you should definitely include it in your diet – but it’s generally advised to eat red meat sparingly due to potential wider health impacts.

There’s a lot of emphasis on protein in modern diets, however its role can get overplayed and many tend to overeat protein. Remember that you can only take on around 20g protein in one sitting, as that’s all your body can absorb. Examples of 20g protein include three whole eggs or around 100g chicken.

Protein is a key macronutrient to take on board soon after a particularly long or tough ride, as this is the point when your muscles are in most need of repair after the stress placed on them during your cycle. Aim to take on around 20g protein within half an hour of the ride.

Post-ride protein is most effective at repairing and restoring your body when paired with carbohydrate. Good examples of post-ride recovery snacks include a protein shake, chocolate milk, or nut butter on toast.

If you would like to work out an approximate total protein intake per day based on your profile, check out this great calculator on Fitness Volt!

Carbohydrates

The fuel

Approximate ideal proportion of total daily calorie intake

50-60%

Ideal sources for cyclists

Carbohydrates provide your muscles with glucose, which is converted in the body to Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) – our primary source of energy.

There is only a limited amount of carbohydrate that the body can store. Once you’ve maxed out the carbohydrate tank, your body stores it as fat. This is one of the reasons that carbohydrate is stigmatized in society, perhaps wrongly.

Don’t let the latest ‘low carb’ diet fool you – if you’re riding lots, carbs are king! Carbohydrate will give you the fastest and most effective source of fuel for your rides, and if you don’t take on enough carbohydrate before or during a ride, you’ll be out of gas and will have no fun.

It’s because of this that you may want to eat a more carbohydrate-rich diet in the day before a particularly big ride, so as to ensure that your tanks are fully topped up.

As there’s only so much carbohydrate that we’re able to store in our body, we need to keep replenishing it over particularly long or intense rides. You can fuel your ride with specially made energy bars and gels, but there’s plenty of food at your local store that will also give you easy to carry carbs. Bananas are a favourite of every cyclist, and other readily available high-carb foods include dates, cereal bars, or good old PB&J sandwiches!

Carbohydrates can be classified by their Glycaemic Index (GI), which is a scale of how fast they will release energy for use in your body. Low GI indicates a slow energy release, and high GI indicates a fast release. During your day-to-day, you want to prioritise low GI foods such as brown rice, whole grains, and sweet potatoes. These will keep you satiated and energised throughout the day, steadily dripping energy into your muscles.

High GI foods are best for when you’re about to work out, or when riding – these will give you a fast release of energy for when you need it most.

Fats

They’re not all bad!

Approximate ideal proportion of total daily calorie intake

20-30%

Ideal sources for cyclists

(unsaturated fats)

Fats are often thought of as something to be avoided, with ‘fat’ associated with ‘bad.’ However, eating fat doesn’t make you fat – unless you eat too much of it.

There are three types of fat: unsaturated, trans, and saturated. In general, it’s trans and saturated fats that you want to avoid, with unsaturated fats very much being the good guys, and a key part of your diet.

You should eat unsaturated fats on a daily basis, as your body cannot healthily function without them. However, these ‘healthy fats’ such as nuts and avocado are very calorific, and so they should be eaten in moderation, or you’ll soon find yourself in a large calorie surplus.

The good

Unsaturated fats

(salmon, nuts, avocado etc)

These include omega 3 fatty acids, which are an essential part of a healthy diet for hormonal health and reducing inflammation. In general, unsaturated fats protect the heart, improve insulin sensitivity, and actually aid weight loss.

The bad

Trans fats

(fried foods, oils etc)

These increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and can negatively impact your blood cholesterol. Avoid!

The mostly bad

Saturated fats

(butter, fatty / processed meats, cheese etc)

Like trans fats, these increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and raise cholesterol. However, some saturated fats, such as cheese, should not be abstained from totally as they are packed full of vitamins and minerals. These types of saturated fat should be eaten in moderation.

If you thought "Carbs, Protein and Fats: Demystified" was a great read. Here are some related articles for you.

Like this PRO BIKE TOOL article about Carbs, Protein and Fats: Demystified! Why not Share it with your fellow cyclists!

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest
BOTTLE CAGES
VIEW
CO2 INFLATORS
VIEW
TOOLS & MAINTENANCE
VIEW
BIKE PUMPS
VIEW

PRO BIKE TOOL Gift Guide 2020

The only thing a cyclist likes as much as a new bike is a new tool or accessory to play with.
But what to get your favourite cyclist for Christmas? There are a lot of gadgets you can get that rider in your life, and it can become a bit overwhelming. Luckily we’re here to help, and have created our 2020 gift guide!

Read More

FIVE TOP TIPS FOR WINTER CYCLING

Winter is nearly here, and it’s time to get ready for the chilly air and dirty roads of the off-season.

Some riders find it tough to get out in the inclement weather and low light of winter, however, a few key tips and hacks will help you roll through to spring and keep you fit and having fun!

Here are our five top tips for cycling through the winter.

Read More

Indoor Training Apps: Which one is for you?

Indoor cycling training season is nearly here – are you prepared?

We’re sorry to break it to you, but summer is over and the dark nights and wet roads of winter are around the corner. If you prefer to save your bike rides for sunny dry days and clean trails, then indoor training is your answer for when the weather turns sour!

Read More

HOW TO BUILD YOUR HOME BIKE WORKSHOP

No matter what size space you have to work on your bike, there are a few items that you need to have in there to make your fettling easier and more enjoyable. Check out our guide to building your home bicycle workshop!

Read More

HOW TO BUILD YOUR HOME BIKE WORKSHOP

No matter what size space you have to work on your bike, there are a few items that you need to have in there to make your fettling easier and more enjoyable. Check out our guide to building your home bicycle workshop!

Read More

New Year’s Resolutions for Riders

New Year’s Resolutions can last for a week or they can form the habit of a lifetime. Even though the New Year has passed, there’s still time to make a resolution, so check out our guide how to make an effective resolution along with our favourite bike-related goals from past years!

Read More

Road Bike Tyre Pressure: What should I use?

Too high and it feels like you’re riding on huge rocks all day, and corners feel like ice rinks. Too low and you risk getting pinch flats, you wear your tyres out, and it feels like riding through mud. But if you get the perfect pressure in your bike tyres you’ll be faster, smoother, and have better grip!

Read More

C02 INFLATOR 101

Always been wondering what a CO2 inflator is, how it works, and whether it will be appropriate for you and your bike? Let us guide you through this essential cycling gadget!

Read More

Pump or CO2? What’s for you?

Should you buy a CO2 inflator or a bike pump. While either of these tools are going to be great buddies to have in your pocket or backpack on a bike ride, each one has its own benefits.

Read More

Why You Should Cycle to Work

If you’re not a regular cyclist, then even the thought of riding your bike to work can seem daunting. However, it’s something that will improve your day – and general life – no end!

Read More
REVIEW
5
Please select a valid form.

WE'RE HERE TO HELP

CONTACT ON DARK

become a pro bike tool vip

VIP

WARRANTY REGISTRATION

WARRANTY REGISTRATION
0% Complete
1 of 3