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Daily Intake for For Losing Weight While Pregnancy

Carbohydrate is an efficient energy source because it is stored directly in the muscle cell in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is also stored in the liver; this carbohydrate source can be used directly to meet the energy needs of the liver or broken down into individual glucose molecules (glycogenolysis) and released into circulation, which serves to increase or maintain blood glucose levels. During endurance exercise or intermittent high-intensity exercise, endogenous stores of carbohydrate can become insufficient to meet the needs of working muscle and the central nervous system (CNS), and can become the limiting factor for performance (Burke et al. 2011). Nutritional strategies to avoid carbohydrate depletion will be addressed in the following sections. These strategies are specific to before, during, or after exercise; however, the overall daily intake of carbohydrate also affects glycogen stores. Therefore, athletes need to consume adequate carbohydrate throughout the day to ensure maximal glycogen storage.

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Daily carbohydrate recommendations for athletes are expressed as grams per kilogram of body weight, or g/kg. This is an absolute amount determined by body weight as compared to calculating carbohydrate intake or needs or both as a relative percentage of calories in the diet. The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), which establish the dietary guidelines for nutrient intake in the United States and Canada, include Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges for the three macronutrients. Carbohydrates are recommended to comprise 45 to 65 percent of the caloric intake of one’s diet. This is a relative term, in that it is dependent upon the total caloric intake. Forty-five to sixty-five percent of 1,600 calories will provide significantly fewer grams of carbohydrate to an athlete compared to someone who consumes 45 to 65 percent of 3,500 calories a day. So, to ensure that athletes consume sufficient carbohydrates, recommendations are based on g/kg of body weight rather than as a percentage of total caloric intake. Most athletes find that their carbohydrate needs (g/kg) will translate to 50 to 65 percent of their total caloric intake, with some endurance athletes requiring up to 70 percent of calories from carbohydrate.

In general, recommended daily intake of carbohydrate for athletes ranges from 3 to 10 g/kg of body weight, with some ultraendurance athletes needing up to 12 g/kg of body weight to ensure their glycogen stores are adequately replenished (Burke et al. 2011). See Table 4.1 for recommended daily carbohydrate intake for athletes of various sports and activities. Note that the longer the event or exercise type, or the higher the intensity of the activity, the greater the need for carbohydrate.

Table 4.1 Daily carbohydrate recommendations for athletes

Activity type Carbohydrate recommendation (grams of carbohydrate)

Low-intensity activity or skill-based activity (includes skill work or low-intensity exercise lasting 1 hour) Includes activities such as golf, baseball, or softball 5-7 g/kg of body weight High intensity, short duration (1 to 30 minutes continuous) Track (200-1,500 m); short-distance cycling; rowing; figure skating; downhill skiing; swimming (100-1,500 m) 5-7 g/kg of body weight

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