Bicycle Network: Health Matters
What is so magical about pasta? It's the carbo-loading food of choice and good for recovery as well. We profile this endurance superfood.
Athletes are well known for consuming large volumes of pasta to fuel themselves for endurance events. What they’re filling up on is energy in the body’s favourite form: carbohydrate.
How about pasta for breakfast?
You might baulk at spag bol first thing in the morning, but pasta is theoretically a fine breakfast fuel. It is low on the glycemic index (low GI), so it is slowly absorbed and perfect for sustained energy for long hours of riding.
Pasta for recovery
Pasta is not just good before a big effort though. Extensive research done with endurance cyclists indicates that carbohydrate are good for active bodies before, during and after exercise, providing stamina and quick recovery for tired muscles.
Will too much pasta make me fat?
Your carbohydrate intake needs to be matched to activity level. If you eat more than you are burning the result is likely to be an increase in body fat. When you’re touring, however, you don’t need to worry about gaining weight – you’ll probably be wanting to eat anything you can lay your hands on. Just remember that carbohydrates are just one part of a balanced diet.
The choice of sauce for your pasta is the crucial consideration for healthy eating. Tomato-based sauces are ideal while some of the cream, pesto and cheese sauces can be very high in fat and kilojoules.
This article first appeared in the December 2005-January 2006 Issue of Ride On.
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