As a teenager the advice I got when it came to diet and exercise was often problematic to say the least. We lifted too heavy, with terrible form and took far too little rest. This, we were told, would make us better rugby players or something to that effect. When it came to diet, we were told to ‘carb load’ before big games or tournaments to make sure we had that competitive edge. For those of you experienced in such matters, you can probably guess what happened when a team full of 18 year olds were told to load up on carbs. Yep… we had big bowls of pasta, copious amounts of sandwiches and even potato waffles just to be safe. 18 year old me wasn’t complaining but it seemed like an odd concept even at the time.
Fast forward to today and I’ve played around with every diet imaginable from fruit fasting to keto. One area that has always perplexed me though is ‘carbohydrate loading’ before a big event. Nowadays my friends who run marathons continue to swear by it while those in the lifting community advise low to moderate carbs around workout times. Nutrition will always be a contested arena and to that end, today’s post explores the birth of carbohydrate loading as a scientific concept in 1967 and examine its remarkable rise in popularity soon after.