Glycemic Index: What Triathletes Need to Know

Our very own Eat2Win Triathlon Nutrition team member Bill Nadeau, MS, RD contributed an article that appears on the USA Triathlon website today. The article covers the general topic of glycemic index and outlines some of the issues that should be of concern to triathletes or anyone training for athletic endurance competition.

From the article:

“The offseason is a great time to consider your nutrition plan. One topic worth revisiting is the glycemic index (GI), as different types of carbohydrate can not only affect race day performance, but also affect your body weight during the offseason. Are you eating the right types of carbohydrate to keep you satisfied and in a net caloric balance? Or do you continue to eat sports food samples from race expos for quick meals and snacks? Our goal is to examine the glycemic index of different foods, the hormonal response by the body to food of different GI, and the effect of eating foods with a specific GI on weight and overall health.”

Read the entire article here.

2 Comments on “Glycemic Index: What Triathletes Need to Know”

    1. Hi – Thanks for the question. This post was only an introduction to the full length article, you can find here. In the full-length article, Bill gives several examples of when high glycemic foods and low glycemic foods should be eaten.

      In general everyone should eat foods with low glycemic values. Eating a diet that consists mostly of low glycemic values, will maintain blood sugar levels, which means your energy levels throughout the day will remain constant. High glycemic foods spike blood sugar values, causing a quick increase in energy followed by a feeling of lethargy. This spike and drop in blood sugar levels, also causes us to crave sugary foods. This is when we grab a soda or piece of candy in an attempt to ‘wake up’ or feel energized. This is one of the worst things you can do.

      Athletes should eat foods with low glycemic values during regular daily living, but after exercise they should consume foods with higher glycemic values. This is because foods with higher glycemic values are easily absorbed by the digestive tract, and can immediately be used to replenish energy stores within the muscle (glycogen stores in the muscle).

      For more information about the Glycemic Index, go to the This web site is maintained by the Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service. You can purchase books by Dr Jennie Brand-Miller, the Australian nutritionist who has been at the forefront of the glycaemic index (GI) revolution.

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