A great deal has been written about protein recently but the jury still seems to be out on the ratio of protein to fat to carbohydrates someone who runs for exercise.
I have had recent personal experience with maintaining largely carb-free eating (notice I didn’t say diet) that has indicated that the average person’s carbohydrate requirements are far lower than currently suggested.
How much do you really need?
Current thinking seems to indicate that around 50% of a person’s calorific intake needs to be made up of carbs, but even while maintaining a reasonably intense training regimen of 6 days a week, ~100km/week including peak speed work, sustained speed (tempo) sessions and weekly or more often long runs, I found that I could maintain a low carb intake and only required carbs (along with protein and some fat) before and after runs and even then only on the harder or longer sessions.
I discovered that there are sufficient carbohydrates in vegetables and fruit to fuel energy and ensure that the body both used the fuel available to it as well as burn its own stores.
When combined with exercise, removal of carbohydrates from my eating resulted in greatly improved alertness, weight loss and running performance and I found that the key meal of the day to manage was dinner, although it should be mentioned that I never gave up red wine!
After being able to maintain this for 3 years so far, I can also confirm that it’s an entirely sustainable lifestyle change for the better – try it!
PS: A hilarious side-effect of dropping carbs from your eating habits is a vastly increased tolerance of capsaicin. That’s right – your tolerance to chilli goes through the roof, to the point of being able to reasonably comfortably (without sweating) have a teaspoon of the hottest chilli sauce in a Mexican restaurant without having any natural-born resistance to it.