The efficacy of carbohydrate supplementation and chronic high- carbohydrate diets for improving endurance performance

Int J Sport Nutr. 1999 Mar;9(1):92-115. doi: 10.1123/ijsn.9.1.92.


Carbohydrate (CHO) is the body's most limited fuel and the most heavily metabolized during moderate-intensity exercise. For this reason it is recommended that endurance athletes consume a high-CHO diet (8-10 g CHO . kg body weight-1 . day-1) to enhance training and performance. A review of the literature supports the benefits of CHO supplementation on endurance performance. The benefits of chronic high-CHO diets on endurance performance are not as clear. Recent evidence suggests that a high-CHO diet may be necessary for optimal adaptations to training. However, the paucity of date in this area precludes any concrete conclusions. The practicality of high-CHO diets is not well understood. The available evidence would indicate that a high-CHO diet is the best dietary recommendation for endurance athletes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Body Weight
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Sports / education
  • Sports / physiology


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Glycogen