“Eat like the average American for a day.”


"Healthy vs Unhealthy" are two terms commonly thrown around by athletes, coaches and health professionals. These two terms are often used to describe the quality of food/nutrition that is being eaten or drunk. Unfortunately, they do not take into account the context of the meals. When it comes to a carb load, those "unhealthy" choices are the best when hitting your carb target.


Less bulk. Reduced fullness. More carbs. Extra calories.


This is an example of a 65 kg/145 lb athletes carb load. If the athlete opted for "healthy" options such as oatmeal instead of Rice Krispies then almost two cups of dry oats or four-five cups of cooked oats would have to be consumed to hit a similar amount of carbs (100g).

Let's break it down further:

Carbohydrate Content of Dry Oats:

1/2 cup of dry rolled oats = 27-30 grams of carbs

Cooking Ratio:

Oats expand to about 2.5 to 3 times their volume when cooked


To hit 100 grams of carbs, you might need around 1 and 2/3 cups of dry rolled oats.

After cooking, this could yield about 4 to 5 cups of cooked oats.


This is an example of a 75 kg/165 lb athletes carb load. If the athlete was to chose salad instead of rice then a huge volume would need to be eatn to hit the 100g that two cups of cooked rice provides.

Let's break it down further:

Salad and Carbohydrates:

1 cup of mixed salad greens may contain around 5-7g of carbohydrates, but a significant portion of this is dietary fiber. If you were to rely solely on salad to reach 100g of carbs, you'd likely need to consume a large volume of salad, which might not be practical.

Rice and Carbohydrates:

Rice, on the other hand, is a more concentrated source of carbohydrates. The type of rice you choose also matters. For example, 1 cup of cooked white rice contains about 45-50g of carbohydrates, while the same amount of cooked brown rice provides roughly 40-45g of carbs. It also has more fiber. Therefore, to reach 100g of carbs, you'd need about 2 cups of cooked white rice or a little over 2 cups of cooked brown rice.


In the debate between eating "healthy or unhealthy" carbohydrates, both options have their merits. The healthier options provide nutrient density, fiber, and a gradual carbohydrate release, while the "unhealthy" options offer energy density and quick fueling potential.

Athletes should consider the nutritional content, practicality, and impact on performance when selecting carbohydrate sources to support their performance and overall health.

May 6, 2024
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