For those who have had a close look at the common food label, you will notice that both carbohydrates and sugars are often listed. Sugar is a form of carbohydrate, so why are both listed? This is something that confuses many people.
The term ‘complex carbohydrate’ is an old one, it is still a relevant way of describing carbohydrate foods. It generally explains mainly the higher fiber content and better nutritional values of them. However, these days we generally put carbohydrates into the ‘Glycemic Index’ framework to describe its uptake and release into the blood stream. To briefly explain the difference, some complex carbohydrates are released quickly into the blood stream, while others are released slowly. Also some simple carbohydrates (historically known as refined sugars) can be released slowly into our blood system. There is more general information about GI.
It is important for people exercising to replace fluids that are lost through sweating to avoid dehydration. There is a multitude of sports drink choices out there, so how do you know what is right for you.
Importance of Water
While exercising, particularly in the heat, heavy sweating may occur, therefore resulting in the loss of both body fluids and electrolytes. The amount of fluid lost depends not only on the environmental temperature but on the humidity as well. Although there are some electrolytes lost in sweat, particularly sodium and chloride, there is a much greater proportion of water lost. Therefore replacing the water is far more important than the replacement of electrolytes.