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Types of carbs to Avoid before working out

You might know that carbohydrates are an essential component of a good pre workout snack or meal. Carbohydrate-rich foods provide your muscles with easy-to-use-energy, so you can fly through every round of treadmill sprints or push through the last set of squats.

What you must know, though, is certain types of pre-workout carbs may serve your workouts better than others. In fact, though totally healthy and unproblematic for most people, a certain group of carbs called FODMAPs, can backfire on some exercisers when eaten before workout.

Here’s what you need to know, so can adjust your pre-workout fuel accordingly .

What are FODMAPs ?

FODMAPs is an acronym for ” Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. They are short chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. In simple words, FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that ferment and lead to gas production during the digestive process. They can also draw water into the GI tract.

For some people this is no big deal. In fact, plenty of people eat FODMAPs without noticing a single thing. However for those suffering from IBS, eating FODMAPs can lead to digestive pain or discomfort, diarrhea and/or constipation.

Now struggle here is FODMAPs are found in lots of healthy foods that can actually be good for your gut microbe. If you are sensitive though the negatives may outweigh the positives. If you do not have sensitive gut you don’t have to worry. But if you have IBS or sensitive system eating high amount or certain types of FODMAPs before exercise might get you symptoms like gas, bloating and abdominal pain. If you have all these symptoms you might have to reconsider the types of carbs you must eat as a pre-workout snack.

Your Pre-workout snacks which might contain these FODMAPs

Sad but true for sensitive stomachs: many popular pre-workout foods contain FODMAPs

  • Fructans and Oligosaccharides – dried fruits, chicory root and inulin (common in protein bars and powders) watermelons, cashews, barley, rye, wheat.
  • Disaccharides – cow’s milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
  • Monosaccharides – apples, mangoes, figs, pears, sugar snap peas, honey
  • Polyol – Apples, apricots, blackberries, peaches, sugar alcohol containing products (protein bars, protein powders, “sugar free” snacks)

Avoid consuming above listed foods if you have sensitive system or IBS

FODMAPs – free pre workout options

If you frequently experience digestive issues during or post workout consider switching to FODMAPs free pre-workout snack as follows

  • a banana with peanut butter
  • an orange and a handful of macadamia nuts. You can replace Macadamia nuts with pistachio / walnuts / pine nuts
  • coconut yoghurt – you can make at home using coconut milk
  • oatmeal with pumpkin and pecans

Still on the stomach struggle bus at the gym? Check-in with a doctor or registered dietitian to investigate the cause of IBS.