Question: How are energy and carbohydrates stored in the body and what parts of the body do they most benefit?

  1. There are two main ways that carbohydrate is stored as glycogen and fat.

    When carbohydrate is digested it is converted in to glucose which enters the blood. Glucose is then stored in the muscles glycogen. Because it is stored in the muscle it is the most accessible form of energy for the muscle so it is used first. Glycogen also does not need oxygen to be used so it can be used for anaerobic exercise, which is the short burst things like sprinting.

    When there is too much glucose to be stored as glycogen it starts to get converted to fat and stored that way. Fat contains lots of energy per gram, but it is slower to get energy from fat than from glycogen. Getting energy from fat also requires oxygen which means that fat will only be ‘burnt’ during aerobic exercise. That’s longer duration activities that make you breath hard like swimming or running long distances.

    This is why when you are trying to loose fat you should do medium intensity, long duration exercise rather than high intensity short duration. This way you use up the glycogen and get to the aerobic phase where you can start using fat for energy.

    Carbohydrate benefits the whole body because it is our main source of energy from food.