The Checkup: New Study Shows Carbo-Loading Works—If You Do It Right

Pay attention, Broad Streeters.

• While there’s something fun about going H.A.M. on a plate of spaghetti the night before a race (only me?), a new study shows that while carbo-loading does improve race-day performance, you have to be smart about how you do it. The study comes courtesy of the University of Minnesota, where 46 students (36 women, 10 men), who were enrolled in a running-focused PE class, ran a marathon and documented what they ate three days before and the morning of the race. Before race day, they also ran a two-mile time trial to give researchers a baseline for how they would expect the runners to perform based on their level of fitness. The two-mile time “explained 73 percent of the variability in marathon finishing times,” Runner’s World reports. “In other words, the ones who could run 6:00 miles for two miles were better marathoners than those who couldn’t break 9:00 pace for two miles.” Okay, so with that off the table and other factors excluded, researchers could home in on the impact that pre-race fuel food had on their race-day performance. Here are the findings: The runners who ate more carbs before the race clocked faster times than those who fueled up with fewer. The key, researchers found, is getting six grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight—which is a confusing way of figuring out how much spaghetti to eat, but Runner’s World breaks it down into real-world terms here. Check it out, crunch some numbers, and go stuff your face with carbs before Sunday!

• Sigh. New CDC numbers show that only 1 in 5 Americans gets enough exercise. Look, if it’s an issue of not knowing what to do to get exercise, I’d like to point you here, here and here. No more excuses, people!

• I don’t like this lede at all: “It’s a chemical that’s been in U.S. households for more than 40 years … But federal health regulators are just now deciding whether triclosan—the germ-killing ingredient found in an estimated 75 percent of anti-bacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the U.S.—is ineffective, or worse, harmful.” More here.