What Does Carbo Loading Mean?

Carbo Loading Meaning

Definition: To eat a lot of carbohydrates to prepare for a strenuous activity.

Origin of Carbo Loading

This expression originated around the 1970s. It came from the idea that athletes, such as marathon runners, should eat a lot of foods like bread and pasta in order to build strength before a big athletic event. This helps store glycogen in the muscles to give athletes longer lasting energy.

Examples of Carbo Loading

Define carbohydrate loading definitionHere is an example of two family members discussing the granddaughter’s recent diet.

Grandmother: That is a huge plate of spaghetti! I thought you were trying to eat more meat.

Granddaughter: I am, normally. However, I have a big cross-country race coming up. I want to make sure I have enough energy to finish the race, so I’m carbo-loading.

Grandmother: Okay, if you’re sure. I just don’t want you to get sick from changing your diet too much.

Granddaughter: Don’t worry. Everyone on the team is doing the same thing.

What is carbohydrate loadingThe second dialogue shows a daughter and her father discussing their dinner.

Father: I love this bread! I’m going to heat up some more.

Daughter: Are you sure? You’ve already eaten most of the loaf. Are you carbo loading?

Father: No, why do you ask?

Daughter: Well, you don’t usually eat so many carbohydrates. I just thought you might be preparing for some sort of athletic event.

Father: No, not at the moment. The bread is just especially delicious.

More Examples

The excerpt is about food options in Richmond, Virginia. It describes various options that focus on different food groups, including a bakery that has a lot of carbohydrates.

  • Pick your protein at Metzger (go for the pork chops brined in beer); carbo-load at Sub Rosa Bakery, where a brother and sister team mill their own flours for breads baked in a wood-fired oven; stuff yourself silly on The Dog and Pig Show’s Pulled Pork Po’boy and the “Milk and Cookies bar”; and come sundown, quench your thirst with a classic cocktail at The Roosevelt. –USA Today

This excerpt is from a review of various roller coasters. When the weather turned bad, the author decided to go inside and eat some food to gain more energy.

  • Ominous clouds rolled in, and halfway up the entrance ramp to coaster number three, the park announced that it was closing its major rides until the threat passed. I ducked into a cafe to carbo-load and seek shelter from the storm. –USA Today

Summary

The phrase carbo load describes consuming a lot of the sugars, starches, and fibers from grains and other non-meat food groups.