Carbohydrates and Caffeine Refuel Muscles

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates and Caffeine Refuel Muscles

Australian researchers found that athletes who consumed both carbohydrates and caffeine following a tough workout had 66 percent higher levels of glycogen that those who had only carbs. Glycogen is the muscle’s primary fuel source during exercise. The caffeine may help move glucose into the muscles, where it’s stored as glycogen until your next workout.  Together, carbohydrates and caffeine can refuel your muscles.


Carbohydrates are part of a healthful diet. The AMDR for carbohydrates is 45 to 65 percent of total calories.

Sugars and starches (the carbohydrates) supply energy to the body in the form of glucose, which is the only energy source for red blood cells and is the preferred energy source for the brain, central nervous system, placenta, and fetus.

Choose carbohydrates wisely. Foods in the basic food groups that provide carbohydrates — fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk — are important sources of many nutrients.

Complex Carbs


Carbohydrates and caffeine refuel muscles
Carbohydrates and caffeine refuel muscles

Complex carbohydrates are also known as polysaccharides. Complex carbohydrates are formed when thousands of sugar molecules link together in long chains. These chains take longer to break down and digest than simple carbohydrates. There are two types of complex carbohydrates: Starchy and fibrous. Read more: Clearing Up Carbohydrate Confusion


Red Cup of Coffee
In 1958, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified caffeine as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). In 1987, the FDA reaffirmed its position that moderate caffeine intake produced no increased risk to health. In addition, both the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society have statements confirming the safety of moderate caffeine consumption. Although caffeine is sometimes characterized as “addictive,” moderate caffeine consumption is safe. Think of all the things that are so tasty with coffee – most are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates and caffeine make a great pair.


Glycogen comes from carbohydrates. Natural sugars (fruit, vegetables, milk) and complex carbohydrates (grains, cereal, pasta) are the best choices.

Glycogen is an important fuel reserve for several reasons. The controlled breakdown of glycogen and release of glucose increase the amount of glucose that is available between meals. Hence, glycogen serves as a buffer to maintain blood-glucose levels.

Glucose is virtually the only fuel used by the brain. The glucose from glycogen is a good source of energy for sudden, strenuous activity. Released glucose can provide energy in the absence of oxygen and can thus supply energy for anaerobic activity.

Just keep in mind that this type of post-workout diet is best following an intense training session; scarfing down all those calories after a leisurely stroll won’t help you control your weight.

In Summary

Carbohydrates and caffeine make energetic muscles! But don’t go overboard. Moderation is always they key to something like this working effectively.

Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing