Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Research Bites: improved performance with multiple transportable carbohydrates

The main focus for fueling by athletes during endurance training is glucose, often in this form of sports drinks.  This study challenged the believe that oxidation rates could not surpass 1 gram per minute by diversifying the sources of fuel -  the investigators compared performance of cyclists drinking a glucose-only beverage to those drinking a glucose and fructose drink. The study results indicate that the mixed drink improved time trial performance by 8% over glucose-only drink. The investigators discuss the theory that intestinal absorption of carbohydrates may be the limiting factor. By providing different sources of carbohydrates, the athlete is less likely to be limited by saturation of a single type of carbohydrate. This is similar to a highway  having several lanes and a carpool lane - it helps move more cars along.

How does this apply to you? When preparing for a big training day, diversify your fuels. You can purchase or make your own sports drinks, but be sure to add other snacks too - if you can safely eat a banana while riding, you would get glucose and fructose PLUS potassium. If you'd prefer a bar, check out ones that are make with dried fruit, such as LARABAR .

Reader poll: What is your favorite snack while biking?

Currell K and A Jeukendrup. Superior endurance performance with ingestion of multiple transportable carbohydrates. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008(40)2;275-281.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this study! I don't have a biking snack preference... but when I run long distances (8+ miles), I really like a combination of mini Cliff bars, Jelly Belly sport beans, and gatorade/water. It all depends on the length of the run and the day, but it works!


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