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CHO Oxidation from a CHO Gel Compared with a Drink during Exercise


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: November 2010 - Volume 42 - Issue 11 - p 2038-2045
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181e0efe6
Basic Sciences

Recently, it has been shown that ingestion of solutions with glucose (GLU) and fructose (FRC) leads to 20%-50% higher CHO oxidation rates compared with GLU alone. Although most laboratory studies used solutions to deliver CHO, in practice, athletes often ingest CHO in the form of gels (semisolid). It is currently not known if CHO ingested in the form of a gel is oxidized as effectively as a drink.

Purpose: To investigate exogenous CHO oxidation from CHO provided in semisolid (GEL) or solution (DRINK) form during cycling.

Methods: Eight well-trained cyclists (age = 34 ± 7 yr, mass = 76 ± 9 kg, V˙O2max = 61 ± 7 mL·kg−1·min−1) performed three exercise trials in random order. The trials consisted of cycling at 59% ± 4% V˙O2max for 180 min while receiving one of the following three treatments: GEL plus plain water, DRINK, or plain water. Both CHO treatments delivered GLU plus FRC in a ratio of 2:1 at a rate of 1.8 g·min−1 (108 g·h−1). Fluid intake was matched between treatments at 867 mL·h−1.

Results: Exogenous CHO oxidation from GEL and DRINK showed a similar time course, with peak exogenous CHO oxidation rates being reached at the end of the 180-min exercise. Peak exogenous CHO oxidation rates were not significantly different (P = 0.40) between GEL and DRINK (1.44 ± 0.29 vs 1.42 ± 0.23 g·min−1, respectively). Furthermore, oxidation efficiency was not significantly different (P = 0.36) between GEL and DRINK (71% ± 15% vs 69% ± 13%, respectively).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that a GLU + FRC mixture is oxidized to the same degree when administered as either semisolid GEL or liquid DRINK, leading to similarly high peak oxidation rates and oxidation efficiencies.

1School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, UNITED KINGDOM; and 2Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, SWITZERLAND

Address for correspondence: Asker E. Jeukendrup, Ph.D., School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England B15 2TT, United Kingdom; E-mail:

Submitted for publication January 2010.

Accepted for publication March 2010.

©2010The American College of Sports Medicine