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Carbohydrate and exercise performance: the role of multiple transportable carbohydrates

Jeukendrup, Asker E

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: July 2010 - Volume 13 - Issue 4 - p 452–457
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328339de9f
Carbohydrates: David D'Alessio and Luc Tappy

Purpose of review Carbohydrate feeding has been shown to be ergogenic, but recently substantial advances have been made in optimizing the guidelines for carbohydrate intake during prolonged exercise.

Recent findings It was found that limitations to carbohydrate oxidation were in the absorptive process most likely because of a saturation of carbohydrate transporters. By using a combination of carbohydrates that use different intestinal transporters for absorption it was shown that carbohydrate delivery and oxidation could be increased. Studies demonstrated increases in exogenous carbohydrate oxidation rates of up to 65% of glucose: fructose compared with glucose only. Exogenous carbohydrate oxidation rates reach values of 1.75 g/min whereas previously it was thought that 1 g/min was the absolute maximum. The increased carbohydrate oxidation with multiple transportable carbohydrates was accompanied by increased fluid delivery and improved oxidation efficiency, and thus the likelihood of gastrointestinal distress may be diminished. Studies also demonstrated reduced fatigue and improved exercise performance with multiple transportable carbohydrates compared with a single carbohydrate.

Summary Multiple transportable carbohydrates, ingested at high rates, can be beneficial during endurance sports in which the duration of exercise is 3 h or more.

School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

Correspondence to Professor Asker E. Jeukendrup, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK Tel: +440121 414 4124; fax: +440121 414 4121; e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.