Carbohydrates for Performance

Sep 22, 2016 | 0 comments

What is performance? Achieving one’s goals? Chasing personal best in strength, technique or time? There are performance goals achievable in all aspects of life and fuel is essential to get us there. The major fuels consumed will fall into the typical macronutrient categories as protein, carbohydrate or fat.

Whether working with athletes to achieve extraordinary results or with the everyday exercisers (not sure if this is a word but spellcheck didn’t go all squiggly) the carbohydrate intake is usually the most variable to force changes in the body. Meaning we will often keep protein adequate and proportional to muscle mass and exercise intensity, fats based on essential fatty acid requirements and then make extreme changes to the type, timing and amount of carbs with the carbohydrate level being proportional to your goals and objective.

Are we fuelling exercise to maximise performance? Are we trying to induce muscle hypertrophy or are we focused on stripping fat? Are we manipulating carbs for the sake of hormonal manipulation or gut disorders? As you can see it is not possible to say there is a magic number for carbs and that one carb is bad and another one good. Like anything carbs are tools. Once we learn how to use them we can choose the correct tool for the right job.

In this podcast we attempt to give enough information for you to create an ideal carb blend for your particular objectives / goals. We discuss the findings from our research into carbs for the new version of Infrared we are working on.

Maltodextrin and dextrose combo in Infrared;

  • Predictable. When working with all types of athletes to make a performance product you don’t want surprises.

  • Consistency. So highly processed and refined and made in such bulk that once you find a good supplier (non-GMO etc.) than each batch is exactly the same and when you consume it it will work exactly the same from batch to batch.

  • This can’t be said for a lot of new carb concepts that are still in the innovative stage and can vary from batch to batch.

GI = Glycemic index. The GI number gives an indication of the degree of insulin secretion in response to consumption. It can be associated with enhanced bioavailability (fast absorption from gut to blood stream) and degree of sweetness intensity. The simpler, faster and sweeter the sugar the higher the GI. Fat, Fibre and protein can lower the GI of any food

  • Glucose / dextrose – 100

  • Maltose – high GI 98 not in 20’s as originally marketed for rice malt etc. Very easily digested with fast gastric emptying

  • Fructose is slow absorption and low GI 19. IT IS NOT high fructose corn syrup which has high GI and acts like glucose.

  • Sucrose (white table sugar) 63

  • Honey GI 45-65, the higher the fructose content the lower the GI

Fast sugars for performance

  • Fast gastric emptying from stomach into blood stream means no bloating, diarrhoea, nausea however fast gastric emptying into the small intestine as seen with the high molecular weight glucose polymers that form a slimy gel and move quickly past the stomach into the small intestine. Once in the small intestine if enzyme deficiencies compared to ingested dose or disturbance of gut flora than it can still lead to bloating, nausea and diarrhoea. Fast gastric emptying from stomach into digestive tract is quite misleading as it is still in the digestive tract and not absorbed into the body as they would suggest. This is why a lot of these style products can show fast gastric emptying but no change to insulin secretion and blood glucose.

  • Don’t last as long due to insulin spike and reactive hypo. Fats absorption wiyh exaggerated insulin spike can lead to reactive hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar – shakes, cranky, nauseus, fatigue and confusion plus sugar cravings or catabolic gluconeogenesis to make sugar if not consumed)

  • Good for glycogen replenishment and IGF-1 for muscle hypertrophy

  • Too much of any one type of carb overwhelms digestion and absorption pathways and backlogs. So in theory fast absorption etc. but in reality too much of any one thing can create side effects and will change how it works and some will come in fast and the rest will have to wait.

Slow sugars for performance

  • Can be ok for endurance if you can tolerate large doses in the gut with slow release into the system.

  • Ferment – bloating, diarrhoea, nausea etc.

  • Osmotic diarrhoea

  • No insulin spike for muscle growth

Resistant starch = Slow absorption and very low GI

  • Waxy maize – most confusing and unpredictable of all. All different, suppliers, batches etc. so hard to predict. Plus the story makes it harder to work out. High molecular weight marketed for fast absorption and then the waxy component to make resistant starch means slow absorption. Then the studies show same glucose and insulin action as white bread. But that was one batch from one supplier

  • Other modified starches – too slow and makes u fart and sick in the guts

  • Low molecular weight glucose polymers are too slow and while they may in theory trickle in for endurance; you are holding it all in your guts. Would be better for performance to carry in your pocket or on your bike or with the blokes on the side of the road as you run past and top up.

Best carb plan for performance is a combination of sugars

  • Combining multiple different forms is best for absorption of the sugar from the digestive tract into the blood stream.

  • Ultimately everything can leave the gut efficiently and not hamper performance. Can only fuel performance once in your blood.

  • Combining various types of carbs to cover a wider range of GI to prevent reactive hypoglycaemia by staggering the absorption slightly. Still wanting the high GI sources for the insulin spike but some slower ones to come in and prevent reactive hypoglycaemia.

  • Endurance events need to control dosing rather than have one serve to last all day.

Therefore, it is possible to make a product that suits performance for all sports by tailoring the dose and timing of dose to the individual and the individual sport.

The Podcast can be heard here (or on itunes, just search for ATP Project)

Episode 71 – Carbohydrate Lies

In the podcast we discussed the following studies.

This study demonstrates fast gastric emptying from stomach into intestine and no change to insulin and blood glucose with high molecular weight carb product. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2000 Nov;35(11):1143-9. Improved gastric emptying rate in humans of a unique glucose polymer with gel-forming properties. Leiper JB, Aulin KP, Söderlund K.

This study shows that consumption of this product will improve performance when you need to perform a second workout shortly after the first without enough time to replenish glycogen. J Sports Sci. 2008 Jan 15;26(2):149-54. Post-exercise ingestion of a unique, high molecular weight glucose polymer solution improves performance during a subsequent bout of cycling exercise. Stephens FB, Roig M, Armstrong G, Greenhaff PL.

This study showed improved glycogen replenishment with high molecular weight glucose polymer compared to placebo and low molecular weight.  Eur J Appl Physiol. 2000 Mar;81(4):346-51. Muscle glycogen resynthesis rate in humans after supplementation of drinks containing carbohydrates with low and high molecular masses. Piehl Aulin K, Söderlund K, Hultman E.

The previous study links into another positive study on the same product showing the same sort of thing with improved muscle glycogen resynthesis PLoS One. 2016 Sep 16;11(9):e0163009. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163009. eCollection 2016. Ingestion of High Molecular Weight Carbohydrate Enhances Subsequent Repeated Maximal Power: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Oliver JM1, Almada AL2, Van Eck LE1, Shah M1, Mitchell JB1, Jones MT3, Jagim AR4, Rowlands DS5.

Other more recent failed studies trying to duplicate previous positive results with a larger study (16 instead of 6 and 8 which was not statistically significant) were not posted on webpage and mentioned in their scientific story. Almada AL, et al. Effect of post-exercise ingestion of different molecular weight carbohydrate solutions. Part 1: The glucose and Insulin response. Journal of the international society or sports nutrition 2015. 12(suppl 1):P30

Anzalone AJ, et al. Effect of post-exercise ingestion of different molecular weight carbohydrate solutions. Part 2:The incretin response. Journal of International society of sports nutriton

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