Monday, 07 December 2009 00:00
Runners clutching bottles of energy drink are a common sight, and it has long been known that sugary drinks and sweets can significantly improve athletes' performance in endurance events. Writing in the latest issue of The Journal of Physiology, Ed Chambers and colleagues not only show that sugary drinks can significantly boost performance in an endurance event without being ingested, but so can a tasteless carbohydrate – and they do so in unexpected ways.
The researchers prepared drinks that contained either glucose (a sugar), maltodextrin (a tasteless carbohydrate) or neither, then carefully laced them with artificial sweeteners until they tasted identical. They asked divided teams of endurance-trained athletes to rinse their mouths with one of the three concoctions. Athletes given the glucose or maltodextrin drinks outperformed those on 'disguised' water by 2 - 3% and sustained a higher average power output and pulse rate, even though didn't feel they were working any harder.
"Much of the benefit from carbohydrate in sports drinks is provided by signaling directly from mouth to brain rather than providing energy for the working muscles," explained Dr Chambers.
Source: Science Daily
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