Carbohydrate Consumption during Intense Exercise

August 20, 2010

By: Jeff Roux

Carbohydrate Consumption during Intense Exercise

Have you ever tried to gain the edge over the competition by carbohydrate loading the night before an exercise event?  Just about everyone knows to carb-load the day before, but what about during the event?

Most people believe anything with carbs, sugar is the best thing during exercise, however; there is a difference between what forms of glucose you ingest, how efficiently they are absorbed and the effect on performance.  Fructose, glucose in the form of fruit actually delivers only about .2g of glucose to active muscles each minute whereas glucose, sucrose, and maltodextrins can deliver up to 1.0g.  Also too high of a carbohydrate concentration of more than 6-8% can diminish water intake on a cellular level and hinder temperature regulation.  Dehydration and heat exhaustion obviously severely decrease ones performance.

So what should you do?  For prolonged high-intensity aerobic exercise in cool weather consume about 70g of sugar in 6oz of water 20 to 30 minutes after the start of exercise followed by 24g of carbohydrate in 8oz of water every 15 minutes.

W. McArdle, F. Katch, V. Katch, 1994 Essentials of Exercise Physiology, Lea & Febiger Malvern, PA. pg 192

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