Our trained athletes need food during a longer workout, but what if this food came from a natural source? New research has now shown that consuming mashed potatoes as well as a commercial carbohydrate gel contributes to maintaining blood sugar levels and enhancing performance, "said Nicholas Burd, professor of kinesiology and public health at the University of Illinois, who led the research. "Our goal was to expand and diversify the fueling options for athletes and compensate for fatigue."
"Potatoes are a promising alternative for athletes as they are a low-cost, nutritious, and full-fledged source of carbohydrate," researchers wrote in Journal of Applied Physiology. "In addition, they serve as a savory racing fuel option compared to the high sweetness of (carbohydrate) gels."
The study tracked 1
To make sure everything else was the same, the researchers standardized what the 12 cyclists ate for 24 hours before testing them. Then they did sports and measured their blood sugar, body temperature, exercise intensity, gastric emptying, gastrointestinal symptoms and lactate concentration, a metabolic marker for intense exercise.
their carbohydrates by ingesting potatoes or gels in recommended amounts of about 60 grams per hour during the experiments, "Burd said." Both groups saw a significant increase in performance that those who consumed only water,
However, not everyone was positive in the trials: those who consumed potatoes had significantly more flatulence, pain and bloating in the gastrointestinal tract, which led the researchers back to the larger potato volume required to balance the glucose supplied by the gels
that both (carbohydrate) conditions were well tolerated by the majority of cyclists in the study, "the researchers wrote.
"All in all, our study is a proof-of-concept, which shows that athletes can use whole foods carbohydrates as an alternative to commercial products for diversifying the menus for racers," said Burd.