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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Mar;31(3):393-9.

Influence of high and low glycemic index meals on endurance running capacity.

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Department of Physical Education, Sports Science and Recreation Management, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.



The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of high and low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrate (CHO) pre-exercise meals on endurance running capacity.


Eight active subjects (five male and three female) ran on a treadmill at approximately 70% VO2max to exhaustion on two occasions separated by 7 d. Three hours before the run after an overnight fast, each subject was given in a single-blind, random order, isoenergetic meal of 850+/-21 kcal (mean+/-SEM; 67% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 3% fat) containing either high (HGI) or low (LGI) GI carbohydrate foods providing 2.0 g body weight.


Ingestion of the HGI meal resulted in a 580% and 330% greater incremental area under the 3-h blood glucose and serum insulin response curves, respectively. Performance times were not different between the HGI and LGI trials (113+/-4 min and 111+/-5 min, respectively). During the first 80 min of exercise in the LGI trial, CHO oxidation was 12% lower and fat oxidation was 118% higher than in the HGI trial. Although serum insulin concentrations did not differ between trials, blood glucose at 20 min into exercise in the HGI trial was lower than that during the LGI trial at the same time (3.6+/-0.3 mmol.L(-1) vs 4.3+/-0.3 mmol.L(-1); P < 0.05). During exercise, plasma glycerol and serum free fatty acid concentrations were lower in the HGI trial than in the LGI trial.


This results demonstrate that although there is a relative shift in substrate utilization from CHO to fat when a low GI meal is ingested before exercise compared with that for a high GI meal, there is no difference in endurance running capacity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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