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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2011 Jan;300(1):G181-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00419.2010. Epub 2010 Nov 11.

Fructose-maltodextrin ratio in a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution differentially affects exogenous carbohydrate oxidation rate, gut comfort, and performance.

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School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.


Solutions containing multiple carbohydrates utilizing different intestinal transporters (glucose and fructose) show enhanced absorption, oxidation, and performance compared with single-carbohydrate solutions, but the impact of the ratio of these carbohydrates on outcomes is unknown. In a randomized double-blind crossover, 10 cyclists rode 150 min at 50% peak power, then performed an incremental test to exhaustion, while ingesting artificially sweetened water or one of three carbohydrate-salt solutions comprising fructose and maltodextrin in the respective following concentrations: 4.5 and 9% (0.5-Ratio), 6 and 7.5% (0.8-Ratio), and 7.5 and 6% (1.25-Ratio). The carbohydrates were ingested at 1.8 g/min and naturally (13)C-enriched to permit evaluation of oxidation rate by mass spectrometry and indirect calorimetry. Mean exogenous carbohydrate oxidation rates were 1.04, 1.14, and 1.05 g/min (coefficient of variation 20%) in 0.5-, 0.8-, and 1.25-Ratios, respectively, representing likely small increases in 0.8-Ratio of 11% (90% confidence limits; ± 4%) and 10% (± 4%) relative to 0.5- and 1.25-Ratios, respectively. Comparisons of fat and total and endogenous carbohydrate oxidation rates between solutions were unclear. Relative to 0.5-Ratio, there were moderate improvements to peak power with 0.8- (3.6%; 99% confidence limits ± 3.5%) and 1.25-Ratio (3.0%; ± 3.7%) but unclear with water (0.4%; ± 4.4%). Increases in stomach fullness, abdominal cramping, and nausea were lowest with the 0.8- followed by the 1.25-Ratio solution. At high carbohydrate-ingestion rate, greater benefits to endurance performance may result from ingestion of 0.8- to 1.25-Ratio fructose-maltodextrin solutions. Small perceptible improvements in gut comfort favor the 0.8-Ratio and provide a clearer suggestion of mechanism than the relationship with exogenous carbohydrate oxidation.

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