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Sports Med. 2015 Nov;45(11):1561-76. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0381-0.

Fructose-Glucose Composite Carbohydrates and Endurance Performance: Critical Review and Future Perspectives.

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School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, 63 Wallace St, Mt Cook, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand.
School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, 63 Wallace St, Mt Cook, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand.
Food and Nutrition Group, Intertek Scientific and Regulatory Consultancy, Mississauga, ON, Canada.
Nestle Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Sports beverages formulated with fructose and glucose composites enhance exogenous carbohydrate oxidation, gut comfort, and endurance performance, relative to single-saccharide formulations. However, a critical review of performance data is absent. We conducted a comprehensive literature review of the effect of fructose:glucose/maltodextrin (glucose or maltodextrin) composites versus glucose/maltodextrin on endurance performance. Mechanistic associations were drawn from effects on carbohydrate metabolism, gut, and other sensory responses. Overall, 14 studies contained estimates of 2.5-3.0-h endurance performance in men, mostly in cycling. Relative to isocaloric glucose/maltodextrin, the ingestion of 0.5-1.0:1-ratio fructose:glucose/maltodextrin beverages at 1.3-2.4 g carbohydrate·min(-1) produced small to moderate enhancements (1-9 %; 95 % confidence interval 0-19) in mean power. When 0.5:1-ratio composites were ingested at ≥1.7 g·min(-1), improvements were larger (4-9 %; 2-19) than at 1.4-1.6 g·min(-1) (1-3 %; 0-6). The effect sizes at higher ingestion rates were associated with increased exogenous carbohydrate oxidation rate, unilateral fluid absorption, and lower gastrointestinal distress, relative to control. Solutions containing a 0.7-1.0:1 fructose:glucose ratio were absorbed fastest; when ingested at 1.5-1.8 g·min(-1), a 0.8:1 fructose:glucose ratio conveyed the highest exogenous carbohydrate energy and endurance power compared with lower or higher fructose:glucose ratios. To conclude, ingesting 0.5-1.0:1-ratio fructose:glucose/maltodextrin beverages at 1.3-2.4 g·min(-1) likely benefits 2.5-3.0 h endurance power versus isocaloric single saccharide. Further ratio and dose-response research should determine if meaningful performance benefits of composites accrue with ingestion <1.3 g·min(-1), relative to higher doses. Effects should be established in competition, females, other food formats, and in heat-stress and ultra-endurance exercise where carbohydrate demands may differ from the current analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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