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Int J Sports Med. 1989 May;10 Suppl 1:S32-40.

Eating, drinking, and cycling. A controlled Tour de France simulation study, Part I.

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Department of Human Biology, University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Sustained exhausting exercise is thought to depress appetite and food intake. The aim of the present investigation was to study the effect of intensive cycling exercise, with an energy expenditure comparable to values derived from the Tour de France, on food and fluid intake, energy balance, nitrogen balance, and nutrient oxidation. Thirteen highly trained cyclists consuming a normal carbohydrate (CHO)-rich diet (60 En%) were studied during a 7-day stay in a respiration chamber. Two preparation days were followed by a standardized resting day (3), after which the subjects completed two exhausting exercise days (4-5). On day 6 the standardized resting day was repeated. Food and fluid intake were measured by weighed procedure. Energy expenditure was calculated from continuous gas analysis. Energy and nitrogen losses were calculated from all measured excretes. The results showed that energy balance (EB) and nitrogen balance (NB) were positive on the first resting day and became negative on the exercise days. EB was positive again on the recovery day whereas NB remained negative. Nitrogen losses almost balanced N intakes (1.7 indicating an increased protein requirement. CHO oxidation exceeded CHO intake indicating endogenous CHO depletion. Contribution of CHO to energy exchange decreased from 51.4% +/- 3.1% on day 4 to 40.6% +/- 3.4% on day 5; this decrease was compensated by an increased fat oxidation. The food consumption pattern during days 4 and 5 was not different from days 2 and 6. In-between meal consumption accounted for 30.5%-34.3% of total energy intake. Fluid consumption was adequate to compensate for the losses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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