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J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Sep 21;15(1):46. doi: 10.1186/s12970-018-0253-8.

Comparison of a sports-hydration drink containing high amylose starch with usual hydration practice in Australian rules footballers during intense summer training.

Author information

Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, 5001, Adelaide, Australia.
Flinders Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, 5001, Adelaide, Australia.
Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, 5001, Adelaide, Australia.
Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, P.O. Box 208019, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.
Institute of Gastroenterology, SRM Institutes for Medical Sciences, Vadapalani, Chennai, 600 026, India.



Fluid deficits exceeding 1.6% can lead to physical and cognitive impairment in athletes. Sport drinks used by athletes are often hyper-osmolar but this is known to be suboptimal for rehydration in medical settings and does not utilize colonic absorptive capacity. Colonic absorption can be enhanced by fermentative production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) from substrates such as high amylose maize starch (HAMS). This study therefore compared, in elite Australian Football League (AFL) players at the height of outdoor summer training, a novel dual-action sports oral rehydration strategy that contained HAMS as well as glucose, to their usual rehydration practices (Control). The primary outcome markers of hydration were hematocrit and body weight.


A randomized single-blind crossover study was undertaken in thirty-one AFL players; twenty-seven completed the study which was conducted on four days (two days in the Intervention arm and two in Control arm). The Intervention arm was comprised a 50-100 g evening preload of an acetylated HAMS (Ingredion Pty Ltd) followed by consumption of a specially formulated sports oral rehydration solution (SpORS) drink during intense training and recovery. Players followed their usual hydration routine in the Control arm. Quantitative assessments of body weight, hematocrit and urine specific gravity were made at three time-points on each day of training: pre-training, post-training (90 min), and at end of recovery (30-60 min later). GPS tracking monitored player exertion.


Across the three time-points, hematocrit was significantly lower and body weight significantly higher in Intervention compared to Control arms (p < 0.02 and p = 0.001 respectively, mixed effects model). Weights were significantly heavier at all three assessment points for Intervention compared to Control arms (Δ = 0.30 ± 0.13, p = 0.02 pre-training; Δ = 0.43 ± 0.14, p = 0.002 post training; and Δ = 0.68 ± 0.14, p < 0.001 for recovery). Between the pre-training and end-of-recovery assessments, the Control arm lost 0.80 kg overall compared with 0.12 kg in the Intervention arm, an 85% lower reduction of bodyweight across the assessment period.


The combination of the significantly lower hematocrit and increased body weight in the Intervention arm represents better hydration not only at the end of training as well as following a recovery period but also at its commencement. The magnitude of the benefit seems sufficient to have an impact on performance and further studies to test this possibility are now indicated.


Trial is listed on the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ( ACTRN 12613001373763 ).


Footballers; Hydration; Resistant starch; Sports drink

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