Glucose and Fructose Combination Best for Increasing Exercise Performance
Many athletes take a carbohydrate supplement before and/or during training to keep energy levels up and improve performance. Typically, the type of carbohydrate supplement used will be a carbohydrate that is or breaks down to glucose. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the effects of the combination of different types of carbohydrates taken prior to training on perceived exertion during both strength and endurance exercise. What they found is that it actually may be more beneficial to take a combination of glucose and fructose, rather than glucose alone, for enhanced energy and consequently enhanced performance.
There were 20 subjects, all physically fit men. The men were divided into four groups. One group took glucose 15 minutes before cycling (endurance exercise), one took glucose with fructose before cycling, one took glucose before performing 10 sets of 10 reps of the squat (strength exercise), and one group took glucose with fructose before the squatting session. After four random interventions were completed, each one of the subjects had been in each one of the groups one time, so each subject had the chance to experience all conditions.
Before, during, and after each exercise session the researchers measured percieved exertion and heart rate as well as insulin, lactate, and catacholamine (for example adrenaline) levels of each of the subjects. They found that the groups which consumed the combination of glucose and fructose had lower percieved exertion during both types of exercise than the groups consuming only glucose. In addition, the groups performing strength exercise and using glucose with fructose experienced a lower blood sugar peak than those consuming only glucose.
A decrease in percieved exertion may lead to better performance during exercise. In addition, the lower peak in blood sugar experienced in the strength exercise group with glucose and fructose may indicate that glucose with fructose provides a more sustained energy than glucose alone, keeping blood sugar levels up while avoiding a blood sugar crash during exercise. From their findings, the researchers concluded that a combination of glucose and fructose is better than glucose alone for decreasing fatigue and increasing exercise performance.
Da Silva-Grigoletto ME, Fernandez JM, de Sa CA, Gomez-Puerto JR, Vaamonde D, & Perez-Jimenez F. (2010). Fructose addition to a glucose supplement modifies perceived exertion during strength and endurance exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research / National Strength & Conditioning Association. 24(12), 3334-42.
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