Carbohydrates & Athletic Performance
By Vishal Patel
Chief Nutritionist at Nuun Hydration
Carbohydrates play key roles in sports performance, specifically for hydration and fueling with several studies proving this theory over the years (1,2). Carbohydrates can help fuel your muscles and enhance the delivery of fluids and nutrients (5). It is widely known that when exercising at a higher intensity and/or longer durations, your body will start using other (stored) fuel sources (carbohydrates) to help maintain performance. When the body begins to deplete its stored muscle and liver glycogen – fatigue (or bonking) can set in. That is where carbohydrates via fluids and external food sources (bars, gels, chews) come in handy. They can provide your body with the calories it needs, as well as, increase the rate of nutrient delivery (5,18).
Carbohydrates for hydration
In hydration, carbohydrates play key roles in fluid and nutrient delivery and absorption (5). The concentration and makeup of the solution you’re consuming can play a vital role in how your body will oxidize (utilize) the carbohydrates and electrolytes you are consuming (7). Nuun Endurance is a powder drink mix that contains a blend of performance based carbohydrates + electrolytes. The product is formulated to help increase gastric emptying (rate of nutrient delivery) by its hypotonic (<6% CHO concentration) solution characterization (7,8,9).
Products that are overly concentrated with carbohydrates often utilize only a singular absorption pathway, leaving residual carbohydrates floating within your plasma. This has been known to cause gastrointestinal issues (GI) and stomach issues (7,10). When you consume overly concentrated sports drinks, you are essentially creating waste. With the high(er) amount of CHO’s your body can get overwhelmed by what it's given at that moment – that’s when bloating and sloshing of fluids come into play. What’s causing that is the high carbohydrate concentration.
Carbohydrates for fueling
In fueling, carbohydrates also play important roles. As mentioned earlier, when exercising at a higher intensity the body will begin relying on carbohydrates more for fuel (and some fat) (1,2). Therefore, your body will depend on your glycogen (stored form of carbohydrates) stores for fuel. Stored glycogen is primarily located within liver and muscle tissue. When you give your body the nutrients (carbohydrates) it needs at those higher intensities, you spare glycogen. Those CHO’s you’re taking in will help keep your blood sugar constant, and help maximize exercise performance (17,18,20).
Carbohydrates in Nuun Endurance
Nuun Endurance uses multiple carbohydrates sources to help your body utilize several absorption pathways, helping increase the efficiency of what you are consuming (5,6,7). Consuming multiple sources of carbohydrates will also help your body oxidize more carbohydrates resulting in faster more effective hydration (6,7). Consuming these additional sources of carbohydrates will also decrease the onset of fatigue, and gastrointestinal issues (GI) (5).
Each serving of Nuun Endurance contains 16g of hard-working carbohydrates and optimized electrolytes for exceptional absorption. Whenever you're working out for 90 minutes or more, add a scoop to your water bottle to power your peak performance. The specialized formula will keep you hydrated and in it for the long haul.
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