We did a N=1 case study comparing different sport fuel brands (GU, Maurten, Vega, Tail Wind, Endurance Tap and UCAN) and tested how they responded to sugar levels using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
A CGM is a small round sensor worn on the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days. The sensor tracks glucose levels day and night and allows to view your glucose levels at any time.
Understanding real-time glucose levels can help athletes know what to consume and when, which helps improve muscle recovery and athletic performance, Swedish research shows. And athletes who understand the impact of what they eat and drink will have a better chance of improving their performance, according to an American College of Sports Medicine study.
In this case study, Evan’s routine was to wake up at 530am and before 6am consume 50 grams of one carbohydrate energy product mixed with 350ml of water. Evan then rested for two hours and observed his glucose levels with a CGM.
Each sport fuel was consumed once and at least 24 hours apart from one another.
Why 50 grams of carbohydrates?
Consuming 50 grams of carbohydrates is a standard clinical trial amount. We understand the quantity will vary for each person when training, and the recommendations from the sport energy companies will also be different recommended amounts.
Here are the results shown in line graphs.
All sport drink products moved above 7.5 mmol/L and declined, except for UCAN SuperStarch
The drop in glucose levels from the insulin response varied from each product
Peak glucose levels occurred approximately 60 minutes after consuming the product
What does this tell us?
These readings tell us Evan’s glucose and insulin response for each sport energy carbohydrate product at rest. It’s important to note, these products may vary in response for person to person.
- For metabolic health and athletic peak performance, SPN encourages better understanding your body. This means understanding how food and activity responds to life, performance and recovery. The CGM allows a small window into whats happening with one of the major fuels in your body (glucose), and being further informed about personal ranges ofo glucose levels can avoid common issues with endurance athletes like bonking, and conversely, inform how to use and time glucose for peak performance.
- We have some insight about how Evan's body responds to UCAN SuperStarch, and have validated for Evan that the glucose is released slower than other products. This will help inform Evan how he can think about using UCAN throughout his day, training and racing.
- Too much sugar (fast carbs) can cause a cycle of high-low-high levels of blood sugar and energy in the body. The rapid drops in glucose levels may lead to bonking - fatigue, empty legs and dizziness. Knowing how to keep the body fuelled and glucose levels stable can help avoid bonking.
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