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Ditch that energy drink, a spoonful of sugar is a better choice

Good news for athletes. Experts suggest that a spoonful of sugar in water has the same effect as a performance enhancing energy drink.

health and fitness Updated: Nov 29, 2015 11:54 IST
Sugar,Energy drinks,Athletes
Experts suggest that if your goal is to maximise carbohydrate availability in your body, sucrose is probably a better source to ingest than glucose. (Shutterstock)

If you are an athlete, perhaps it is time you ditched that energy drink in your kit. These performance-enhancing drinks may have ran out of fizz as a team of scientists has discovered that a spoonful of sugar in water has the same effect. In a study, the University of Bath researchers assessed the impact of endurance exercise on liver glycogen levels and tested several drinks to see how different sugars could slow the decline of liver glycogen levels, which leads to tiredness, The Telegraph reported.

Their experiment, which used long-distance cyclists as participants, found both glucose and sucrose can help maintain liver glycogen levels. Both sucrose -- in the form of table sugar -- and glucose are important carbohydrates, often referred to as simple sugars.

However, the researchers did find combining the different sources of sugars improves the rate at which people can absorb them. They warned that glucose-only drinks could produce stomach discomfort and suggested sucrose-based alternatives, or simply sugar in water.

Read: Who would have thought sweets could help you stay in shape?

Read: Just one can of soda a day increases risk of heart failure by 23%

Lead researcher Javier Gonzalez said that the study showed that ingesting carbohydrates during exercise can prevent the depletion of carbohydrate stores in the liver, but not in muscle and that, the exercise felt easier and the gut comfort of the cyclists was better, when they ingested sucrose compared to glucose.

Gonzalez noted that this suggests that, when your goal is to maximise carbohydrate availability, sucrose is probably a better source of carbohydrate to ingest than glucose. The study is published in the American Journal of Physiology -- Endocrinology and Metabolism

First Published: Nov 29, 2015 11:53 IST