Shun Energy Drinks, Just Add Table Sugar, Water and Hit Ground, Says New Study

For energy drinks the news should sound a nightmare as researchers found that taking just a spoon of sugar before hitting running sports like football, marathon or athletics would be vital enough to keep the energy in high pitch in the next few hours.

Researchers at the University of Bath found that just mixing table sugar with water and drinking it would stave off tiredness in endurance sports after testing it on long-distance cyclists for both sucrose- and glucose-based drinks. They found that it could prevent the decline of carbohydrate stores in the body’s liver glycogen levels.

"The carbohydrate stores in our liver are vitally important when it comes to endurance exercise as they help us to maintain a stable blood sugar level," said Javier Gonzalez. Researchers have been aware of the changes in human muscle carbohydrate stores with exercise and nutrition but unsure about optimising liver carbohydrate stores during and after exercise.

Otherwise, both sucrose in the form of table sugar and glucose, which is full of carbohydrates known as ‘simple sugars’ are known to be quickly absorbed by the body to produce instant energy. While both taste similar, there is difference in their molecular form as glucose is a monosaccharide, even fructose, another sugar is the same. Together they make sucrose, which is a disaccharide.

Those sports or energy drinks which use sucrose are broken down by the body easily but drinks with glucose-only formula produce gut discomfot as their differences become pronounced inside the body. While sucrose-only drinks may get upper hand, glucose drinks may be affected in terms of reputation and branding from this research findings.

However, scientists suggest just mixing of table sugar with water and taking it before hitting the ground would be better than depending on energy drinks.

While all sugars help restore energy levels, what matters is the rate at which they do so, especially when you are doing some running and demanding exercise, suggest researchers. They found that the gut comfort of the cyclists was better, when they were given sucrose compared to glucose.

Gonzalez said, "This suggests that, when your goal is to maximise carbohydrate availability, sucrose is probably a better source of carbohydrate to ingest than glucose."

The findings, published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology & Metabolism, suggested for long-distance cycling involving two-and-a-half hour exercise, consuming up to 90 grams of sugar per hour, diluted to 8 grams of sugar per 100 ml, is the right dose.

Even electrolytes don’t stand the new finding.

One comment

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