Endurance Riding and the Best Drink

Dr. Mirkin

What is the Best Drink to keep you Going Strong for Endurance Riding?

Drinks that contain both glucose and fructose sugars will help you race faster in competitions lasting more than a couple hours. Drinks that contain only maltodextrin, (made from starches extracted from rice, corn, potato and whole grains) are not as effective for racing because maltodextrin contains just the single sugar called glucose.

However, drinks that contain maltodextrin plus fructose improve race times better than those that have maltodextrin plus glucose (Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. April, 2012).

Therefore, make sure that your drinks contain both glucose and fructose sugars, found in fruit juices, soft drinks made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and any drink made with sucrose, which is regular table sugar (Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. July, 2010;13(4):452-7).

The limiting factor to how fast you can race in sports requiring great endurance is the amount of sugar that you can get into your muscles while you race. How much sugar you can get into your muscles is limited by how fast you can absorb the sugar from your intestines into your bloodstream. Sugar is transported through the intestines into the bloodstream by special carrier proteins called carbohydrate transporters. Each carbohydrate transporter is specific for each type of sugar. So if you ingest two different sugars, you use two different carbohydrate transporters and therefore can take in more sugar.

Studies show that sugar absorption into your bloodstream is increased by as much as 65 percent by taking glucose and fructose, compared to glucose alone. “The increased carbohydrate oxidation with multiple transportable carbohydrates was accompanied by increased fluid delivery and improved oxidation efficiency, and thus the likelihood of gastrointestinal distress may be diminished. Studies also demonstrated reduced fatigue and improved exercise performance with multiple transportable carbohydrates compared with a single carbohydrate.” (Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. July, 2010;13(4):452-7).

Author:  Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

 Dr. Gabe Mirkin, M.D, sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host, has been a practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is one of a very few doctors board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. https://www.drmirkin.com/

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