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Fructose co-ingestion to increase carbohydrate availability in athletes

17 / 10 / 19

Finding:  Combined ingestion of fructose with glucose may be preferred over glucose only to assist trained athletes maximise endurance performance during prolonged moderate to high intensity exercise and accelerate recovery.

Summary: This review paper summarises the physiology of carbohydrate availability in athletes. Carbohydrate availability is important to maximise exercise performance and the main form of carbohydrates used are glucose polymers however this can be limited by intestinal glucose transport system (SGLT1). Intestinal fructose uptake uses a different system (GLUT5). Combining glucose and fructose can increase total carbohydrate availability and oxidation rates. The reviewers propose that including a mixture of glucose and fructose can improve exercise endurance compared to glucose only, and can also accelerate post exercise liver glycogen repletion which improves rapid recovery. Fructose co-ingestion can lower gastrointestinal distress when large amount of carbohydrate (>1.2g/kg/h) are required for post-exercise recovery.

Citation: Fuschs CJ, Gonzalez JT, van Loon LJC. Fructose co-ingestion to increase carbohydrate availability in athletes. J Physiol. 2019;597(14):3549-3560 (open access)