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Potato consumption as effective as carbohydrate gels for athletes: Study

Consuming potato puree during prolonged exercise works just as well as a commercial carbohydrate gel in sustaining blood glucose levels and boosting performance in trained athletes, a new study suggests.

“The research has shown that ingesting concentrated carbohydrate gels during prolonged exercise promotes carbohydrate availability during exercise and improves exercise performance,” said study’s lead author Nicholas Burd, Professor at the University of Illinois in the US.

“Our study aim was to expand and diversify race-fuelling options for athletes and offset flavour fatigue,” Burd said. Potatoes are a promising alternative for athletes because they represent a cost-effective, nutrient-dense and whole-food source of carbohydrates, the researchers reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Furthermore, they serve as a savoury race fuel option when compared with the high sweetness of carbohydrate gels.

The researchers recruited 12 participants who were healthy and devoted to their sport, averaging 165 miles per week on their bicycles.

“We found no differences between the performance of cyclists who got their carbohydrates by ingesting potatoes or gels at recommended amounts of about 60 grams per hour during the experiments.”

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