FTP #37: Lewis James & Stephen Mears – Carbohydrate Hydrogel Products in endurance sports: the science behind the claims & beyond

FTP #36: Kirsty Elliott-Sale & Eimear Dolan – The Female cyclist series (Part 2): oral contraceptives and exercise performance
October 12, 2020
FTP #38: Dana Lis – Collagen supplementation, explosive exercise performance and implications for sprinters
November 16, 2020

FTP #37: Lewis James & Stephen Mears – Carbohydrate Hydrogel Products in endurance sports: the science behind the claims & beyond

Lewis James, PhD.
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Dr. Lewis obtained a BSc (Food Science with Nutrition) from the University of Reading, followed by an MSc (Sport and Exercise Nutrition), and PhD focusing on human water balance from Loughborough University. After 2 years lecturing at Nottingham Trent University, Lewis Joined the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences as Lecturer in Nutrition in 2012 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2016. Lewis is currently Physiology and Nutrition Learning and Teaching Discipline Group Lead, Deputy Lead for the Sports Performance Research Theme, and leads modules on the School’s undergraduate (Sport Nutrition) and postgraduate (Applied Nutrition) programes. He is a keen sportsman, with a particular interested in cycling and combat sports, particularly mixed martial arts and boxing.

Stephen Mears, PhD.
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Steve is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition at Loughborough University. Steve’s overall research focus examines nutritional interventions for health and performance in endurance exercise. Current main areas of research are hydration and renal health/function and the influence of carbohydrate metabolism and hypohydration on exercise performance. Steve serves on the Research Board for the International Institute for Race Medicine, an organisation that informs the medical provisions at the World Marathon Majors. Through this work he is primary author of the Marathon Medical Care Manual: a reference document created for medical staff at events to guide them through common medical treatments and race logistics. Steve has conducted applied work at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and worked with marathon runners and international athletes.

On this episode:

  • What are Hydrogel carbohydrate products?
  • How are they different from traditional sports drinks?
  • The main claims advocated by the brands manufacturing them
  • Research with cyclists
  • Effects on substrate oxidation
  • Effects on gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Effects on exercise performance
  • Promising effects looking at hydrogel ingestion and oral health
  • Are we performing the right research to test the full potential of hydrogels products?
  • Take-home messages

Articles mentioned during the episode:

Mears, S. A., Worley, J., Mason, G. S., Hulston, C. J., & James, L. J. (2020). Addition of sodium alginate and pectin to a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution does not influence substrate oxidation, gastrointestinal comfort, or cycling performance. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, (999), 1-4.

King, A. J., Rowe, J. T., & Burke, L. M. (2020). Carbohydrate Hydrogel Products Do Not Improve Performance or Gastrointestinal Distress During Moderate-Intensity Endurance Exercise. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism30(5), 305-314.

Pettersson, S., Ahnoff, M., Edin, F., Lingström, P., Simark Mattsson, C., & Andersson-Hall, U. (2020). A Hydrogel Drink With High Fructose Content Generates Higher Exogenous Carbohydrate Oxidation and Lower Dental Biofilm pH Compared to Two Other, Commercially Available, Carbohydrate Sports Drinks. Frontiers in nutrition7, 88.

Sutehall, S., Galloway, S. D., Bosch, A., & Pitsiladis, Y. (2020). Addition of an Alginate Hydrogel to a Carbohydrate Beverage Enhances Gastric EmptyingMedicine and science in sports and exercise.

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