Clean Streamlined Fuel for your performing body. NO Benzoates, NO Sorbates, NO artificials.
Starch is the major dietary source of carbohydrate and is the most abundant storage polysaccharide (single units of carbohydrate linked together) in plants. Research has identified the incomplete digestion and absorption of some varieties of starch in the small intestine as a normal phenomenon(1,2). These nondigestible starch fractions are labeled “resistant starches” and have similar properties to those of dietary fibre i.e. they are not digested, and pass through to the large intestine. Considering that most of the carbohydrates isolated for use in sports nutrition products originate from starch molecules, this subject warrants the examination regarding the affect that may be elicited on gastric emptying and carbohydrate utilization during exercise.
Resistant starch (RS) is defined as the fraction of dietary starch which escapes digestion in the small intestine. RS is sub-divided into 4 fractions. For the purposes of this discussion RS2 will be the focus. RS2 represents starch that is in a certain granular form and is resistant to enzymatic digestion.(3)
There are two kinds of plant starches, amylose and amylopectin. Amylose, because of it’s chemical structure, is much harder to breakdown and digest comared to amylopectin. The relative proportions of amylose to amylopectin depend on the source of the starch. Cornstarch is the most commonly used starche for isolating smaller mono- (individual sugars) or polysaccharides (two or more sugars linked together) in sports nutrition products. High-amylose corn (Amylomaize) is the generic name for corn that contains over 50% amylose, while the ‘Dent’ variety of corn contains about 30% amylose to 70% amylopectin. 'Waxy' maize refers to corn with virtually no amylose.(3) Other less common sources of plant starches include rice, tapioca and potato, all of which also contain varying proportions of amylose and amylopectin.
High-amylose corn falls into the category of RS2 starches. Resistant starch granules from high-amylose corn cannot be broken down by amylase, the enzyme responsible for initiating the process of carbohydrate digestion. This is due to the rigidly packed structure of amylose that results in tight bond formation between the helices and limits the accessibility of digestive enzymes. This prevents the enzymes from breaking this complex molecule into its smaller, more easily digestible components. In fact, high amylose maize starches are known to proceed very slowly through the digestion process and are incompletely digested.(3)
Resistant starch that escapes digestion in the small intestine, will move down to the large intestine where the particles will have to either undergo fermentation by gut microflora or be excreted. This can contribute to flatulence, abdominal cramping and bloating. Furthermore, it can also lead to diarrhea, and contribute to dehydration.(4)
It has been well established that a higher content of amylose lowers the digestibility of starch due to the positive correlation between amylose content and the formation of resistant starch.(5,6) Therefore it seems logical that the best choice for longer chain carbohydrates to be used in a sport nutrition product would be polysaccharides derived from Waxy maize instead of high-amylose corn or Dent corn.
e load™ Energy Gel only uses carbohydrate derived from a non-GMO Waxy maize cornstarch, therefore it has a high amylopectin content and does not contain any traces of resistant starch. Unfortunately, several other gels are still using an amylose derived carbohydrate source. This small, yet crucial detail is often overlooked when choosing a sport nutrition product because this information is not as readily available on most labels. However, it can prove to be an important determinant of gut irritability, so it is worth checking out!
In animals and humans the primary source of storage carbohydrate is glycogen. Glycogen is also the preferred energy source for exercise, necessary for fueling muscles, supplying glucose to the brain and also for burning fat. Unfortunately, humans can only store limited amounts of glycogen. In as little as 60 minutes of high intensity exercise, the body can become glycogen depleted. When glycogen stores run out, exercise cannot be maintained at the same intensity and often the athlete is forced to stop. This is referred to as “bonking” of “hitting the wall”. For a more in-depth analysis of glycogen please visit Carbohydrate Crash Course.
To prevent glycogen levels from dropping to critically low levels, ingestion of 1.0 to 1.2 grams/minute of easily digestible carbohydrate is recommended during exercise, and especially after a period of 60-90 minutes of endurance activity (Jeukendrup, 2004). Ingestion of a readily available carbohydrate can permit glycogen sparing and allow for intensity and duration of the activity to be optimized.
During prolonged exercise the mechanism behind this performance improvement is likely to be related to maintenance of high rates of carbohydrate oxidation and the prevention of hypoglycemia.(7) Quick absorption of glucose is also paramount for preventing stomach upset that can set in when the concentration of solute (or particles) remains high in the gastrointestional tract. The process of removal of solute from the small intestine into the blood is dependent on rapid gastric (stomach) emptying, and efficient digestion and absorption in the small intestine. This need is especially amplified when exercising in the heat, when gastrointestinal discomfort occurs with increased intensity, duration, and frequency.
To avoid glycogen depletion, the rapid removal of glucose from the GI tract into the bloodstream resulting in increased blood glucose must occur, thereby sparing glycogen stores.(7) The Glycemic Index (GI) of food can provide a tool to measure the effect that various carbohydrate sources have on blood glucose. The scale ranges from 0 to 100+, and the higher the GI, the faster the absorption of carbohydrate into the blood. For this reason, a high GI carbohydrate is the preferred fuel during exercise. For a polysaccharide to be used as a primary substrate for exercise it is of paramount importance that it can deliver a rapidly absorbable carbohydrate and also demonstrate excellent gastric emptying capabilities. Fortunately there is a readily available polysaccharide that satisfies all of the above criteria, that being maltodextrin. And again, maltodextrin is only ideal when derived from cornstarch made with Waxy maize.
e load™ Energy Gel maltodextrin is a lowly sweet, easily digested carbohydrate made from Waxy maize amylopectin. Maltodextrin empties from the stomach only only a fraction slower than dextrose.
Additionally, high rates of oxidation of ingested carbohydrate are imperative for glycogen sparing.(7) While glucose and amylopectin based maltodextrins are oxidized at high rates; fructose, galactose and amylose have been shown to be oxidized at 25 to 50% lower rates.(8)
While sweetness is something we usually think of as beneficial for our taste buds, during exercise, and particularly exercise in the heat, sweet flavours become intensified and are often overbearing. For some individuals flavors normally well tolerated can even become nauseating.(9,10)
Maltodextrin provides the primary source of carbohydrate in e load™ Energy Gel from a waxy maize derived maltodextrin. There is measure of sweetness used to classify carbohydrates that is similar to the GI scale. Sugars are categorized by ‘Dextrose Equivalents’ (DE). A DE value of 100 is given to pure dextrose (glucose) and other carbohydrates are ranked in comparison to dextrose. The maltodextrin used in e load™ Energy Gel has a DE of 10, indicating that it has a very low relative sweetness. By using a waxy maize derived, low DE maltodextrin, e load™ Energy Gel takes on a pleasant non-starchy flavour during exercise.
The taste of e load™ Energy Gel is further enhanced by subtle natural flavours. These flavours allow for a full taste without the use of additives or syrups which can impact the solute load of the gel. As discussed, this can have negative effects on gastrointestinal irritability and general tolerance during exercise in the heat. Sugary syrups and heavy sweeteners may also create a pasty mouth feel, which is unpleasant and can contribute to nausea. As always, consistent with our ‘natural only’ policy there are no artificial flavours or preservatives added to our products-everything is completely natural.
Maintaining proper balance of electrolytes is essential for performance in the heat. Considering that electrolytes become depleted from losses in sweat, especially during exercise in hot or humid conditions, replacement of these key elements becomes an important priority.
The main electrolyte contributors to decreased level of performance or heat related injury include sodium and potassium. Sodium needs to be replaced in the highest levels as the body releases large amounts in sweat. Under-replacing sodium can lead to heat illnesses including dehydration, muscular cramping, headaches, gastrointestinal upset, nausea, fluid retention and hyponatremia.(13) Potassium is the second most important electrolyte in sweat, lack of potassium can substantially affect sodium balance and can contribute to all of the heat illnesses, including cramping and hyponatremia.(14,15)
From a taste and functionality standpoint it would not be feasible for a gel to include these electrolytes in the quantities necessary for proper repletion during heat; however, a sports gel should still contain each of these vital elements. While obtaining adequate amounts usually requires supplementing with a sport drink specifically designed for electrolyte repletion, such as e load™, gels can act as a supplementary source of electrolytes.
One factor often overlooked in the design of sports nutrition products is that the ratio of these electrolytes in the product should mirror the ratio that is lost in sweat. Given that the sodium to potassium ratio in human sweat is between 3:1 and 5:1, a well formulated product should reflect these ratios as well.
e load™ Energy Gel has been designed to provide complementary amounts of electrolytes in ratios that match the electrolyte losses in human sweat. As a result, eload™ Energy Gel maintains its great taste while providing a source of sodium and potassium to aid in the prevention of heat stress during exercise.
Dear Dr. Stoddard:
As defending Rowing World Champions, my teammates and I are training hard to win again this summer in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Training more than thirty hours per week means that fluid intake and electrolyte replacement is key to maintaining our intensity on the water. E load has been a big part of our winter training, and will be a real asset when we go into the heat of the Beijing Olympics this summer.
Kyle Hamilton 2002, 2003, 2007 Rowing World Champion, Men's Eight, 2008 Olympic Men's Eight Gold Medallists.
Congratulations to the Canadian Men's 8 Rowing 2008 Olympic Gold Champions fueled by e load!
Derek Zanstra - Mountain Bike
Ingrid Cluzeau - Duathlon
Krista Duchene: National Marathon Champion