Caffeine increases carb uptake by the body

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Caffeine, Nutrition

Caffeine increased the cyclists' absorption of carbohydrates from a
sports drink in new UK research, writes Dominique Patton,
offering a new area of innovation for manufacturers of sports

A small trial by researchers at the University of Birmingham found that introducing caffeine into sports drinks increased the rate in which carbohydrate is delivered to the athlete by 26 per cent.

The findings offer a new area of innovation for sports drink manufacturers, which have largely concentrated on carbohydrates until now. But they may also add fuel to the controversial debate about the use of caffeine in sport.

The natural stimulant was removed from the World Anti Doping Agency's (WADA) list of banned substances in January 2004 but it continues to monitor its use.

Admissions last month by several Australian athletes, including rugby captain George Gregan from the Wallabies, that they were taking caffeine tablets to boost performance suggest that there is increasing use of the substance in sport.

Under WADA's World Anti-Doping Code, a substance is banned if it meets two of three different criteria, including performance enhancement and damage to an athlete's health.

However the new research does not prove that the ingredient is performance-enhancing, say the researchers. They believe there is potential for a new type of sports drink.

The team asked eight endurance road cyclists to perform three slots of two-hour exercise sessions, cycling at 55 per cent of their maximum power output.

During the trial, the cyclists took one of three different sports drinks - glucose, glucose with caffeine, and plain water - especially mixed to taste the same. Samples of blood and expired air were taken every 15 minutes, in order to measure the absorption rate of carbohydrate.

The sports drink containing 5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight vastly outperformed the other two drinks, according to the researchers.

Dr Asker Jeukendrup, director of the university's Human Performance Laboratory and sports nutrition expert, said: "It is very difficult to regulate the intake of caffeine in an athlete's diet, as it is present in such a wide range of products like chocolate, nuts, flavourings and drugs, as well as coffee and cola."

"As long as caffeine remains off the banned list, I believe there is a case for a new generation of sports drinks that utilises caffeine for its positive affects on delivering carbohydrates."

Further research by the Birmingham scientists will investigate the levels of caffeine required to initiate a positive affect on carbohydrate delivery, and measure the actual increase in physical performance that caffeine containing sport drinks bring on.

WADA meets in September each year to review the list of banned substances, prior to enforcement the following year.

Related topics: Ingredients

Related news

Related products

show more

A Baker’s Hero: Vital Wheat Gluten

A Baker’s Hero: Vital Wheat Gluten

Cargill | 25-Oct-2022 | Technical / White Paper

From formulation to finished product, vital wheat gluten is a true superhero when it comes to the bakery. Learn how this humble, plant-based protein rose...

Enhance the shelf life of baked goods now!

Enhance the shelf life of baked goods now!

Mane Kancor Ingredients Pvt. Ltd. | 19-Oct-2022 | Technical / White Paper

Fats in baked foods influence its softness and flavour, however it is also prone to acceleration of oxidation under high temperatures leading to rancidity...

Sugar reduction and alternatives guide

Sugar reduction and alternatives guide

Cambridge Commodities | 28-Sep-2022 | Product Brochure

Cambridge Commodities has selected a number of sugar alternatives including food-based alternative sweetening products, sweeteners of natural origin, and...

We offer even more reason to indulge.

We offer even more reason to indulge.

ADM | 22-Sep-2022 | Insight Guide

Consumers want snacks that are both delicious and nutritious. That’s why we incorporate more fiber and plant-based choices and use ingredients like botanical...

Follow us


View more