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Sugar-based sports drinks are based on a simple concept - they rescue blood sugar during a crash.
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If used repeatedly during exercise that may aid in maintenance of blood sugar and provide fluids and minerals to support hydration and electrolyte balance. But an often ignored effect of these sports drinks is that they suppress use of fat for fuel. A more optimal carbohydrate source for athletes would have a slow "time-released" glucose profile and low insulin impact to avoid the spike and crash phenomena and extend maintenance of blood glucose. A new waxy maize based starch called SuperStarch overcomes this problem.  SuperStarch is different than other high-molecule-weight waxy maize starches because it has been processed using a proprietary heat-moisture treatment that alters its digestion in the intestines giving it a unique slow absorption profile.  In a randomized double blind placebo controlled study conducted by independent exercise science researchers at the University of Oklahoma (a rigorously controlled and implemented study), they enrolled ten highly trained male cyclists with an average age of 30 years. After determining their peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) while cycling, the athletes returned to the laboratory on two occasions one week apart and cycled for 150 min at 70% VO2peak. Before and after exercise, participants ingested 1g/kg (average 79 g) of either SuperStarch or Maltodextrin while providing blood and expired gas samples every 15 and 30 min, respectively, before, during, and following exercise.  The major outcome variables were glucose, insulin, fatty acids, glycerol, and fat oxidation during and after exercise.  There was a rapid increase in blood glucose immediately after the ingestion of Maltodextrin pre- and post-exercise, which was significantly decreased by SuperStarch.  In a similar manner, insulin levels were markedly higher after Maltodextrin compared to SuperStarch. Peak insulin levels were more than 8-fold higher after ingestion of Maltodextrin compared to SuperStarch.  SuperStarch was associated with greater fat breakdown during exercise and recovery as indicated by significantly increased blood fatty acids and glycerol levels. There was also a trend for increased oxidation of fat during the SuperStarch trial. In summary, the findings from this carefully controlled experiment showed that SuperStarch significantly altered metabolic responses to exercise and promoted a more efficient utilization of fat while maintaining blood glucose levels.

  •    Roberts MD, Lockwood C, Dalbo VJ, Volek J, Kerksick CM. Ingestion of a high-molecular-weight hydrothermally modified waxy maize starch alters metabolic responses to prolonged exercise in trained cyclists. Nutrition. 2010 Oct 13.