The Benefits of Multiple Carbohydrate Ingestion During Endurance Exercise: A Fancy Way of Saying I made my own Sport Drink

If you’ve been listening to the Fat Slow Triathlete Podcast, you know that I’ve been experimenting with creating a drink of my own.  The drink is very easy to make with only a few ingredients.  Per serving, the recipe is below:

  • Maltodextrin: 8g
  • Fructose: 6g
  • Cane Sugar: 6g
  • NaCl: .5g
  • Unsweetened Koolaid Mix: 1/8 of a serving aproximately .625g

Total Cost per Serving: 0.18 depending upon how much sugar you have laying around the house.  Koolaid is actually the most expensive ingredient in each serving.  I will update with links to the actual products I purchased.

I just kind of realized that the recipe above is absurd so I will give you an easier way of doing it which will yield a total of 16 servings.

Serving Size is 1.5 tablespoons

  • Total carbs: 20g
  • Sugar 12g
  • Sodium 200mg

Interestingly enough, maltodextrin is 97% complex carbohydrate even though it’s just a bunch of glucoses strung together.

The overall molecular weight is very similar to Gatorade Endurance.  However, a key difference between GE and my formula is that my formula includes Fructose.  I also chose Maltodextrin over Dextrose due to the existing data.  All ingredients were chosen due to their Glycemic Index and existing clinical studies.

This recipe is a work in progress.  I’m also thinking about including Waxy Maize (Super Starch/UCAN Sheldon-Cooper-High-NFCactive ingredient) to see how things pan out.  I’ve received some interest from UCAN users on my opinions.  It should be noted however, that the existing data in regards to Waxy Maize/Super Starch or HMS only compares the insulin response and blood glucose levels when compared to maltodextrin.  I could not find any data looking at exercise performance with regards to WM/SS/HMS.  The data that is out there simply compares physiological markers such as insulin response and blood glucose levels and not effect on exercise.

While using a combination of multiple transportable carbohydrates including fructose, the subjects in the cited study were shown to have a greater oxidation of total carbohydrates.  [1]   Prior to this study, it was widely accepted that carbohydrate oxidation was limited to approximately 1g/min regardless of the source of carbohydrate used.  [2]  However, after the landmark study in 2004, total carbohydrate oxidation was shown to reflect levels of 1.26g/min when combining different sources of carbohydrates including fructose. [1] The ACSM guidelines had previously capped the recommended intake of carbohydrate to 60g/hour based on the data available at the time.  However, now it is more prudent to diversify the types of carbohydrates ingested to maximize the total amount of carbohydrates oxidized as well as increase the total amount of carbohydrate consumed.  Another interesting benefit of ingesting multiple sources of carbohydrate is that when consumed (fructose and glucose), ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were lower in the glucose/fructose group vs. the glucose only group.  Logically, the glucose/fructose group also had better exercise performance in this instance.  [3]

I could bore you with significantly more data, but if you have gotten this far and are still interested I encourage you to read  A Step Towards Personalized Sports Nutrition: Carbohydrate Intake During Exercise by Asker Jeukendrup.  This is the most thorough and centralized location for all the relevant science associated with carbohydrate intake during exercise and more specific to us, endurance exercise. It’s pretty clear that the benefits of multiple carbohydrate ingestion during exercise is superior to utilizing carbohydrates of a single type.

  1.  Jentjens RL, Moseley L, Waring RH, et al. Oxidation of combined ingestion of glucose and fructose during exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2004;96:1277–84.
  2. Jeukendrup AE, Jentjens R. Oxidation of carbohydrate feedings during prolonged exercise: current thoughts, guidelines and directions for future research. Sports Med. 2000;29:407–24.
  3. Jeukendrup AE, Moseley L, Mainwaring GI, et al. Exogenous carbohydrate oxidation during ultraendurance exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2006;100:1134–41.




Randall Messman

Born in 1976, I've always loved sports and working out. Currently my passion is Triathlon. I'm a IRONMAN Certified Coach and love to help anyone on their journey to a better life.