Ben is TORQ's research specialist. He holds a 1st class honours degree in Sports Science and is currently completing the highly regarded IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition.
TORQ’s range of performance products, including TORQ Energy, TORQ Gel, TORQ Bar and TORQ Chew, all use a unique formulation of Multiple-Transportable Carbohydrates (MTC's). Here we review the latest scientific research behind these products and why TORQ leads the way in optimising endurance performance…
This article provides a brief insight into how Multiple-Transportable Carbohydrates work, the benefits achieved through fuelling with them and the now substantial body of research supporting their use. If you would like further detail and would benefit from seeing some very clear animations on the subject, please take the time to look at one or both of the following pages:
When we exercise hard we can burn anything in the region of 60–350grams an hour - the harder we work, the more we rely on carbohydrate as a fuel source. If we go into a session well fuelled, we typically have in the region of 200-600grams of carbohydrate stored in our muscle and liver in the form of glycogen, which is about enough fuel for 60-90minutes of hard exercise. After around 90minutes of hard work we can deplete these stores of carbohydrate and as a result, we ‘hit the wall’ or ‘blow up’' as it's often referred to and our performance nose dives.
Consuming extra carbohydrate when we exercise gives the muscles more fuel to utilise and helps us sustain a high pace for a longer period of time, boosting performance. This makes getting your fuelling right fundamental to performance in endurance events upwards of 1-2hours.
Carbohydrate is one of the most researched and well supported nutrients that an endurance athlete can supplement with to improve performance. A recent meta-analysis, which in the world of science is considered to be one of strongest forms of evidence available, showed that out of 61 published research studies, which examined the effect of carbohydrate on performance, over 82% showed that consuming carbohydrate led to significant improvements in performance, which in scientific terms, is pretty conclusive (1)!
As we can burn large amounts of carbohydrate (60–350grams an hour when working hard) and only have limited stores of it within the body (200–600grams), if we want to perform well, particularly for extended periods of time (upwards of 2hours), then we need to be able to consume fairly large amounts. The problem we have is that the amount of carbohydrate that we can deliver to the muscle to use as a fuel is limited by how quickly we can digest the carbohydrate that we consume. If we rely on forms of carbohydrate that are derived from glucose (glucose, dextrose, maltodextrin etc), which are one of the fastest digesting single forms of carbohydrate available to us, the digestive system can only process 60grams an hour, as nicely illustrated in the graphic below:
Here at TORQ we utilise a combination of glucose-derivatives and fructose in our products. This is because by adding fructose, which uses a different doorway across the gut wall, it increases our absorption threshold from 60grams an hour to 90grams an hour, allowing delivery of an additional 30 grams of carbohydrate. This combination of glucose-derivatives and fructose is referred to in the scientific community as ‘Multiple-Transportable Carbohydrates’ and the animation below demonstrates how these two delivery pathways increase the absorption of carbohydrate into the blood compared to using only glucose derivatives:
Since we now know how Multiple-Transportable Carbohydrates work, what are the benefits for us as athletes?
Better Endurance Performance: A substantial number of research studies have now shown that the use of Multiple-Transportable Carbohydrate solutions (such as the Glucose-Derivatives:Fructose used in TORQ) can lead to significant increases in exercise performance (2-14), with many studies showing significantly better performances in comparison to the use of glucose or maltodextrin only formulations. These benefits to performance are seen particularly when exercising for longer than 2-3hours and when high intakes of carbohydrate are consumed (i.e. >60grams an hour/more than 2 TORQ Units per hour).
Better Fluid Absorption: Compared to glucose only solutions, the addition of fructose increases the rate of fluid absorption, thanks to the co-ingestions of carbohydrate with fluid (14, 15, 16, 17). This allows for a greater delivery of fluid to help meet your hydration needs.
Higher Exogenous Carbohydrate Oxidation: Because Multiple-Transportable Carbohydrates allow greater carbohydrate absorption in comparison to single sources of carbohydrates, this means that we can achieve greater rates of exogenous carbohydrate oxidation in comparison to single sources of carbohydrate, as high as 26 – 65% higher (14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22)!
Less Stomach Problems: Stomach discomfort is a common issue for endurance athletes during competition and training and can have a debilitating effect on performance. Multiple-Transportable Carbohydrates have been shown to lead to a reduction in the occurrence of stomach upset in comparison to relying on single sources of carbohydrate (3, 4, 7, 18).
Reduced Feelings of Fatigue: Consuming Multiple-Transportable Carbohydrates resulted in lesser feeling of fatigue in comparison to using single sources of carbohydrate (7, 18).
Greater Sparing of Endogenous Stores: Consuming Multiple-Transportable Carbohydrates can help to preserve your body's previous glycogen stores when consumed at 90grams an hour (19, 20, 21, 23), allowing you to exercise for longer before these previous stores run out.
It is for the many benefits outlined above that TORQ utilise Multi-Transportable Carbohydrates across the range of our products. It’s important to add though, that in order to fully achieve the many benefits of Multi-Transportable Carbohydrate, you do need to be consuming in the region of 60-90grams of carbohydrate an hour.
1. Stellingwerff, T & Cox, GR. (2014) Systematic review: Carbohydrate supplementation on exercise performance or capacity of varying durations. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Sep;39(9):998-1011.
2. Wilson. PB., Ingraham, SJ. (2015) Glucose-fructose likely improves gastrointestinal comfort and endurance running performance relative to glucose-only. Scand J Med Sci Sports. [Epub ahead of print].
3. Currell, K & Jeukendrup, A.E. (2008) Superior endurance performance with ingestion of multiple transportable carbohydrates. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 40(2):275–81.
4. Triplett, D., Doyle, D., Rupp, J., Benardot, D. (2010) An isocaloric glucose-fructose beverage’s effect on simulated 100-km cycling performance compared with a glucose-only beverage. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 20(2):122–31
5. Tarpey, M.D., Roberts, J.D., Kass, L.S., Tarpey, R.J., Roberts, M.G. (2013) The ingestion of protein with a maltodextrin and fructose beverage on substrate utilisation and exercise performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 38(12):1245–53.
6. Mitchell, J.B., Costill, D.L., Houmard, J.A., Fink, W.J., Pasco, D.D. (1985) Influcence of carbohydrate dosage on exercise performance and glycogen metabolism. J Appl Physiol. 67(5); 1843-9
7. Rowlands, D.S., Swift, M., Ros, M., Green, J.G. (2012) Composite versus single transportable carbohydrate solution enhances race and laboratory cycling performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 37(3):425–36.
8. Baur, D.A., Schroer, A.B., Luden, N.D., Womack, C.J., Smyth, S.A., Saunders, M.J. (2014) Glucose-fructose enhances performance versus isocaloric, but not moderate, glucose. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 46(9):1778–86.
9. Rowlands, D.S., Thorburn, M.S., Thorp, R.M., Broadbent, S.M., Shi, X. (2008) Effect of graded fructose co-ingestion with maltodextrin on exogenous 14C-fructose and 13C-glucose oxidation efficiency and high-intensity cycling performance. J Appl Physiol. 104:1709–19.
10. O’Brien, W.J & Rowlands, D.S. (2011) Fructose-maltodextrin ratio in a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution differentially affects exogenous carbohydrate oxidation rate, gut comfort, and performance. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 300(1):G181–9.
11. O’Brien, W.J., Stannard, S.R., Clarke, J.A., Rowlands, D.S. (2013) Fructose–maltodextrin ratio governs exogenous and other CHO oxidation and performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 45(9):1814–24.
12. Rowlands, D.S., Swift, M., Ros, M., Green, J.G. (2012) Composite versus single transportable carbohydrate solution enhances race and laboratory cycling performance. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 37(3): 425-436.
13. Smith, J.W., Pascoe, D.D., Passe, D., Ruby, B.C., Stewart, L.K., Baker, L.B., et al. (2013) Curvilinear dose-response relationship of carbohydrate (0–120 g·h−1) and performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 45(2):336–41.
14. Roberts, J.D., Tarpey, M.D., Kass, L.S., Tarpey, R.J., Roberts, M.G. (2014) Assessing a commercially available sports drink on exogenous carbohydrate oxidation, fluid delivery and sustained exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 11(1):1–14.
15. Jentjens, R.L., Underwood, K., Achten, J., Currell, K., Mann, C.H., Jeukendrup, A.E. (2006) Exogenous carbohydrate oxidation rates are elevated after combined ingestion of glucose and fructose during exercise in the heat. J Appl Physiol. 100(3):807–16.
16. Jeukendrup, A.E & Moseley, L. (2010) Multiple transportable carbohydrates enhance gastric emptying and fluid delivery. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 20(1):112–21.
17. Davis, J.M., Burgess, W.A., Slentz, C.A., Bartoli, W.P. (1990) Fluid availability of sports drinks differing in carbohydrate type and concentration. Am J Clin Nutr. 51(6):1054–7.
18. Jentjens, R.L., Venables, M.C., Jeukendrup, A.E. (2004) Oxidation of exogenous glucose, sucrose, and maltose during prolonged cycling exercise. J Appl Physiol. 96(4):1285–91.
19. Jentjens, R.L., Achten, J., Jeukendrup, A.E. (2004) High oxidation rates from combined carbohydrates ingested during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 36(9):1551–8.
20. Wallis, G.A., Rowlands, D.S., Shaw, C., Jentjens, R.L., Jeukendrup, A.E. (2005) Oxidation of combined ingestion of maltodextrins and fructose during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 37(3):426–32.
21. Jentjens, R.L., Moseley, L., Waring, R.H., Harding, L.K., Jeukendrup, A.E. (2004) Oxidation of combined ingestion of glucose and fructose during exercise. J Appl Physiol. 96(4):1277–84.
22. Jentjens, R.L & Jeukendrup, A.E. (2005) High rates of exogenous carbohydrate oxidation from a mixture of glucose and fructose ingested during prolonged cycling exercise. Brit J Nutr. 93:485–92.
23. Fuchs, C.J., Gonzalez, J.T., Beelen, M., Cermak, N.M., Smith, F.E., Thelwall, P.E., Taylor, R., Trenell, M.I., Stevenson, E.J., van Loon, L.J. (2016) Sucrose ingestion after exhaustive exercise accelerates liver, but not muscle glycogen repletion compared with glucose ingestion in trained athletes. J Appl Physi. [Epub ahead of print].
For reviews see…
Jeukendrup, A.E. (2010) Carbohydrate and exercise performance: the role of multiple transportable carbohydrates. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. Jul;13(4):452-7.
Rowlands, D.S., Houltham, S., Musa-Veloso, K., Brown, F., Paulionis, L., Bailey, D. (2015) Fructose-Glucose Composite Carbohydrates and Endurance Performance: Critical Review and Future Perspectives. Sports Med. Nov;45(11):1561-76.