Consuming potato puree during prolonged exercise works just as well as a commercial carbohydrate gel in sustaining blood glucose levels and boosting performance in trained athletes, scientists report.
"We found no differences between the performance of cyclists who got their carbohydrates by ingesting potatoes or gels at recommended amounts of about 60 grams per hour during the experiments," the researcher said. "Both groups saw a significant boost in performance that those consuming only water did not achieve." Those consuming potatoes experienced significantly more gastrointestinal bloating, pain and flatulence than the other groups, however. This may be a result of the larger volume of potatoes needed to match the glucose provided by the gels.
All in all, the study is a proof-of-concept showing that athletes may use whole-food sources of carbohydrates as an alternative to commercial products to diversify race-fueling menus.