Carbohydrates are key for runners, but can often be a source of gut problems. For this reason, AMPED™ Fuel was designed to be absorbed optimally and cause little to no gastrointestinal (GI) stress. A question we commonly get is, “How does AMPED Fuel actually work to help runners?” Now we’re breaking it down for you.
When running, some carbohydrates are used at higher rates; however, no single carbohydrate source can be absorbed more than 60 grams per hour. How much you can absorb comes down to your body’s own digestion.
Absorption is the basic process of moving nutrients from the intestines into the body’s circulation so it can be delivered to tissues like muscle. There are specialized cells that line the intestines that help form a barrier to keep out unwanted/dangerous substances, but also make it more difficult for nutrients to enter the body.
To help the absorption process, these cells have developed special transport mechanisms for different nutrients that help move them across the barriers faster. For example, one of the simple carbohydrates, glucose, has a transporter, but it becomes saturated as the carbohydrate intake reaches one gram per minute. This is the main reason that ingesting more carbohydrate than about 60 to 70 grams per hour will not result in more oxidation of that carbohydrate. The excess carbohydrate is simply not absorbed and will accumulate in the intestine, which then causes GI distress, gas, and bloating.
The big question then is, “How can we get in the right amount of carbohydrate with the best absorption?”
The answer comes down to combining the right type of carbohydrates at the right ratio. In 2004, Roy Jentjens at the University of Birmingham published the first study to show that if you ingest a combination of carbohydrates you use multiple transporters and increase absorption well over one gram per minute (1). The combination approach increased absorption by 25 percent more than what researchers previously thought was the maximum.
The carbohydrate mix that appeared to work best is glucose and fructose between a one-to-one or two-to-one ratio (2-4). Studies have demonstrated that multiple transportable carbohydrates can result in improved performance over and above the performance-enhancing effect of a carbohydrate drink or gel with one single carbohydrate (2).
These mixed-carbohydrate drinks and gels are also more easily digested and cause a lower rate of GI distress. However, remember that there are different carbohydrate needs for different durations of exercise as well as for different levels of athletes (3,4).
At its core, AMPED Fuel is a puree of wholesome carbohydrate sources including apple, agave, and molasses to support the absorption process by providing different natural carbohydrate sources in the scientifically validated ratio. AMPED Hydrate is another product that also uses different carbohydrates to optimize absorption.
For runners, a good starting place for understanding how to use AMPED Fuel is the following: one packet for moderate intensity exercise or two for very intense exercise every hour.
If you’re still getting fatigued about halfway through your training or event, you may need more. If you exercise for two hours or longer, carbohydrate intakes of up to 90 grams per hour are recommended, which translates into three to four AMPED Fuel packets per hour.
- Jentjens RL, Moseley L, Waring RH, Harding LK & Jeukendrup AE. Oxidation of combined ingestion of glucose and fructose during exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2004 Apr; 96(4):1277-84.
- Currell K & Jeukendrup AE. Superior endurance performance with ingestion of multiple transportable carbohydrates. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Feb; 40(2):275-81.
- Jeukendrup AE. Nutrition for endurance sports: marathon, triathlon, and road cycling. J Sports Sci. 2011; 29 Suppl 1:S91-9.
- Jeukendrup A. A step towards personalized sports nutrition: carbohydrate intake during exercise. Sports Med. 2014 May; 44 Suppl 1:S25-33.