Two studies were conducted to investigate gastrointestinal (GI) tolerance of high carbohydrate (CHO) intakes during intense running. The first study investigated tolerance of a CHO gel delivering glucose plus fructose (GLU+FRC) at different rates. The second study investigated tolerance of high intakes of glucose (GLU) vs. GLU+FRC gel. Both studies used a randomized, 2-treatment, 2-period crossover design: Endurance-trained men and women (Study 1: 26 men, 8 women; 37 ± 11 yr; 73 ± 9 kg; 1.76 ± 0.07 m. Study 2: 34 men, 14 women; 35 ± 10 yr; 70 ± 9 kg; 1.75 ± 0.09 m) completed two 16-km outdoor-runs. In Study 1 gels were administered to provide 1.0 or 1.4 g CHO/min with ad libitum water intake every 3.2 km. In Study 2 GLU or GLU+FRC gels were given in a double-blind manner to provide 1.4 g CHO/min. In both studies a postexercise questionnaire assessed 17 symptoms on a 10-point scale (from 0 to 9). For all treatments, GI complaints were mainly scored at the low end of the scale. In Study 1 mean scores ranged from 0.00 ± 0.00 to 1.12 ± 1.90, and in Study 2, from 0.00 ± 0.0 to 1.27 ± 1.78. GI symptoms were grouped into upper abdominal, lower abdominal, and systemic problems. There were no significant treatment differences in these categories in either study. In conclusion, despite high CHOgel intake, and regardless of the blend (GLU vs. GLU+FRC), average scores for GI symptoms were at the low end of the scale, indicating predominantly good tolerance during a 16-km run. Nevertheless, some runners (~10–20%) experienced serious problems, and individualized feeding strategies might be required.
Pfeiffer, Cotterill, and Jeukendrup are with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom. Grathwohl and Stellingwerff are with the Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland.