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Recent studies have demonstrated a direct link between increased exogenous CHO oxidation (CHOexog) and enhanced performance. The limiting factor for CHOexog appears to be at the level of intestinal transporters, with sodium/glucose cotransporter 1 (SGLT1) and glucose transporter Type 5 (GLUT5) responsible for glucose and fructose transport, respectively. Studies in animal models have shown that SGLT1 and intestinal glucose uptake are up-regulated by high carbohydrate diets or noncaloric sweeteners. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of preexercise ingestion of noncaloric sweeteners on CHOexog during exercise in athletes. In a randomized, crossover, double-blind fashion twenty-three healthy male cyclists (age = 29 ± 7yrs, mass = 73.6 ± 7.4kg, VO2peak = 68.3 ± 9.3 ml/kg/min) consumed 8 × 50ml doses of either placebo (CON) or 1mM sucralose (SUCRA) every 15 min starting 120 min before the onset of exercise. This was followed by 2h of cycling at 48.5 ± 8.6% of VO2peak with continual ingestion of a maltodextrin drink (1.2g/min; 828ml/hr). Average CHOexog during the first hour of exercise did not differ between SUCRA and CON conditions (0.226 ± 0.081 g/min vs. 0.212 ± 0.076 g/min, Δ =0.015 g/min, 95%CI -0.008 g/min, 0.038 g/min, p = .178). Blood glucose, plasma insulin and lactate, CHO and fat substrate utilization, heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion, and gastrointestinal symptoms did not differ between conditions. Our data suggest that consumption of noncaloric sweeteners in the immediate period before exercise does not lead to a significant increase in CHOexog during exercise.

The authors are with the Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland.