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Stephen R. Stannard, Martin W. Thompson and Janette C. Brand Miller

Consumption of low glycemic index (GI) foods before submaximal endurance exercise may be beneficial to performance. To test whether this may also be true for high intensity exercise. 10 trained cyclists began an incremental exercise test to exhaustion 65 min after consuming equal carbohydrate portions of glucose (HGI), pasta (LGI), and a noncarbohydrate control (PL). Time to fatigue did not differ significantly (p = 0.05) between treatments. Plasma glucose concentration was significantly lower after LGI vs. HGI from 15 to 45 min of rest postprandial. During exercise, plasma glucose concentration was significantly lower after HGI vs. LGI from 200 W until exhaustion. Plasma lactate concentration following HGI was significantly higher than PL from 30 min of rest postprandial through to the end of the 200-W workload. Plasma lactate concentration following LGI was significantly lower than after HGI from 45 min of rest postprandial through to the end of the 100-W workload. At higher exercise intensities, there was no significant difference in plasma lactate levels between treatments. These findings suggest that a high GI carbohydrate meal (1 g/kg body wt) 65 min prior to exercise decreases plasma glucose and increases plasma lactate levels compared to a low GI meal, but not enough to be detrimental to incremental exercise performance.

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Diana E. Thomas, John R. Brotherhood and Janette Brand Miller

It was hypothesized that slowly digested carbohydrates, that is, low glycemic index (GI) foods, eaten before prolonged strenuous exercise would increase the blood glucose concentration toward the end of exercise. Six trained cyclists pedaled on a cycle ergometer at 65-70% VO2max 60 min after ingestion of each of four test meals: a low-GI and a high-GI powdered food and a low-GI and a high-GI breakfast cereal, all providing 1 g of available carbohydrate per kilogram of body mass. Plasma glucose levels after more that 90 min of exercise were found to correlate inversely with the observed GI of the foods (p < .01). Free fatty acid levels during the last hour of exercise also correlated inversely with the GI (p < .05). The findings suggest that the slow digestion of carbohydrate in the preevent food favors higher concentrations of fuels in the blood toward the end of exercise.