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Swishing with carbohydrates gives an energy boost

Friday, July 23, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: carbohydrates, energy, health news

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(NaturalNews) Many athletes often grab a quick snack or sugary drink to get an extra energy and performance boost during a race or game, but researchers have found that simply swishing a beverage in your mouth that contains carbohydrates triggers the same response. And athletes do not even have to swallow it in order to derive benefit.

Asker Jeukendrup, an exercise physiologist at the University of Birmingham, and his team of researchers first set out to discover how and why carbohydrates worked to help athletes during short exercise sessions. After all, the body is unable to process carbohydrates fast enough to provide the quick boosts of energy that many athletes seem to get from consuming them.

What the team came to realize is that the simple presence of carbohydrates in the mouth triggers a brain response that improves performance.

"Your brain tells your body, 'carbohydrates are on the way', and with that message, muscles and nerves are prompted to work harder and longer", explained Matt Bridge, a senior lecturer in coaching and sports science at the University of Birmingham.

In tests, runners given a quick swish of flavorless carbohydrate water performed better than those given plain water. Whether or not the beverage was sweet did not make a difference; the mere presence of carbohydrates was enough to provide a little extra boost.

Scott Montain, an exercise researcher at the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, explained his belief that, while a carbohydrate swish does provide a measurable energy boost, "endurance competitors are better off just consuming the calories" rather than "sipping and then spitting out expensive, sticky spit."

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