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A comparison of isomaltulose versus maltodextrin ingestion during soccer-specific exercise

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Emma Stevenson, Dr Anthony Watson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany Purpose: The performance and physiological effects of isomaltulose and maltodextrin consumed intermittently during prolonged soccer-specific exercise were investigated. Methods: University soccer players (n = 22) performed 120 min of intermittent exercise while consuming 8% carbohydrate–electrolyte drinks (equivalent to ~ 20 g h−1) containing maltodextrin (Glycaemic Index: 90–100), isomaltulose (Glycaemic Index: 32) or a carbohydrate-energy-free placebo in a manner replicating the practices of soccer players (i.e., during warm-up and half-time). Physical (sprinting, jumping) and technical (shooting, dribbling) performance was assessed. Results: Blood glucose and plasma insulin (both P < 0.001) concentrations varied by trial with isomaltulose maintaining > 13% higher blood glucose concentrations between 75 and 90 min versus maltodextrin (P < 0.05). A decline in glycaemia at 60 min in maltodextrin was attenuated with isomaltulose (−19 versus −4%; P = 0.015). Carbohydrates attenuated elevations in plasma epinephrine concentrations (P < 0.05), but isomaltulose proved most effective at 90 and 120 min. Carbohydrates did not attenuate IL-6 increases or reductions in physical or technical performances (all P > 0.05). Ratings of abdominal discomfort were influenced by trial (P < 0.05) with lower values for both carbohydrates compared to PLA from 60 min onwards. Conclusions: Although carbohydrates (~ 20 g h−1) did not attenuate performance reductions throughout prolonged soccer-specific exercise, isomaltulose maintained higher blood glucose at 75–90 min, lessened the magnitude of the exercise-induced rebound glycaemic response and attenuated epinephrine increases whilst maintaining similar abdominal discomfort values relative to maltodextrin. When limited opportunities exist to consume carbohydrates on competition-day, low-glycaemic isomaltulose may offer an alternative nutritional strategy for exercising soccer players.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stevenson EJ, Watson A, Theis S, Holz A, Harper LD, Russell M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Applied Physiology

Year: 2017

Volume: 117

Issue: 11

Pages: 2321-2333

Print publication date: 01/11/2017

Online publication date: 19/09/2017

Acceptance date: 12/09/2017

Date deposited: 20/12/2017

ISSN (print): 1439-6319

ISSN (electronic): 1439-6327

Publisher: Springer Verlag


DOI: 10.1007/s00421-017-3719-5


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