An energy drink is a beverage that provides mental and physical stimulation. A spoonful of sugar in water has the same effect as that of energy drinks, revealed researchers from the University of Bath.
For the study, researchers assessed the impact of endurance exercise on liver glycogen levels. They tested several drinks to see how different sugars could slow the decline of liver glycogen levels, which leads to tiredness.
‘When several drinks were tested to see how different sugars could slow the decline of liver glycogen levels, which leads to tiredness, it was observed that even a spoonful of sugar in water has the same effect as that of energy drinks.’
Their experiment, which used long-distance cyclists as study participants, found both glucose and sucrose can help maintain liver glycogen levels. Both sucrose - in the form of table sugar - and glucose are important carbohydrates, often referred to as simple sugars. However, the researchers did find combining the different sources of sugars improves the rate at which people can absorb them. They warned that glucose-only drinks could produce stomach discomfort and suggested sucrose-based alternatives, or simply sugar in water.
Lead researcher Javier Gonzalez said, "The study showed that ingesting carbohydrates during exercise can prevent the depletion of carbohydrate stores in the liver, but not in muscle and that, the exercise felt easier and the gut comfort of the cyclists was better, when they ingested sucrose compared to glucose. This suggests that, when your goal is to maximize carbohydrate availability, sucrose is probably a better source of carbohydrate to ingest than glucose."
The study is published in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism.