European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 11–12, pp 2599–2608 | Cite as

Carbohydrate hydrogel beverage provides no additional cycling performance benefit versus carbohydrate alone

  • Daniel A. BaurEmail author
  • Harrison R. Toney
  • Michael J. Saunders
  • Katherine G. Baur
  • Nicholas D. Luden
  • Christopher J. Womack
Original Article



This study examined the effects of a novel maltodextrin-fructose hydrogel supplement (MF-H) on cycling performance and gastrointestinal distress symptoms.


Nine endurance-trained male cyclists (age = 26.1 ± 6.6, mass = 80.9 ± 10.4 kg, VO2max = 55.5 ± 3.6 mL·kg·min−1) completed three experimental trials consisting of a 98-min varied-intensity cycling protocol followed by a performance test of ten consecutive sprint intervals. In a cross-over design, subjects consumed 250 mL of a treatment beverage every 15 min of cycling. Treatments consisted of 78 g·hr−1 of either (a) MF-H, (b) isocaloric maltodextrin-fructose (ratio-matched 2:1; MF), and (c) isocaloric maltodextrin only (MD).


There were no differences in average sprint power between treatments (MF-H, 284 ± 51 W; MF, 281 ± 46 W; and MD, 277 ± 48 W), or power output for any individual sprint. Subjective ratings of gastrointestinal distress symptoms (nausea, fullness, and abdominal cramping) increased significantly over time during the cycling trials, but few individuals exceeded moderate levels in any trial with no systematic differences in gastrointestinal discomfort symptoms observed between treatments.


In conclusion, ingestion of a maltodextrin/fructose hydrogel beverage during high-intensity cycling does not improve gastrointestinal comfort or performance compared to MF or MD beverages.


Multiple transportable carbohydrates Gastrointestinal distress Maltodextrin Fructose Ergogenic aids Supplements 





Effect size




Heart rate




Maltodextrin and fructose


Maltodextrin and fructose hydrogel


Multiple transportable carbohydrates


Oxygen uptake


Maximal oxygen consumption




Maximal wattage attained during graded exercise test



The authors would like to thank Jennifer Peluso, Mary Leupold, Neena Edupuganti, Dr. Thomas Baur, and Dr. Simon Higgins for assistance in data collection. Additionally, we are grateful to Tate and Lyle PLC for providing the maltodextrin and fructose for this study.

Author contribution

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by Daniel Baur, Katherine Baur, Harrison Toney, Nicholas Luden, and Michael J. Saunders. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Daniel Baur and Harrison Toney and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the institutional review boards of the participating institutions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel A. Baur
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Harrison R. Toney
    • 3
  • Michael J. Saunders
    • 3
  • Katherine G. Baur
    • 1
  • Nicholas D. Luden
    • 3
  • Christopher J. Womack
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physical EducationVirginia Military InstituteLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Exercise ScienceElon UniversityElonUSA
  3. 3.Department of KinesiologyJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA

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