Carbohydrate uptake before physical exercise allows to maintain plasma glucose concentration. Though, foods or beverages containing the same carbohydrate concentration do not produce the same glycemic and insulin responses which are related to their glycemic index (GI). Last, most studies of CHO loading have been conducted with male subjects, with the assumption that the results also apply to female athletes. Sixteen volunteer amateur athletes, eight men and eight women (age 39.1 ± 7.8 y; VO2max 55,7 ± 11,7 ml/kg/min), were selected and then divided into four groups of four people each one. The trial was divided into several days, one for each group. A carbohydrate source or a placebo (energy 86,5 ± 6,7 kcal; CHO 20,0 g; fat 0,3 ± 0,3 g; protein 0,8 ± 0,8 g) was assigned randomly to each athlete in the group: these supplements differed in the ability to increase blood glucose (banana: high-GI; dried apricots: low-GI; energy gel: mixture of CHO with different blood release), while the placebo was composed of water, sodium cyclamate, sodium saccharin and acesulfame potassium. Three blood samples were taken from each athlete from finger, by glucometer: one before supplementation, one half an hour later – at the start of the run – and one at the end of the exercise. Physical activity consisted of 40 minutes run at medium-high intensity, corresponding to 82% of maximum heart rate or 70% of VO2max. In order to improve the analysis of the results obtained from the detection of biological samples, a questionnaire was submitted to all participants to know their lifestyle and anthropometric and physiological data. Results highlighted a different glycemic response between men and women, suggesting the consumption of low-GI food rather than high-GI before physical exercise in order to keep plasma glucose levels constant.
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