Gastrointestinal problems as a function of carbohydrate supplements and mode of exercise

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The aim of the study was to examine prevalence and duration/seriousness of gastrointestinal (GI) problems as a function of carbohydrate-rich (CHO) supplements and mode of exercise. The relationship between GI problems and a variety of physiological and personal factors (age, exercise experience) was also examined. Thirty-two male triathletes performed three experimental trials at 1-wk intervals, each trial on a different supplement: a conventional, semisolid supplement (S; 1.2 g CHO, 0.1 g protein, and 0.02 g fat·kg BW-1·h-1); an almost isocaloric fluid supplement (F; 1.3 g CHO · kg BW-1·h-1, no fat, no protein); and a fluid placebo (P). The 3 h of exercise started at 75% O2max and consisted of alternately cycling (bouts 1 and 3) and running (bouts 2 and 4). GI symptoms were monitored by a questionnaire. Analysis of variance revealed that nausea lasted longer with P as compared with S (P < 0.05). Bloating lasted longer during bout 3 with P as compared with F and S (P < 0.05). Accounting for confounding factors, most GI symptoms occurred more frequently and lasted longer during running than during cycling. Multiple regression analysis revealed significant relationships between nausea and urge to defecate, between an urge to defecate, GI cramps and flatulence, and between belching and side ache. From all other factors energy depletion, CHO malabsorption, exercise intensity, exercise experience, and age were significantly related to GI symptoms during the exercise.

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