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Mixing a DIY Sports Drink: What sugar ratios to use?

Old 02-14-22, 05:44 PM
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tempocyclist
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Mixing a DIY Sports Drink: What sugar ratios to use?

I'm experimenting with mixing my own sports drinks to use on the bike for longer and/or harder rides. So far I’ve got my two sugar sources:

- Maltodextrin powder
- White sugar (which is 50% glucose and 50% fructose)

- I could also source fructose and dextrose if they would be better options, just a little more $$ than white sugar

What ratio should I try when mixing this?

I’ve been Googling homemade recipes and there's everything from 100% maltodextrin to a 2:1 mix to a 1:1 mix, plus MANY variations. There's a lot of info out there, but at the same time not much. I've been buying and using Infinit Nutrition "Speed" Mix for a while and get on with it well, that works out to around 60g of carbs per bottle (500-650ml) but I am unsure of exact carb ratios.

Another example, SiS recently changed their Beta Fuel carb ratio. "The key difference in the new Beta Fuel range is the change in the ratio of maltodextrin to fructose, previously being 2:1 and now moving to 1:0.8 ratio."

https://www.scienceinsport.com/sport...ind-beta-fuel/


Here's the ingredients list from my current powdered mix:




I've also got sodium citrate at 1-2g per bottle for electrolytes, then maybe add a nice flavouring depending on how I go with the plain taste.

Last edited by tempocyclist; 02-15-22 at 02:52 PM. Reason: Additional information added
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Old 02-14-22, 06:14 PM
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I think it depends on what (if anything) else you are consuming.

For brevets, I use 100% malto, but I'm only using it in-between real food feeds. I rely on real food to provide everything else, and malto to keep my power consistent between meals.

I guess diluting it with white sugar, which has a (much) lower GI, might cause less of an immediate blood sugar spike. I think it mixes in water better than white sugar though. I'm curious what your references say about rationale for mixing with sugar.
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Old 02-14-22, 07:02 PM
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Thanks. It's mostly for hard rides, where eating solid food is a little trickier with minimal stops. Or where I don't feel like eating but still need to fuel.


Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
I'm curious what your references say about rationale for mixing with sugar.

Most say to mix with fructose but I may use white sugar, because that's what I have here, it's 50% fructose so I was leaning towards it being okay instead.

I'm no nutritional expert, so some of the studies go way above my head. I've got these quotes from a couple of links I have saved:

"Studies show a combination of glucose and fructose not only increases how quickly carbs are absorbed but also the total amount that can be absorbed (up to 90g per hour). This is because the body absorbs glucose and fructose differently. So while your body is processing glucose it can also process fructose at the same time."

"A study by researchers from the University of Birmingham, England, showed that a multiple-sugar sports drink enhances performance in a race-like endurance effort more than a single-sugar sports drink."


🤓
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Old 02-14-22, 07:34 PM
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You have to experiment and see what your body will tolerate under load. I've never used fructose, though I understand the reasoning. I don't produce so much power on long rides that 250 kCal/hr is insufficient. I use a 7:1 mix by weight of malto and chocolate flavor whey protein, at about 750 kCal max per bottle, so about 3 hours/bottle for long rides. Have to pee that often and get water anyway. If one were at a 700+ kJ/hour rate for hour after hour, I think one would need to add fructose to get it into the bloodstream faster. I wouldn't use table sugar to get the fructose.
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Old 02-14-22, 10:16 PM
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This has inspired me to read more, and now I'm going to modify my brevet drink for my next ride. Instead of pure malto, I'm going to trying adding in some fructose power. Maybe 2:1 maltodextrin:fructose to start; we'll see how I like the sweetness. One bit plus for malto, to me is the lack of sweetness.

Seems like my concentration might be higher than ideal, although my g/hr have been in the ballpark of recommendations.

It's *only* a 300k, so it'll be fine.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21071509/
https://www.tuscany-diet.net/2013/12...durance-sports
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Old 02-15-22, 03:53 AM
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For brevets I normally have one bottle with 7:1 malto/on gold and another one with half-strength gatorade which allows me to adjust the ratio on the fly. If it's really hot I might carry a third bottle with plain water.
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Old 02-15-22, 02:54 PM
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I'll do some experimenting. Might try a bottle of 100% maltodextrin for a ride and see how that goes. Need to delve down the Google rabbit hole a little further I think.
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Old 02-15-22, 03:21 PM
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I'd think it'd be strictly your preference for taste. Though maltodextrin likely won't get to a sickeningly sweet taste and aftertaste, but you might need some of the other sugar tastes and mouth feel to make the maltodextrin palatable.

If you are going hard and long in the heat, and relying only on bottles, then be sure to include some electrolytes too. Sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium. Usually as chlorides. Too much quantity of them is not helpful though IMO, you'll also need to find your own amount needed. For me it changes with the heat as well as length and effort of the ride.

I'm only putting 120 to 180 Calories in my 25 fl oz (739 ml) bottles which are empty in 50 minutes. Sometimes I can tolerate up to 250 Calories in them.

Amateur competitors and Pro's I'd assume can tolerate much more.

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Old 02-15-22, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tempocyclist View Post
I'll do some experimenting. Might try a bottle of 100% maltodextrin for a ride and see how that goes. Need to delve down the Google rabbit hole a little further I think.
I found the straight malto to be, well, insipid. The small quantity of chocolate whey makes it palatable for all-day use for me. Plus I think one needs a small amount of protein on long rides to keep protein where it belongs- in our muscles. It makes no difference to performance today.
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Old 02-22-22, 12:42 AM
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Check some articles on oral rehydration solutions (ORS), a generally accepted recipe for emergency rehydration drinks in situations where IVs are unavailable or impractical.

For a few years I've mostly relied on DripDrop ORS for hot weather workouts here in Texas. DripDrop is blended to the usual ORS formula, but available in convenient water-resistant single serving Mylar packets, making it ideal for tucking into a small saddle bag, jersey pocket, etc., for use as needed on the road.

I usually carry at least two water bottles in warm/hot weather, one of which is premixed with DripDrop, and I carry spare packets. I've used them twice for folks who were experiencing heat exhaustion and dehydration, and they felt better within 15 minutes. In one case an experienced but out of shape cyclist had brought only plain water but felt unwell after about an hour in warm, humid June weather.

In the other case a tri-athlete in training had taken way too much sodium in the form of salt pills, an outdated technique that should have been abandoned decades ago. She was vomiting up all of the plain water her friends were offering. But she was able to hold down the DripDrop mixed with about 8 ounces of cold water.

Sugar is crucial to an effective ORS. Check the DripDrop website for details, although similar information is available elsewhere online.

Even when I'm not dehydrated I find sugar-free electrolyte/energy drinks cause my stomach to feel upset, burning and burpy. Adding just a little plain sugar helps. Occasionally I will try sugar-free drink mixes but I'll always add a little sugar, sometimes in the form of pre-sweetened creatine powdered drink mixes. Works for me. But I have no blood sugar problems, diabetes, etc. Folks who do should consider other options, or monitor their blood sugar while trying new drink mixes.

Regarding sugar as fuel, rather than as an adjunct to a rehydration mix, it depends on my workout level. Sometimes I'll do fasting workouts. Other times I'll eat normally before a moderate workout. But for high intensity intervals and hard extended workouts, yup, I'm chugging sweetened drinks, eating Clif gels, even gobbling donuts at convenience stores. My stomach will tell me quickly when I've had too much sugar too quickly, but it doesn't really take much, just a little at fairly regular intervals, maybe every 15 minutes, during a longer ride. Pretty much the same as most training plans suggest.
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Old 03-03-22, 11:53 AM
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The body can absorb 60-80g glucose(from dextrose, 0.5 sucrose(table sugar), maltodextrin etc) and 40-50g fructose(from fructose, 0.5 sucrose) in parallel pathways which is where the 1:0.8g ~100-140g total/hour comes from. Since fructose has to be processed by the liver to convert to glycogen it is a bit more limited and slower responding. I'd aim to max out the glucose first with a combination of maltodextrin+table sugar or powdered gatorade at the total carbs/hour you want, then consider added fructose by substituting some of the maltodextrin for more table sugar. There are some cyclists now doing straight table sugar at 140g/hr without gastric distress. Carry one bottle of plain water to rinse if the sweetness is too much for you.
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