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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

The influence of commercially-available carbohydrate and carbohydrate-protein supplements on endurance running performance in recreational athletes during a field trial

Adriana Coletta1, Dixie L Thompson2 and Hollie A Raynor1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee- Knoxville, 1215 W Cumberland Avenue, 229 Jessie Harris Building, Knoxville, TN, 37996-1920, USA

2 Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, & Sport Studies, The University of Tennessee- Knoxville, 1914 Andy Holt Avenue, 322 HPER Building, Knoxville, TN, 37996-2700, USA

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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:17  doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-17

Published: 28 March 2013



It is recommended that endurance athletes consume carbohydrate (CHO) supplements, providing 6-8% CHO concentration, during exercise > 60 minutes to improve athletic performance. Recently research has compared carbohydrate-protein (CHO-P) supplementation to the traditionally used CHO supplementation during endurance exercise, following these supplementation recommendations, in controlled settings, but not under simulated applied conditions such as a field trial. Therefore, the purpose of the present investigation was to test CHO and CHO-P supplementation under applied conditions such that commercially-available isocaloric (CHO-P & double-carbohydrate [CHO-CHO]) and isocarbohydrate (CHO-P & CHO) supplements were compared to a placebo (PLA), within an outdoor running field trial > 60 minutes in order to asses their influence on endurance performance.


Twelve male recreational runners completed four, 19.2 km runs, where they were instructed to run at a pace similar to race pace including a final sprint to the finish, which in this case was the final two laps of the course (1.92 km). Supplementation was provided before the start and in 4 km increments. Performance was measured by time to complete the 19.2 km run and last 1.92 km sprint.


Analyses found no difference between supplements in time to complete the 19.2 km run (PLA = 88.6 ± 11.6 min, CHO = 89.1 ± 11.3 min, CHO-P = 89.1 ± 11.8 min, CHO-CHO = 89.6 ± 11.9 min) or last 1.92 km sprint to the finish (PLA = 8.3 ± 1.2 min, CHO = 8.2 ± 1.2 min, CHO-P = 8.2 ± 1.2 min, CHO-CHO = 8.4 ± 1.5 min).


When following recommendation for supplementation within a field trial, commercially available CHO and CHO-P supplements do not appear to enhance performance in male recreational runners.

Field experiment; Endurance running; Sport drinks; Carbohydrate-protein