Doyle, J. A., Martin, D. E., Papadopoulos, C., Holmes, D., & Housel, T. (1997). Glycemic response to liquid, solid and gel forms of carbohydrate. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29(5), Supplement abstract 718.

The blood glucose and insulin responses to three meals containing equal amounts of carbohydrate (CHO) in liquid, solid, and gel forms were evaluated.

Ss (Males, N = 20) fasted overnight then consumed in random order 40 gm of CHO in the form of rice (solid), a maltodextrin beverage (liquid), and a maltodextrin gel. Blood samples were drawn before the meal and at 15 min intervals for 90 min after the meals.

The average glucose and insulin responses of the liquid and gel were similar. The solid meal took longer to take effect, particularly in the first 30 min. The total glycemic and insulin responses of the three forms were of a similar magnitude although the pattern/timing of responsiveness differed, particularly between the solid meal and the liquid and gel form.

Implication. When ingesting CHO prior to an event, the form of the CHO does not matter as long as there is adequate time for solid food to be assimilated. However, when time is short, the fastest to the slowest responsiveness is liquid, gel, and then solid. A conservative approach would be to always prefer the liquid form of CHO since it also offers some fluid replacement.

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