Independent Research: Simply drinking low calorie sports drink instead of a normal carbohydrate sports drink, 22 participants burned on average 41% more fat during exercise.
The study was designed to show the effect of an electrolyte only sports drink compared with a commercially available carbohydrate supplement on the rate of fat oxidation during moderate intensity exercise. The double-blind, crossover study involved 22 recreational active participants exercising on a stationary bike at a moderate-intensity for 60min while consuming 1 liter of either a carbohydrate rich or electrolyte based sport drinks. The electrolyte based sports drink was HIGH5 ZERO. Drink (in a dose of 250 ml) was given at the start (0 min) and at 15, 30 and 45min of exercise. Rate of fat and carbohydrate oxidation were estimated from expired air samples (Douglas bag technique) applying the principles of indirect calorimetry.
The study was conducted after an overnight fast, with exercise conducted early morning. The average increase in the total amount of fat oxidised (burned) during the exercise bout was 41.4 ± 10.4% (mean ± standard error) when compared to a leading commercially available 6.6% carbohydrate sports drink. This finding is not unexpected and in line with previous research showing an increase in the rate of fat oxidation when water is consumed instead of a carbohydrate based supplement. However, supplementing with electrolytes, rather than water, during exercise is important to promote rehydration and replace the electrolytes lost through sweat.
Thus, results of this study further provide sound rational for suggesting that switching from supplementing with carbohydrate, to supplementing with an electrolyte replacement beverage will increase the rate of fat oxidation during exercise. These findings are important for those wanting to promote fat loss during exercise and those wishing to delay depletion of endogenous carbohydrate. ZERO is a drink intended for training and not endurance racing where a high carbohydrate intake is required. Read our Nutrition Guides for more information on race day strategies. ZERO is a zero calorie electrolyte sports drink, which can be used as part of a weight management program involving regular exercise and a balanced diet with restricted calorie intake. It is not intended as a weight loss product.
This peer-reviewed study was conducted by Dr Carrie Ferguson (Division of Integrative and Systems Biology, Faculty of Biomedical and life Sciences, Glasgow University).