When asked about the essentials needed in the diet, fruit is definitely one to come up frequently alongside a few others but it’s mostly thought of as just getting 1 of your 5 a day or that pre-workout snack, but it can be so much more!
Looking at what fructose can do in direct relation to performance can be simple but often over-looked.
The name for stored carbohydrate in the liver. This store of energy has a direct relationship with being able to maintain blood glucose levels during exercise, and if its low you’re going to quickly find it hard to maintain your exercise output.
You may not have known but when you carbohydrate load, saturating your muscle with loads of carbohydrate the day before a or THE big ride, you wake up with a liver empty of glycogen as that fuel is used to maintain blood sugar levels while asleep.
What role does fruit play in this?
Well fruit is first and foremost broken down in the liver with a large proportion of that energy being stored there.
What does this mean for me?
Knowing that, you can make that pre-ride/race breakfast improve your performance even more than before. Combining a steady, slow releasing carbohydrate like porridge or brown bead with fruit like banana and honey can help increase
How else can fruit help?
You may have seen quite a lot of energy drinks or gels being a 2;1 ratio of Glucose:Fructose. Fructose being the sugar found in fruit (never would have guessed that) uses a different means of entering through the intestine wall than glucose.
This means that you can increase the amount of carbohydrate you take per hour, and help reduce the potential risk of stomach discomfort!
How much should I have?
For breakfast – Looking solely at performance and not accounting for goals like body composition then having 100-150g of carbohydrate made of a mixture of fruit and low/medium glycaemic index foods 2-4 hours before the ride should be perfect!
If you’re already out riding – Having fruit in your pocket, honey in your water or some fruit juice are all sources of fructose and can be had in amounts of up to 30g an hour while on the bike. Great ideas of ways to save money on gels and still help your performance.