Potatoes: the future of energy gels?
If you use energy gels during a race, you may be aware of some of their disadvantages:
- Gels are expensive if you use them in your workouts daily.
- Not everyone fits well on the stomach, which is especially problematic in longer races like Spartan Ultra Beast or HH12 and HH24.
- I often see gel packs along the track after a race 😞 Seriously, what are you throwing them at?
- They may not be good for long-term use. This applies more to top athletes.
There are also those of us here, including me, who try to eat the most natural food possible, and this also applies to gels. For my pleasure, the scientific community is also moving in this direction, which is beginning to take into account the health of athletes, not just performance. And this is where several studies on the use of potatoes for energy during endurance sports have emerged.
First of all, let’s take a look at how potatoes and energy gels compare to water. In a cycling time trial, carbohydrate supplementation contributed to increased performance. (lower time means better)
Water: 32.5 – 47.4 minutes
Gel: 28.8 – 37.2 minutes
Potatoe puree: 28.5 – 37.5 minutes
As you can see, both potatoes and gels have a great effect on performance compared to pure water.
The problem in the previous studies was that potatoes caused more indigestion compared to gels. But here is the root of the problem. Athletes in the study were used to gels but not mashed potatoes. We know that the stomach can be trained and therefore it is possible that with longer use, digestive problems would subside. I’ve been using use boiled potatoes for some time, before and during training and I have no difficulty digesting them.
In the study, they used white baked potatoes with water in a ratio of approx. 1: 1 and with the addition of 2.4 g of salt. The puree was then frozen at -20 ° C and ground to a powder. You probably won’t do it at home this way, but you can easily make a potato puree.
You can also add seasonings, there are no limits to your imagination. If you try such a gel, let me know.