I am currently watching a TV show called "The Truth About Food", in which they basically do a bunch of experiments and prove/disprove diet-related beliefs.
Now, the one I'm watching at the moment proved that tasting carbohydrates is more helpful for endurance than actually ingesting them.
One group in the experiment swirled water and sugarcane juice around in their mouths at various intervals, while the other group drank water mixed with a tasteless carbohydrate added. Although the second group were in front to start with, the first group caught up with and then overtook the second.
The show explains that there are taste-bud-like receptors on our tongues that detect sweet carbohydrates, which then triggers our body to use energy stores.
Now, taking this finding into mind, I could understand that tasting carbohydrates could give you an advantage over someone who was...say, just drinking water. But really I just don't..get it.
I guess though, this does explain why fruit is the most optimal food for energy. Fruit tastes sweet, and so is instantly recognised by these taste receptors, causing lots of good changes in the body that increase our energy. However something similarly carby, but not as sweet, such as rice or pasta, doesn't have the same effect.
Interesting! Sweet foods may be more important for energy than high-carbohydrate foods.
Now they are proving that that caffeine does not improve mental performance, but rather corrects caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Also something I wasn't aware of! I thought we just "adapted" after removing caffeine from the diet (although I was never really a caffeine junkie to start with)
Remember too that some glucose is absorbed directly through the cells of the mouth.
So when you simply taste something with a simple sugar, you raise your blood sugar..
Could be the group with the "tasteless" carbohydrate had a different type of sugar in their water- aka not glucose, and so didn't absorb the sugar.
It was mentioned that they were "simple carbohydrates" and easily absorbed...but I was wondering about that too. Can you even make simple carbohydrates - which are sugars - tasteless?
Still, even when taking into account that some of the carbohydrates in the sugar water would be absorbed in the mouth, the overall intake would have been much higher in the group consuming the carbohydrates. At least I think so?
That's a great point actually. I've always felt more satisfied after eating bananas whole than blended in a smoothie, I always assumed it had something to do with the texture but its true they are a lot sweeter (or sweeter for longer) when eaten whole.
Also explains why people go for candy, soda, chocolate etc. when they need an energy boost - no one who is lacking energy thinks "I need some energy, I need a bowl of pasta!" even though white pasta is pretty easily absorbed.
The group that drank the carbs still did very well, so I think you're right, its a combination of both. I think it proves our body is able to react faster/better to sweet carbs though.
Well that is true, it was very interesting to watch though. I think the tasteless carbs group were told they were drinking just water but my memory is failing me a bit. I don't really know how much information was given to the groups...they must have found it a very weird experiment if they were kept completely in the dark though lol.