The preference for sweetened foods may decline after exercise

Washington, DC Professional sports are more popular than ever and involve both males and females. "March Madness," track and field, and golf all offer equal excitement for athletes of both genders. The opportunities for sports excellence have never been better. At the same time, the professional athlete's body has never worked harder and the need for post-exercise nutrition has never been greater.


Scientists are aware that there is a decrease in glycogen content in the liver and skeletal muscles following exercise. Prolonged exercise can lead to a decline in blood glucose concentration. Thus it is important to ingest carbohydrates after exercise in order to replenish and restore glycogen.

Fluid replacement is also crucial to avoid severe dehydration, and factors such as taste and flavor have been shown to be keys for successful rehydration. (It has been shown that athletes consumed greater amount of fluids that they prefer than fluids that they dislike.) It is known that tastes, which stimulate voluntary fluid intake during and/or after exercise, include saltiness and sweetness.

Fluids designed for physical exercise situations contain carbohydrates to supply energy. But after exercise, athletes have demonstrated a preference for salt, as well as a temporary increase in the perception of sweetness. Anecdotally, athletes occasionally quote that sweetness of a beverage that they prefer before exercise is too strong during as well as after exercise. These comments seem to support the idea that animals, too, may become sensitive to sweetness or the taste of carbohydrates following exercise. If this notion is true, then it could be a starting point for developing foods and supplements that meet the post-exercise taste and nutritional needs of the competitive female and male athlete.

A New Study

To test the hypothesis, a team of Japanese researchers has attempted to determine responses to sweetened

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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