Every week in our clinic, our allied health team meets twice for in house education sessions. These are either single or combined discipline meetings, and are absolutely fantastic for us to help with our learning about our own and other disciplines. Recently, myself and Errol, one of our directors at the clinic had a meeting to discuss how we could make the nutrition in house education sessions more interesting to our physios and exercise physiologists. We thought that maybe we could undertake a mini research trial, with our staff as the participants.
Seven of the members of our allied health team were kind enough to participate.
So what did we do?
Research shows that rinsing your mouth with a carbohydrate containing solution can improve exercise performance.
Participants were split at random into two groups, group one to rinse their mouth with 25mL of drink 1 (carbohydrate containing) first, group 2 to do drink 2 (artificially sweetened) first, then switch. This would be completed in a fed or fasted state. Complete 3km run.
- Fed state resulted in better performance, regardless of carbohydrate mouth rinse or not
- CHO mouth rinse in fed state resulted in optimal performance
Unfortunately, there was a plethora of issues with our study. Below are some of the key confounding factors:
- Initially we hoped that everyone would be able to simply come to work early and do the runs on the treadmill, to control for being outdoors (heat/wind/hills). For some, this was difficult, especially if starting late. In the end, there was a combination of outdoors and indoors.
- For those on the treadmill, it was difficult at times to know if they should speed the treadmill up or not.
- The sample size was very small, as only four participants were able to finish.
- Evening meal prior was not standardized
- Participants had varying levels of training and fitness
The key thing we learnt as a group was just how much work goes in to standardizing and controlling for confounders in ‘real’ research conditions. Good quality study design is imperative, and in this instance, there were too many confounding factors to justify findings.
However, the key finding, of fed state with a carbohydrate mouth rinse does support what the research shows.
Overall it was an interesting experience for myself, and I think for everyone involved. It certainly resulted in some great discussion at our session on Monday!
Also… if you want to use a carbohydrate mouth rinse to assist with improving your training or event performance, I would definitely recommend it.
Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you'd like our help in managing diet-related health issues.