Potato ingestion is as effective as carbohydrate gels (if you don't mind increased GI bloating and pain...)

Study from the University of Illinois

I don’t have the full-text, but these are some highlights from the press release:

We found no differences between the performance of cyclists who got their carbohydrates by ingesting potatoes or gels at recommended amounts of about 60 grams per hour during the experiments

Yay potatoes! Except:

Those consuming potatoes experienced significantly more gastrointestinal bloating, pain and flatulence than the other groups, however. This may be a result of the larger volume of potatoes needed to match the glucose provided by the gels, Burd said.

And in today’s edition of Organizations I Didn’t Know Existed:

The Alliance for Potato Research & Education supported this study.




Well APRE better get working on that potato gel.

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Potatoes :yum::yum::yum:

My main carb source, here my stock for the week-end. Gotta feed the engine for the big base efforts:

Why potatoes? Satiety index.

However, for that very reason I would never ever consider it as “during-workout” food.

Have to fetch my breakfast, microwave is beeping: potatoes-egg-brokkoli-casserole


Very interesting. So “gastrointestinal bloating, pain and flatulence” don’t have any effect on performance then.

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Think of it like a jet engine…and you are lighting the afterburners :wink:


Just imagine the extra performance if you could eat three potatoes at a time without bloating and pain!

Stacy sims mentions using cooked salted new potatoes (the itty bitty bite size ones) on rides in lieu of fancier foods in her book Roar. Didn’t say anything about dealing with bloating. Never tried it but it is food for thought.

I tried that several times. I want something sweet for on the go. Sweet potatoes were a better option for me. However, the main drawback for me is the carb density of potatos. You have to carry a lot for a decent amount. I’d rather stick to my polenta-honey cakes (similar to rice cakes).

Uhhhhh :drooling_face: yeah can I get that recipe?

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Wow, yum. Thanks.


To summarize, this study found that taking a baked potato puree (60g CHO/hr) yielded the same performance benefits of taking 60g/hr of gels.

Some highlights:

To our knowledge, our investigation is the first to provide such a comparison of a whole-food CHO source (i.e., russet potato) to a commercially available sport food such as concentrated CHO gel in a performance-specific setting. We have demonstrated that potato ingestion during exercise exhibits similar performance improvements over water compared with the ingestion of gels during prolonged cycling in trained athletes.

So performance is the same, what about GI issues?

The overall GI symptoms were higher for potatoes than for the other conditions after the cycling challenge (120 min). Specifically, there were higher levels of abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort during the late phases of the cycling challenge.

Ok, so that’s not ideal. What do they have to say about that?

Future studies that investigate potato processing (e.g., baked, puréed, freeze-dried, etc.) for GI acceptance (i.e., reduced GI symptoms and intestinal permeability) would certainly optimize evidence-based performance nutrition for endurance athletes.

Anyways, while I like the idea of “whole foods” while working out or exercising, it seems like an unnecessary step and probably a bit more hassle for the same gains, assuming no GI issues. Maybe it’s an idea best served for the run portion of an Ironman when most people can’t think about ingesting another gel???

I’ll leave you all then with this since I find the image kind of funny:

Indeed, carrying and ingesting ~1 kg of potato purée would be somewhat burdensome on an athlete

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How about savory mashed potatoes in a squeeze flask as a pallet cleanser. Not so much as to cause bloat, but to give the mouth a brake.

Savory polenta would work too so long as the corn meal wasn’t corse ground and there was enough liquid in it to squeeze

Very happy that someone decided to comment on this thread 4 years after the latest activity. This information has made my day.


Is flatulence propulsion a form of doping? Impairment of riders behind you? We might need to update some rules.


Was looking for a thread on potatoes after a HORRIBLY fueled 165 mile ride yesterday. (too much sweet and no will to just slam it down) This came up so…

Your welcome :hugs:

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Wait so you guys don’t fuel long rides like this?

I honestly think this would work but I don’t want to try it :rofl:


No, I think the savory polenta bites idea is better.

I’ve also been a fan of the Feedzone Portables mushroom & swiss fritata with a mod of making them in a mini muffin tin, hence bite sized.

Someone else mentioned mashed potatoes in a gel flask, but since this is for a 200 mile gravel race, I’m inclined to avoid bloating.

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Might want to ask about this 900g carb ride…

Yeah I might have had around 250g of carbs for the entire 12 hours. picked up a sour stomach somewhere along the ride and paid the price. many mistakes were made…