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.
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