Carbohydrates and fats are the primary fuels metabolized during endurance exercise. However, during prolonged exercise, protein can contribute 5-10% of total energy demands [1, 2] and this contribution can increase under conditions of low carbohydrate stores [3, 4]. Protein's contribution to total energy production during exercise is less than carbohydrates and fat, but don't rule out the impact protein can have during endurance training and performance.
The type of fuel that is used by the muscles for energy during endurance exercise is dependent on numerous factors such as exercise intensity, diet composition, duration, and training. For example, during low to moderate (<65% VO2 max) intensity, the muscles rely primarily on fat for energy . As exercise intensity increases, there is a shift to an increased reliance on carbohydrates . The use of protein by exercising muscle also increases as exercise intensity increases.
Macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein and fat) consumption throughout the day and during exercise has an impact on exercise performance. Every athlete wants to perform at his/her best. To do this, delaying the onset of fatigue during exercise is a must. Known causes of fatigue during endurance exercise are low carbohydrate stores and/or low blood sugar. Therefore, during prolonged endurance exercise (> 60 minutes), carbohydrate intake is necessary. A sports drink containing carbohydrates and electrolytes is recommended. The general guidelines for moderate intensity exercise are to consume a 6-8% carbohydrate containing sports drink at a rate of 30-60 grams of carbohydrates for every hour of exercise . This would equal about 4-6 fl oz of a sports drink every 15-20 minutes. Depending on environmental temperature, body size, duration, and exercise level some athletes may need to consume additional carbohydrates or fluid . Accelerade not only contains the recommended 6% carbohydrates and electrolytes but it also contains just the right amount of protein. The protein found in Accelerade contains the minimum amount so as to not interfere with digestion during exercise while providing an array of functional benefits. In addition to increasing endurance and minimizing the onset of fatigue, the added protein in Accelerade, when consumed during exercise, facilitates rehydration, minimizes the breakdown of muscle that occurs during endurance exercise, and speeds up the recovery process. All of which are beneficial to those looking to achieve their fitness and performance goals.
During exercise, an athlete's body needs fluids. Period. That's why replenishing fluids during exercise is crucial - especially in the heat. When the body loses fluids through sweating, body temperature elevates and exercise performance drops. This isn't a good thing. The most important function of a sports drink is to rehydrate. But a drained body also needs to restore energy and electrolytes. That's why so many athletes choose carbohydrate and electrolyte-rich sports drinks instead of water.
Sodium is the primary electrolyte lost in sweat followed by potassium. That's why both are included in sports drinks. These electrolytes can serve to enhance flavor and encourage athletes to drink more. They also promote fluid retention. The addition of carbohydrates can delay fatigue during prolonged exercise and improve performance. But, carbohydrates and electrolytes aren't the only thing an athlete's body needs. Along comes Accelerade - the first sports drink to contain carbohydrates and protein in a patented 4:1 ratio.
A ratio? Yes, a ratio
The inclusion of just the right amount of protein in Accelerade facilitates rehydration by optimizing the absorption of fluid. In 2006, researchers at St. Cloud University demonstrated that consuming Accelerade following cycling exercise significantly enhanced rehydration by 15% compared to a conventional sports drink and 40% compared to water.
How does this happen? Accelerade contains two macronutrients (protein and carbohydrates) and each macronutrient uses a separate transport system or 'door' to enter into the body's circulation from the intestine. As carbohydrates and protein enter, they bring sodium and water with them. So with the added protein, more entrance ways are available for sodium and water to enter into circulation; thus increasing rehydration.
Taking endurance farther
Accelerade has been shown to help athletes increase their endurance. In a landmark study, researchers at James Madison University demonstrated in cyclists that Accelerade, compared to a conventional sports drink, increased endurance by 29%, decreased muscle damage by 83% and even increased endurance in a subsequent workout performed almost 24 hours later by 40%. In another study, researchers showed Accelerade actually increased rehydration by 29% compared to a conventional sports drink.
The reason being is Accelerade, with its combination of three rapid-acting carbohydrates plus protein, activates multiple sodium transport systems. The net result is improved rehydration. Recently, much attention has been devoted to the role the brain plays in fatigue. It is now well accepted that during exercise fatigue signals emanating in the brain can reduce endurance. The high levels of branched-chain amino acids in Accelerade can inhibit the release of brain fatigue signals. In fact, research has shown that athletes consuming Accelerade had a lower level of perceived exertion and, at the same level of exercise intensity, did not experience as much strain. In other words, athletes were able to work harder, easier.
How it Works (4:1)
Are Two Proteins Better Than One?
In 1997, six of the country's top exercise physiologists convened with the goal of developing the next generation of sports drinks. Out of this symposium came Accelerade - the first sports drink to contain carbohydrates in combination with protein in a patented 4:1 ratio. That's a ratio that research has shown is ideal. Because while protein is key, the amount of protein is what's important. Too much, and it can't be processed by the body. Too little, and it won't work like it needs to. Simply, the science behind the ratio is what takes you beyond rehydration straight to peak performance.
In the last decade sports scientists have made great strides in understanding how muscles work during exercise, how muscles recover, and the primary causes of fatigue. A result of this research has been the development of nutritional formulas that are far more effective in improving muscle performance. Protein is an excellent example. At one time carbohydrate was considered the only macronutrient essential for improving exercise performance. Research conducted at leading universities in the ‘90s clearly demonstrated that protein could improve endurance, reduce muscle damage, and even enhance rehydration.
Most of this research was conducted with whey protein. Whey protein has many advantages for use during aerobic exercise. It is rapidly absorbed, fast-acting, and contains a high percentage of the specific amino acids known to improve exercise performance. However, as we learn more about the metabolic processes that affect endurance and recovery we now understand that it is possible to get an enhanced effect using a combination of proteins.
Each protein has a unique amino acid profile. In other words, each protein is rich in certain amino acids and deficient in others. The key amino acids involved in sports performance include branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), leucine, isoleucine, valine, arginine and glutamine. Neither whey protein nor soy protein is equally rich in all of these amino acids, but the amino acid profiles of the two proteins is complementary, so that when they are combined they create a better sports protein. BCAAs can be readily utilized as an energy source during exercise. During extended exercise, almost 20% of a muscle’s energy comes from protein, primarily BCAAs. When a sports drink containing protein is consumed during exercise, the muscles use this protein instead of breaking down muscle protein for energy. This is one reason why a protein-enhanced sports drink reduces muscle damage and speeds muscle recovery.
Of the BCAAs, leucine plays a critical role in turning on both protein and glycogen synthesis, which is why it is such a key player in the recovery process. Recent research shows that valine prevents the release of fatigue signals from the brain, which play a much bigger role in the onset of fatigue than was previously known. Two other amino acids, arginine and glutamine, have roles in improving muscle performance. Argnine serves as a precursor to the formation of a compound that increases nutrient and oxygen delivery to muscle cells and glutamine is the primary amino acid found in muscles. During intense exercise, muscle glutamine levels are depleted.
The ideal protein would have high levels of all of these key amino acids. As a single protein, whey comes closest to filling the bill. However, by combining proteins we can raise the levels of these key amino acids in a subtle but important way. For example, soy protein has higher levels of arginine, valine and glutamine than whey protein. Thus the addition of soy protein to a predominantly whey formulation enhances the overall effectiveness of the protein component by increasing nutrient delivery to muscle cells, preventing glutamine depletion, and inhibiting the release of brain fatigue signals.
When it comes to protein in sports energy and recovery product, two are definitely better than one.
Endurox Questions & Answers
How is Accelerade different from other sports drinks?
Accelerade is the first and only protein-enhanced sports drink containing carbohydrate and protein in a patented 4:1 ratio. Accelerade has been shown to deliver greater performance benefits to athletes than conventional sports drinks, which contain no protein.
What are the benefits of having protein in a sports drink?
Accelerade, with its 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate and protein, has been shown to extend endurance, speed muscle recovery, enhance rehydration and reduce muscle damage compared to conventional sports.
The 4:1 ratio is different for an 8-oz. serving vs. the 20-oz. bottle. Why?
Per 8 fl. oz., the label states 15 grams carbohydrate and 4 grams protein. Per 20 fl. oz., there are 36 grams carbohydrate and 9 grams protein. DPSG follows prescribed rounding rules set forth by the FDA technical regulations regarding nutrition labeling. The unrounded, raw data still supports a 4:1 ratio.
Why doesn't every sports drink contain protein?
The developers of Accelerade conducted clinical research on the patented 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate and protein and have identified certain functional benefits. A few other products contain protein in much smaller or larger amounts than Accelerade's exclusive 4:1 carbohydrate-protein ratio.
Isn't protein just for building muscles?
Although protein has been shown to play a critical role in building muscles, it also plays an important role in improving aerobic performance. When compared to a carbohydrate-only sports drink, carbohydrate-protein Accelerade has been shown to:
- Improve rehydration
- Extend endurance
- Reduce muscle damage
- Speed muscle recovery
How does the 4:1 ratio work?
Researchers are still exploring the mechanisms behind the benefits of Accelerade's 4:1 carbohydrate-protein ratio. However, the boost in endurance that Accelerade has been shown to provide in several studies may be caused by utilizing protein as an energy source during exercise which may minimize the breakdown of glycogen. It has also been shown that protein improves rehydration by enhancing fluid retention compared to carbohydrate-only sports drinks. Minimizing dehydration during exercise will enhance performance. Finally, the substantial reduction in muscle damage that Accelerade provides may come from a reduction in cortisol, a hormone that breaks down muscle proteins during exercise. Improvements in recovery appear to be a direct result of reduced muscle damage.
How is the carbohydrate percentage calculated?
Carbohydrate percentage can be calculated by knowing the total carbohydrate content (identified on the "Nutrition Facts" panel of the label) and the serving size in milliliters (also listed on the label). Accelerade contains 15 grams of carbohydrate in every 240-ml (8-oz.) serving. So, 15/240 x 100 = 6.2% carbohydrate (we round down to 6%).
Is this the same as the Percent Daily Value?
This should not be confused with the Percent Daily Value that is listed in the Nutrition Facts box, that value, 5% and 12% respectively for an 8 fl. oz. and a 20 fl. oz. serving, represents that percentage of a Reference Daily Intake value for carbohydrate established by government and scientific bodies. The RDI for carbohydrates is 300 g/day based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
How many calories does Accelerade contain?
Accelerade has 80 calories per 8-oz. serving. By comparison, Gatorade has 50 calories per 8-oz. serving and PowerAde has 70. Accelerade has a higher caloric content due to its protein content. The protein in Accelerade should not be viewed as a negative as it contributes to benefits including better exercise performance and faster recovery.
Why are the calories per bottle listed as 180?
The 80 calories per 8-oz. serving multiplied by 2.5 Servings Per Container should equal 200 calories. The apparent discrepancy around total calories for 1 bottle of Accelerade versus 80 calories for 8 oz. has to do with simple rounding of values. Dr Pepper Snapple Group complies with FDA-mandated rounding rules in regards to nutrition facts labeling. The range guidelines for rounding increase as the numeric value of the nutrient increases. Therefore, when following these guidelines, slight mathematical differences are noted on the label.
How should I use Accelerade?
Accelerade should be used to rehydrate the body during exercise and also whenever additional energy is needed. The optimal amount of Accelerade to drink during activity depends on the type and intensity of activity, air temperature, and your body size and fitness level.
- Before exercise: consume approximately 12-20 oz. of fluid 2 hours prior to exercise and 7-10 oz. of fluid 15-20 min prior to exercise.
- During exercise: as a general rule you should consume approximately 20-32 oz. of fluid for every hour of exercise. This should consist of ingesting several ounces of Accelerade every 10 to 15 minutes throughout activity. However, there is large variability between individuals as to their tolerance for fluid intake. Further, during many athletic events the frequency and volume of fluids available may be limited. Individuals are encouraged to drink as much as can be tolerated within the recommendation above without inducing gastrointestinal distress
- Following exercise: consume approximately 20-24 oz. of fluid per pound of weight loss after exercise
As with any sports nutrition product, you should incorporate it into your daily training to determine what works best and not experiment with a new routine on race day.
Can I drink Accelerade after exercise for recovery?
While Accelerade is formulated especially for use before and during exercise, it is also an excellent source of recovery nutrition. Following a workout, the body needs water and sodium for rehydration, carbohydrate to replenish muscle fuel stores, and protein to repair muscle damage. Accelerade contains all of these important recovery nutrients.
What type of protein does Accelerade contain?
Accelerade contains all-natural whey protein.
What is whey protein isolate and why is it in the product?
Whey protein is a high-quality protein derived from cow's milk and is considered the "gold-standard" protein for athletes. Whey protein isolates are the most pure and concentrated form of whey protein. Whey protein contains high amounts of all of the essential amino acids, especially branched-chain amino acids (i.e., leucine, isoleucine and valine) which are uniquely metabolized by skeletal muscle during exercise.
Is this a high level of protein?
Accelerade is not considered a "high" or "rich" source of protein. From a nutritional perspective, the 8 fl. oz. serving has 4g or about 8% of the Daily Values (DV)* for protein. On a full bottle basis, it would be about 9g or 18% of the DV. On a per weight basis, Accelerade contains ~1.5% protein per 8 oz. This is a low concentration and should not affect digestion during exercise.
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The Daily Reference Value for protein is 50 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet.
Does Accelerade contain any banned substances for use by NCAA College or Olympic level athletes?
No. Accelerade is included in one of the four permissible categories set forth in the NCAA by-law 220.127.116.11 as Accelerade contains less than 30 percent of its calories from protein. Accelerade sports drink does NOT contain any banned substance or agent on the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) List of Prohibited Substances.
I'm lactose intolerant. Will I have problems with Accelerade?
The whey protein in Accelerade comes from milk. The maximum lactose content in Accelerade is less than 1%, which may not be of concern to the vast majority of individuals who are lactose intolerant. If you have concerns related to lactose intolerance, they recommend consulting your physician.
I am allergic to milk or milk proteins. Should I consume Accelerade?
If you have concerns related to a milk allergy, they strongly recommend consulting your physician prior to using this product.
Does Accelerade contain corn-derived ingredients?
Why does Accelerade contain sugar?
Accelerade contains 15 grams of carbohydrate per 8 oz. serving, primarily in the form of simple sugars. While most of us try to limit our sugar intake in regular meals and snacks, simple sugars and other fast-acting carbohydrates are beneficial during exercise because they provide a source of quick energy. A 6-8% carbohydrate concentration is widely accepted to be the ideal in a sports drink. The carbohydrate concentration of Accelerade is 6.0%.
What types of sugar does Accelerade contain?
Unlike other sports drinks Accelerade does not contain high fructose corn syrup. The sugars found in Accelerade include sucrose, glucose, fructose and trehalose.
What is Trehalose and why is it in the product?
Trehalose occurs widely in nature and has been found to occur naturally in several foods. Trehalose is consumed as part of a normal diet in mushrooms, honey, and foods produced using baker's and brewer's yeast. Trehalose is a disaccharide, or two simple sugars that are linked together. The metabolism of Trehalose is identical to that of other disaccharides commonly consumed as part of the human diet. Trehalose is added to their product as part of the source of carbohydrate.
Is Accelerade gluten-free?
Yes, Accelerade is free of wheat, oats, rye and barley.
Is Accelerade safe for children?
The nutritional ingredients in Accelerade have been shown to be perfectly safe for use by children.
Is Accelerade ready-to-drink kosher?
Yes. Accelerade is Kosher-dairy certified. The symbol is located on the back of the bottle, adjacent to the Universal Product Code or bar code.
Has Accelerade been scientifically tested?
Yes. More than 17 studies have been conducted in athletes in sports such as running, cycling, triathlon, skiing and swimming. These studies show that Accelerade and similarly formulated powder/gel products extends endurance, speeds muscle recovery, enhances rehydration and reduces muscle damage compared to a conventional, carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink or water.
PacificHealth Laboratories, founded in 1996 by two prominent scientists, started with a singular purpose – to help athletes achieve their personal goals. They never lost sight of that mission. Collaborating with some of the world’s top nutritionists, biochemists and sports scientists, their research and products have reshaped sports nutrition. Their discoveries help muscles work stronger, faster and longer and are an integral part of the daily training and race regimens of athletes at all levels. However, they are most proud of the simple fact that their products “power your passion”.