Effect of Carbohydrate Intake on Maximal Power Output and Cognitive Performances

  • Pomportes Laura
  • Brisswalter Jeanick
  • Hays Arnaud
  • Davranche Karen

  • CHO
  • Maximal muscular performance
  • Information processing


The present study aimed to assess the beneficial effect of acute carbohydrate (7% CHO) intake on muscular and cognitive performances. Seventeen high levels athletes in explosive sports (fencing and squash) participated in a randomized, double-blind study consisting in series of 6 sprints (5s) with a passive recovery (25s) followed by 15 min submaximal cycling after either maltodextrine and fructose (CHO) or placebo (Pl) intake. Cognitive performances were assessed before and after sprint exercise using a simple reaction time (SRT) task at rest, a visual scanning task (VS) and a Go/Nogo task (GNG) during a submaximal cycling exercise. Results showed a beneficial effect of exercise on VS task on both conditions (Pl: −283 ms; CHO: −423 ms) and on SRT only during CHO condition (−26 ms). In the CHO condition, SRT was faster after exercise whereas no effect of exercise was observed in the Pl condition. According to a qualitative statistical method, a most likely and likely positive effect of CHO was respectively observed on peak power (+4%) and tiredness (−23%) when compared to Pl. Furthermore, a very likely positive effect of CHO was observed on SRT (−8%) and a likely positive effect on visual scanning (−6%) and Go/Nogo tasks (−4%) without any change in accuracy. In conclusion acute ingestion of 250 mL of CHO, 60 min and 30 min before exercise, improve peak power output, decrease muscular tiredness and speed up information processing and visual detection without changing accuracy.