Superstarch nutrition?


#1

Has anyone had any experience with any of the superstarch products? I have used Generation UCAN a bit and it seems to work fine as nutrition but I can’t really tell if it is superior in any way to the usual sugar based products.

I’d been keen to hear any other feedback.


#2

It’s main claim is that by being slow to digest and absorb you’ll have a negligible insulin response to taking it. This may be particularly important to low carb athletes. I looked into it a year or 2 ago and decided it’s just way too expensive. You can get half the way there with a waxy-maize cornstarch that costs a fraction. In fact, I’d say start there and only if you see a benefit with raw corn starch should you step up and experiment with ucan.


#3

Could you explain to an European what’s about superstarch? Your are not talking about a bottle with very high carbs as kind of carb concentrate. Do you?


#4

It gives me gas and found it didn’t help on any intensity over threshold for longer than 20’. Despite the flatuence, it worked ok for long steady state riding at about 75% intensity. Is it better than maltodextrin? Not sure. Does it not spike blood sugar as it claims? Also not sure. Is it pricey? You bet :slight_smile:


#5

It’s a high-complexity carbohydrate. The structure is such that it takes a very long time for the digestive track to break it down. For most normal carbohydrates have a regular structure that our digestive enzymes that can break into small pieces by attaching to many different locations on the molecule. With UCAN there aren’t many suitable binding spots on each (large) molecule of starch for them to attack, so it can only be broken slowly from the “ends”.

As an analogy, I’d say UCAN is like burning a candle: slow and steady. Glucose/dextrin, and “complex” carbs like wheat are more like chopping the candle in a blender before setting it on fire: a hot, fast burn.

My understanding is this product was initially created as a medical treatment for glycogen storage disease. Patients with this disease have trouble either releasing or storing glycogen in their livers, so they have very unstable blood sugar levels. Frequent small meals are required, but overnight it would not be so fun to wake up every hour or 2 for a quick feeding. A superstarch lets them consume a bunch before bed without spiking their blood sugar or having to wake up repeatedly to eat because they can eat a lot at once, but the it’s only slowly digested over the next several hours.


#6

Thanks. I found a supplier for health and medical products. There these starch products are described as something like you described above. I wonder if there is such a great difference to potato starch or if it’s just very good marketing in the cycling world. :man_shrugging:t3:


#7

I follow a low carb high fat diet and I use Ucan superstarch to fuel rides. I feel like I can tell a big difference between taking it and not taking it. I also have zero crash when I use it. I use it for my 2-3 hour group rides, my outdoor solo rides, and for races. It may seem expensive to some, but when you realize that you aren’t going to take in any other fuel, you realize that you aren’t spending any money on bars or gels or anything else. The Ucan brand also includes electrolytes, so I will literally ride a 3 hour race with 3 scoops of superstarch a few minutes before the start, and ride the whole thing on just water.


#8

I have used it a lot in the past and found it works well. I have done three Ironman with this stuff and it worked well for me. However you need to experiment how much powder you need per hour. I now only race shorter crits and don’t take any food for these 60 minute efforts. I like the bars now and use them during the day when I am hungry. They are great to stave of cravings if you are trying to loose some weight.


#9

I’ve had a similar experience to @tribuddha using UCan Superstarch, including the gas/indigestion issue. UCan is great for steady state, low intensity riding, but I wouldn’t rely on it for high intensity training or races.

If I am going on a 4-5 hour zone 2 ride, I would consider Superstarch as my primary fuel source. Have also used it for sweetspot intervals in the past without issue. For anything above 95% FTP, I would fuel with simple carbs such as gels or clif bloks.