PURE Performance + Race Fuel Explained

PURE Performance + Race Fuel Explained

Using the latest research around an emerging power ingredient, we have developed PURE Performance + Race Fuel specifically for the endurance athlete.

This sports drink aims to deliver the high level of carbohydrates and electrolytes required to increase performance while minimising gastrointestinal distress. PURE Race Fuel has been tested by elite athletes with exciting results and reviews.


What is Cluster Dextrin™?

Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD), more commonly known as Cluster Dextrin™, is a type of carbohydrate that has gained popularity as a sports supplement and energy source. It has a highly branched and cyclic structure, which sets it apart from linear dextrin’s (i.e. maltodextrin) and traditional carbohydrate sources. By using Cluster Dextrin™ we are able to provide a very high carbohydrate drink that is not only palatable, but also reduces gastrointestinal distress while increasing sport performance1,2.


Cluster Dextrin™ and its Molecular Form

Cluster Dextrin™ has a unique molecular structure characterised by its highly branched and cyclic arrangement of glucose molecules. Due to the high molecular weight it has a relatively low osmolality, which means it will move through the stomach faster than a linear dextrin2,3 (see figure 1). The benefit of this is that it prevents upper gastrointestinal issues such as belching and reflux that is often a side effect of high carbohydrate intake2,3,4.

A further benefit of Cluster Dextrin™ is to reduce lower gastrointestinal disturbance, where study participants have reported reduced incidence of flatulence and bloating4 - another common issue with high carbohydrate intake during exercise. Both of these factors help with the theory of gut training, and increased tolerance of carbs during training and competition.

Figure 1: Proposed Mechanism of HBCD's Ergogenic Potential (image adapted from Wilburn et al., 2021)2


Does This Mean an Increase in Performance?

Yes, there is an increasing body of evidence to support that Cluster Dextrin™ is superior to a linear dextrin counterpart. The major contributing factor is the perception of fatigue, with studies reporting that Cluster Dextrin™ reduced rate of perceived exhaustion (RPE). Whether this is due to the reduced GI issues or the increased rate of glucose uptake into the blood stream, or both, is yet to be determined2.


Sodium Concentration

Like any sports drink, it is vital to replace any loss of electrolytes. Race Fuel is designed for longer durations, so we have included a higher sodium concentration to match. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Sodium is vital to support the uptake of glucose out of the intestinal tract (via the sodium-glucose co transporter). With a higher glucose sports drink, we feel that a high sodium concentration is vital to match this.
  2. Studies have shown that shown that we are seeing sodium loss of (on average) 1000mg sodium per hour. High sodium recommendations during exercise are becoming more prominent6, and this has been a consideration for PURE Race Fuel electrolyte composition. It is important to acknowledge that not everyone needs this higher sodium concentrations, but this would match the majority of the endurance population requirements.

We have used both a sodium chloride and sodium citrate for flavour and reduced GI issues, as well as other electrolytes that are lost in sweat.



It is well-documented that using multiple transportable carbohydrates (i.e. glucose:fructose) will enhance both absorption and oxidation7. We are yet to learn the optimal ratio of HBCD:fructose in sports performance but based on feedback from elite athletes during the development of PURE Race Fuel, we have reported lower rates of GI disturbance (but it is important to acknowledge that this is not a clinical trial).


How to Use

PURE Race Fuel is a high carb, high sodium drink to incorporate into your training and race strategy. It can be used as a sole source of fuel, however we have found it also beneficial to take with an Energy Gel at times of high intensity when quick energy is needed. It is unflavoured to minimise flavour fatigue, and the benefit of the race fuel (as outlined above) is to increase the carbohydrate able to be consumed through fluid compared to a traditional sports drink (2-3x the amount). This is also a fantastic option to support ‘carbohydrate gut training’ and maximise your capacity to fuel during competition.


Carbohydrate Intake Guidelines


As with any product, we suggest you trial this during training to determine your tolerance and how you can use it with other foods and/or supplements. If you have any questions about this product, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with the team at PURE Sport Nutrition

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  1. Chuychai J, Srihirun K, Chinapong S, Sanpasitt C, Khaosanit P, Nokkaew N. Fluid Containing Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin: An Alternative Ergogenic Aid to Enhance Endurance Exercise Performance in Long-Distance Runners. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online. 2022 Aug 1;25(4).
  2. Wilburn D, Machek S, Ismaeel A. Highly branched cyclic dextrin and its ergogenic effects in athletes: a brief review. Journal of Exercise and Nutrition. 2021 Aug 13;4(3).
  3. Takii H, Takii Y, Kometani T, Nishimura T, Nakae T, Kuriki T, Fushiki T. Fluids containing a highly branched cyclic dextrin influence the gastric emptying rate. International journal of sports medicine. 2004 Aug 26:314-9.
  4. Takii H, Kometani T, Nishimura T, Kuriki T, Fushiki T. A sports drink based on highly branched cyclic dextrin generates few gastrointestinal disorders in untrained men during bicycle exercise. Food science and technology research. 2007 Nov 25;10(4):428-31
  5. Barnes KA, Anderson ML, Stofan JR, Dalrymple KJ, Reimel AJ, Roberts TJ, Randell RK, Ungaro CT, Baker LB. Normative data for sweating rate, sweat sodium concentration, and sweat sodium loss in athletes: An update and analysis by sport. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2019 Oct 18;37(20):2356-66.
  6. Orrù S, Imperlini E, Nigro E, Alfieri A, Cevenini A, Polito R, Daniele A, Buono P, Mancini A. Role of functional beverages on sport performance and recovery. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 10;10(10):1470.
  7. Burke LM, Hawley JA, Wong SH, Jeukendrup AE. Carbohydrates for training and competition. Food, Nutrition and Sports Performance III. 2013 Aug 21:17-27