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Nutrition in E-sports: Playing the long game with functional carbohydrates 

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To lots of us, healthy living within the twenty first century is now strongly related to an lively lifestyle. This has given rise to the ‘sportification’ trend, increasing demand amongst mainstream consumers for sports nutrition products that meet their dietary needs for being lively. Other than a widening audience contributing to the boom of the sports nutrition market, the rise of e-sports has also had a big role to play within the sector’s growth. 

E-sports: The brand new kid on the block 

Leaderboard of Asia Food Journal

COVID-19 has accelerated the recognition of e-sports with a notable increase in gamer numbers attributable to the pandemic. Asia, particularly, is the world’s largest and most vital region for e-sports, accounting for greater than half of the USD 1.1 billion global e-sports market and an audience that grew by 13 percent in 2021.  

As interest in e-sports continues to trend upward, this represents a chance for sports nutrition. As with other more traditional sports, performance and endurance are key for e-sports athletes, which opens up a complete recent audience for sports nutrition product manufacturers. 

Given the recognition of e-sports and its incredibly high stakes, with prize money going up into the thousands and thousands and a captivated global audience, e-athletes are sometimes under enormous pressure to perform at their best, and plenty of are searching for products that can help them excel. This target market has diverse mental and physical needs, starting from heightened concentration to enhanced response time and alleviating body pain and fatigue attributable to being in front of a screen for prolonged periods.  

The identical may also be said for the growing variety of leisure gamers, amounting to almost 1.5 billion within the region2, who aspire to spice up their performance similarly to e-athletes. With this in mind, there’s an amazing opportunity for manufacturers to tap into this rising trend for e-sports to formulate sportified products that may also help serve the dietary needs that e-athletes require while also delivering mainstream appeal for recreational gamers.  

Sustained energy for sustained performance 

Nevertheless, a selected obstacle that should be overcome is that sportified products ought to be for everyone, not only for skilled athletes. Hottest sports nutrition drinks in the marketplace today have been designed to extend energy during exercise. Subsequently they traditionally contain high glycaemic carbohydrates, releasing glucose into the bloodstream quickly. Thus, they could be more suited to those needing fast energy for intensive athletic training, equivalent to sprinting. Nevertheless, this rapid increase in glucose levels in our body is followed by a sudden decline, referred to as the ‘boost and crash’ effect, which ends up in a drop in energy levels. This is very disadvantageous for e-sports athletes who must perform for prolonged hours. Products that supply a fast energy boost via rapidly available carbohydrates won’t deliver the sustained energy these e-athletes need to keep up concentration for an extended period. 

Meeting different consumer needs with functional carbohydrates  

To deal with this, manufacturers can leverage functional ingredients like BENEO’s Palatinose™ for his or her ability to supply a balanced supply of glucose energy.  

Derived from sugar beet, Palatinose™ is fully yet slowly digestible and low-glycaemic, contributing to an increased fat-burning rate since lively consumers can draw on their carbohydrate reserves for longer. It also provides full carbohydrate energy in a sustained way, eliminating unwanted blood sugar spikes. Moreover, scientists have found that products containing Palatinose™ may also help enhance an individual’s mood and memory skills3 — two necessary aspects in e-sports.  

Palatinose™ is good to be used in various applications because it comes with a gentle sugar-like sweetening profile, is soluble, and has very low hygroscopicity — which allows it to soak up virtually no moisture and stays stable under harsh processing conditions, meaning it may well be used to create a wide selection of sports drinks powders, bars, and other applications. 

Moreover, the physiological advantages of Palatinose™ also make it the perfect functional ingredient to be used n products aimed toward athletes, those targeted at casual fitness users, or those that are starting to get lively.  

The potential of the sports nutrition market is one which manufacturers should listen to, especially with a big driver equivalent to e-sports making waves across the board. Luckily, food manufacturers are well-poised to leverage the market’s potential with functional ingredients, enabling them to unlock opportunities for themselves while delivering the dietary needs of a wider and more mainstream audience.  

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