Super Starch: How it Benefits Runners with Dr. Krista Austin – The UCAN Story Part 2

Dr. Krista Austin  – The Science of Super Starch

A recent article in Seasons Magazine featured the incredible story of UCAN, a SuperStarch® for athletes that started from a life threatening illness that threatened a baby’s survival. Follow this story from its inception as a life-saving nutrient to its evolution as a power drink that Meb Keflezighi, Dathan Rytzenheim, and many top athletes rely on.

We are now in part 2 of this amazing story that has, up to this point, introduced our listeners to Wendy Feldman, Shoba Murali, and Meb Keflezighi whose lives have been intricately intertwined by Team UCAN.

In this episode, we talk with Krista Austin, a sports scientist who has been connected with UCAN from the start. She was Meb’s sports scientist back in 2009 and was the one who first worked with him to try UCAN in his training.

She also introduced the product to Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein in 2014.

In this episode, we learn more about what exactly UCAN is, does, and how it works. She also gives us some creative ways to use UCAN including her homemade gummy bears.

In addition to her work with elites, Krista also has a deep understanding on the science and application of SuperStarch® for the everyday runner focused on health and fitness, so she’s a fantastic resource for this topic both because she has a long history with UCAN and a wide range of experience working with all types of runners!

Dr. Krista Austin is a sport scientist, exercise physiologist and nutritionist who has served as an industry consultant and performance specialist for professional and Olympic sport athletes. Dr. Austin has worked for the United States Olympic Committee, the English Institute of Sport, England’s Cricket team and multiple national governing bodies of sport, including USA Taekwondo, USA Triathlon, USA Wrestling and USA Canoe/Kayak.

Dr. Austin received her B.A. in Physical Education, Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology, and Ph.D in Movement Science. She is also a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).


Questions Dr. Austin is asked:

3:09 First Four:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Where were you born?
  3. Where do you live now?
  4. What is your favorite workout? 

4:15 What is your connection with runners and who have you worked with?

5:45 What caused you to believe that SuperStarch® would help Meb?

7:44 What have you learned in the decade since?

8:26 What exactly does ‘low osmolality’ mean?

10:15 How can people use UCAN as a drink?

12:42 Is there a way of using high-glycemic and low-glycemic fuels in combination?

13:16 Is SuperStarch® low-glycemic?

16:04 What applications does UCAN have for non-athletes?

17:02 Is it a steadier burn for workouts?

18:21 Are starches actually sugars?

19:38 What else can you do with UCAN?

20:36 How did you make UCAN gummy bears?

22:06 What is your role with UCAN as a company?

25:41 Does SuperStarch® get stored differently in our muscles and how is it used for recovery?

26:35 Are you absorbing it more slowly or is it dependent on what the muscles need?

28:35 Do you think investors will realize the potential opportunities with UCAN?

30:46 Would it make sense to mix simple sugar type sports drinks with SuperStarch® for long runs and marathons, or would you recommend another strategy for maximum benefit?

35:11 Is the internet a good or bad source of information?

36:26 How is UCAN SuperStarch® different from just taking regular corn starch?

39:56 As a movement science expert, where do you see performance going in the future and how  do nutrition and brain-training fit in?

43:20 Is this an exciting field to be in?

44:03 Any final thoughts?

45:59 Final Kick Round:

  1. What is your favorite local training run or outing (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
  2. Favorite book(s), video or resource? 
  3. Who or what would you like to have featured on the Run To The Top podcast?


“One of the things Meb would mention to me whenever he had a recovery drink that was sugar-based, even if it had protein and fat in it, was that he could feel that sugar. Elite athletes know their bodies really well.”

“Always listen to your body and so what’s in your best interest. Just because it worked for one person, it doesn’t mean that it will always work for you. Work with what is in your best interest.”

“You’ve got a certain number of grams of sugar in your nutrition plan that you need to adhere to. Where do you want to spend them? Do you want to spend them on a gel or a drink for your workout? Not really.”

“SuperStarch® produces a very low-glycemic response. At the end of the day, carbohydrates are going to get broken down to glucose, but the question is: ‘What does it cause insulin to do within the body? Does it spike it or does it stay low?’ And the good thing about the SuperStarch® is it lets it stay low.”

“Practice makes perfect. The biggest mistake you can make on race day is to never have practiced in simulation.”


Take a Listen on Your Next Run


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Mentioned in this podcast: 

Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

Carbona Homepage

UCAN Homepage

Dr. Krista Austin

Bob Seebohar

San Dieguito County Park

Follow Dr. Austin and UCAN on:

email UCAN

UCAN Facebook page

UCAN on Twitter

UCAN on YouTube

UCAN on Instagram

Dr. Austin’s Twitter

Dr. Austin’s LinkedIn Profile

Email Dr. Austin


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