Study: Protein-carb sports drinks better

Dec. 23, 2008 at 8:00 PM
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GETTYSBURG, Pa., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Sports drinks with a carbohydrate-protein mix are better than carb-only drinks in aiding cyclists' recovery from exercise, U.S. and Canadian researchers said.

John Berardi of Precision Nutrition weight-loss program worked with researchers from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and The University of Western Ontario to study which energy drinks are best at helping cyclists recover after a strenuous ride, BioMed Central, an open-access medical publisher that published the study, said Tuesday in a news release.

"Liquid carbohydrate and protein supplements given early during a six hour post-exercise recovery period helped subjects better maintain subsequent time trial performance and power output, compared to supplements with carbohydrate alone," Berardi said.

In the study, cyclists rode exercise bikes that allowed them to compete against a virtual competitor. After a morning session, they rested for six hours and given either the protein-carbohydrate sports drink or the carbohydrate-only version. After their rest, the athletes did another virtual cycle race. While both groups showed a reduced performance level in the afternoon session, the cyclists who drank the protein-carb drinks performed better than those who drank the carb-only drinks.

"These findings may be important considering that most endurance athletes concern themselves primarily with carbohydrate intake and often fail to recognize the potential benefits of protein with respect to performance recovery," Berardi said.

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