New research by Brent Ruby at the University of Montana suggests that cheaper foods are just as effective in helping women recover from exercise as sports nutrition products. Photo credit: UM / Tommy Martino
The edge. Every athlete, from the pro to the weekend warrior, strives to find the elusive element that leads to victory – sometimes they don't save the expense of getting there.
A lighter bike, a better exercise regimen, the latest shoes.
However, a recently published study by the University of Montana found that popular "fringed" sports nutrition products were no more effective at promoting recovery in female athletes than regular, high-carb, often less expensive, potato-based foods.
"Athletes are vulnerable to strategic marketing. We are easy to influence," said UM research professor Brent Ruby, a seasoned endurance athlete who knows the appeal of sports powders and gels all too well.
As director of the UM Center for Occupational Physiology and Movement Metabolism in Montana, Ruby and his team have done extensive work in the field of athletic performance, examining the role that post-workout carbohydrate nutrition plays in replenishing depleted muscle mass. The centre's 2015 study which found a McDonald’s Happy Meal to be as effective for exercise recovery as commercial nutritional products that have attracted national attention.
Again and again the edge.
The difference in the latest study is the inclusion and focus on recreational female athletes.
"There's been a lot of research into what enables muscle recovery after exercise," said Ruby. "But women were poorly represented in these studies. It is customary to study only men and then make broad recommendations as to what is wrong."
With funding from the Alliance for Potato Research & Education, Ruby's team created and conducted a study similar to that of McDonald & # 39; s. This time, muscle regeneration between male and female recreational athletes using potato products and sports supplements was studied.
Eight men and eight women took part in the study, which included 90 minutes of intense cycling, followed by rest, relaxation and refueling, and a 20-kilometer time trial. After sweating, blood and muscle biopsies, the results showed that muscles replenish carbohydrate stores in a similar way in both men and women – just as well with regular foods as with sports supplements.
Ruby hopes these new results, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, will help both female and male athletes make more informed decisions about their refueling programs.
"Endurance athletes love to talk about how hard they train and how specific their diet is," said Ruby. "But we have to take a deep breath. It doesn't have to be complicated. As long as you are getting enough carbohydrates, your diet can be as varied as you want it to be."
Fast food is just as effective as sports supplements for recovery, the study found
Shannon Flynn et al. Men and women show similar muscle glycogen recovery with different food sources for recovery, European Journal of Applied Physiology (2020). DOI: 10.1007 / s00421-020-04352-2
University of Montana
The study shows that a varied diet is just as effective as sports supplements for women athletes (2020, April 17).
accessed on October 23, 2020
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