Goh, Q., Boop, C. A., Luden, N. D., Todd, M. K., & Saunders, M. J. (2011). Effects of altered carbohydrate and protein intake during recovery from high-intensity endurance exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 2215.

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This study compared the effects of isocaloric beverages with differing proportions of carbohydrate and protein on markers of muscle recovery following heavy endurance exercise in male cyclists (N = 12). Ss completed an exercise trial consisting of 10 minutes at 60% Wmax, followed by a series of two-minute alternating-intensity intervals until fatigue. Following four hours of recovery, Ss completed a second exercise trial consisting of 20 minutes at 60% Wmax followed immediately by a simulated hilly 20-km time-trial. Recovery beverages (~300 kcal) were consumed immediately post-exercise, two hours post-exercise, and immediately following subsequent exercise. Beverages were randomly counterbalanced over three trials, each separated by approximately one week: Carbohydrate (75g CHO), high-carbohydrate/low-protein (HCLP: 45g CHO, 25g Pro, 0.5 g Fat), and low-carbohydrate/high-protein (LCHP: 8g CHO, 55g Pro, 4g Fat).

Blood glucose levels 30 minutes following beverage consumption were significantly different between the three beverages with carbohydrate the highest and low-carbohydrate/high-protein lowest. Serum insulin levels were similar between high-carbohydrate/low-protein and carbohydrate and were significantly higher than the low-carbohydrate/high-protein group. Subsequent exercise performance was not significantly different between treatments. In addition, no significant treatment effects were observed for changes in isometric peak torque of the quadriceps, serum creatine kinase, muscle soreness, or energy/fatigue ratings; which were measured pre-exercise, prior to subsequent exercise, and after an overnight recovery.

Implication. Recovery beverages providing equal caloric content and differing proportions of carbohydrates/protein provided similar effects on markers of muscle recovery in well-trained cyclists. Higher proportions of carbohydrate are potentially advantageous for recovery from heavy endurance exercise.

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