Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Cyclists recover quicker with protein and maltodextrine shake

After intensive activity cyclists recover more quickly if they drink a shake containing proteins and maltodextrine than if they drink a sports drink containing only maltodextrine. A team of Canadian sports scientists discovered this after doing a trial with fifteen trained cyclists.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, is the brainchildof the Canadian sports nutrition guru John Berardi. [] Berardi financed the study from his Precision Nutrition company [], an online advisory service that provides nutritional coaching for athletes. The supplements manufacturers Met-Rx and Biotest provided financing as well.

The researchers started by getting their subjects to cycle as far as they could for an hour. Then they gave the subjects a litre of fluid to drink at 10, 60 and 120 minutes after. Some were given a shake that contained the carbohydrate maltodextrine only, about 1.2 g of maltodextrine per kilo bodyweight. This was the CHO group.

The other group got a shake that contained 33 percent maltodextrine, 33 percent glucose and 33 percent whey protein hydrolysate. This was the C+P group.

Four hours after the training ended the subjects were given a meal, and two hours later they cycled as far as they could again for an hour.

The C+P group cycled a greater distance than the CHO group. This is illustrated in the figure below. Both the CHO group and the C+P group performed less well during the second trial than the first, but the decrease in performance was significantly less in the C+P group.

Cyclists recover quicker with protein and maltodextrine shake

During the second trial the researchers measured the cyclists' breath to calculate the amount of sugars and fats that they burned. They discovered that the C+P group burned more fat than the CHO group. There was little difference in the amount of carbohydrates burned between the two groups.

Cyclists recover quicker with protein and maltodextrine shake

Endurance athletes recover better the more protein they consume, the study shows. The companies involved will no doubt use the study results to launch new products for endurance athletes. It's a pity they didn't study the effect of ordinary nutritious food products that you can buy in the supermarket, like skimmed milk, buttermilk or quark. Or even soya milk for that matter.

We'd be willing to bet that these products work just as well as sachets of separate nutrients in powder form.

Or maybe they work even better?

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Dec 24; 5(1):24.