This past spring, an interesting study came out about exercise recovery, specifically glycogen recovery. There is a collection of dietary choices that are marketed to enhance glycogen recovery after physical activity. But this new study examined the effects of isoenergetic sport supplements (SS) versus fast food on glycogen recovery and exercise performance (Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. March 26, 2015).
Eleven males completed two experimental trials in a randomized, counterbalanced order. Each trial included a 90-minute glycogen depletion ride followed by a four-hour recovery period. Absolute amounts of macronutrients—carbohydrate, fat and protein—as either a sports supplement or fast food were provided at zero and two hours. Muscle biopsies were collected from the vastus lateralis at 0 and 4 hours post exercise. Blood samples were analyzed post exercise for insulin and glucose. A 20K time-trial was completed following the final muscle biopsy.
There were no differences in the blood glucose and insulin responses. Similarly, rates of glycogen recovery were not different across the diets. There was also no difference across the diets for time-trial performance. The researchers concluded that short-term food options to initiate glycogen re-synthesis can include dietary options not typically marketed as sports-nutrition products such as fast-food menu items.