Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fast Food Just As Good For Recovery As Sport Supplements

Picture by Mike Prosser from Flickr
I'm not saying you should pig out after your race or exercise session at McDonald's with their fries, hot cakes, hash brown or even a Coke etc, but a newly published study found that fast food from McDonald's is just as good for recovery and subsequent performance as sport supplements.

In the study, athletes performed two separate tests on a stationary bike. After finishing a 90-minute bike session that included some tough intervals, the subjects underwent muscle biopsies to measure their (depleted) levels of glycogen.

For the next four hours, they rested in a chair while consuming either of two meals - fast food or sports food supplements. After doing another leg biopsy, they did a 20 km time trial to confirm that their muscles were replenished.

The fast food consists of Hotcakes, fries, hash brown, a hamburger, orange juice and a Coke from McDonald's. Total calories was 1330.

The sports food consists of Gatorade (20 oz), Kit's Organic PB bar, Clif Shot, Cytomax (10 oz), PowerBar and PowerBar energy chews. Total calories was 1303.

A week later, the subjects repeated the tests while eating fast food if they ate the sports food the first time and vice versa. Subjects were informed about the the two types of meals and could see the packaging and labels etc.

The meals were similar in carbohydrates, protein, fats and calories, about 70 percent carbohydrate and 10 percent protein.

Both protocols produced similar levels of glycogen resynthesis (recovery), glucose and insulin response and time trial performance.

The researchers were most surprised to find nearly identical blood data, and nearly identical time trial results regardless of whether they consumed fast food or so called sports supplements.

They concluded that fast food in the right amounts can be just as good (and much cheaper) for recovery as compared to sports nutrition products/ supplements which costs a lot more.

I guess this is similar to the drink chocolate milk for recovery post I wrote a while ago showing that chocolate milk is as good for recovery as Gatorade and superior to Endurox which is much more expensive.

I don't know about you, I prefer real food any time.


Cramer MJ, Dumke CL et al. (2015). Post-exercise Glycogen Recovery And Exercise Performance Is Not Significantly Different Between Fast Food And Sport Supplements. Int J Sp Nutr Exer Metab. DOI:

Fries - my favorite for recovery- but frowned upon by my wife 
Picture by xioubin low from Flickr

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