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Protein Enriched Sports Drinks – Muscle Performance Enabler or Unwanted Caloric Booster?

Thursday, January 20, 2011
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Results - The results of the study showed that the group that consumed the protein enriched low calorie sports drink did ride a few moments longer that the group that drank only carbohydrates drink, and at the same intensity of the exercise. However they found that the riders who strained and got exhausted above their ventilatory threshold did not benefit from the protein.

Dr. John Ivy, a professor of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas and senior author of the study, said, "We don't know why or how protein would operate on muscles during exercise, why it might provide benefits when calories are cut, or even why it was effective only for riders who pedaled at certain intensities. Protein is composed of amino acids, and they have many different effects on metabolism."

There are however many skeptics who continue to argue against protein in sports drink, as they believe protein does not have a viable mechanism to work as a fuel. Though there are some studies* that show athletes on protein enriched sports drink, rode faster than their counterparts who just consumed carbohydrate drinks the amount of drink consumed by the cyclists were much higher than the other trials.

Carbs are required to sustain and store energy but protein is what will help in recovery of a muscle. So what we need at this point of time from the Sports Nutrition Researchers is a Clinical trial that would not only focus on the performance of the athlete but also on the post performance recovery of the muscle proteins. Though protein might not help in competing faster or longer, it will definitely help in reducing the muscle damage and diminish the soreness post the activity.

One also hopes they conduct additional better controlled trials with different protein sources and observe their effect when added into a sports drink in different variations.

Until then sports warriors eat for strength — exercise for good health — stay hydrated and push those muscles to deliver better results.

By. Sangeetha Narayana Swamy
Senior Dietitian, NutritionVista.com

References:

 

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User Comments

11 August, 2011 | Shashank | Reply

Shashank Is is good to drink only water or have fruit juices/Tender coconut water/milk shakes/whey protein shakes after a workout or a match of cricket?
My friends and me play cricket over the weekend and we end up being in the field for 3-4 hours and we also workout together 2-3 times per week and use moderate to heavy weights.

10 August, 2011 | Thrupthi Sharma | Reply

Thrupthi Sharma My son and his friends like RED BULL and drink it whenever they feel tired after a vigorous game of football. He says it re energises him or he feels very tired to get onto his studies. After I read your article I looked at the nutritional information. Happy to note it had a few vitamins, hardly any fats or carbs to worry about but it had no protein either. It is rich in sodium which was worrying. So do I let him drink it regularly after a game or kindly suggest alternatives.

11 August, 2011 | Poonam | Reply

Poonam Hello Ms Sharma,
The nutritional information mentioned on the can is for every 100 ml and if your son is consuming a 250 ml can, then it contains about 27gms of carbohydrates (all sugars), and 80 mg of caffeine apart from other nutrients. The vitalizing effect your son is experiencing is probably because of the energy content as well as the stimulating impact of caffeine. You must be aware that caffeine can be addicting and he should not make a habit out of consuming the drink. You could make him some refreshing drink at home instead, like a fresh lime or a fresh fruit juice, a smoothie or milkshake.

24 January, 2011 | Sirish Jain | Reply

Sirish Jain I am 20 yrs old and am a in the cricket team of my college. The normal sports drink we get in India like Gatorade is only carbs. If adding protein in the sports drink will help in recovery of muscle post match then why is it not being added in the sports drink?

25 January, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Dear Mr Jain
The first requirement for continual good performance, for any sports person is rehydration and electrolyte and energy replenishment, which Gatorade is now providing. Only recently the value of adding protein in sports drinks is being researched. Once the need for the same is completely established, it will be easily available in India. It also involves the cost factor as protein is expensive so the company always weighs buying power of the people for their turnover.
Our suggestion is that you register with us or work with your sports nutritionist for choosing what’s best for you given the current situation.
Thank you
Vijayalakshmi Iyengar
Sr Dietitian

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