Fast food is not usually considered healthy, but small amounts following an intense workout can help endurance athletes recover, a new study shows.
A University of Montana study involved 11 male cyclists who completed high-intensity rides followed by a recovery period.
Immediately following each ride and again two hours later, researchers provided participants with either sports supplements or fast food, such as hamburgers, French fries, and hash browns.
The study found no significant differences in recovery when they ate fast food after a workout compared to when they ingested traditional sports supplements such as Gatorade or energy bars.
After analyzing muscle biopsies and blood samples, the researchers found no differences in either the body’s biological response to the different types of food or in the athlete’s performance during the subsequent trial.
"Our results show that eating fast food -- in the right amounts -- can provide the same potential for muscle glycogen as sports nutrition products that usually cost more," said Brent Ruby, director of the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism. The study is published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
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