Can a fast food be as effective for glycogen recovery after exercise and performance as sports supplements?

A recent study analyzed it and the results showed that it can be equally effective for these purposes.

Post-exercise glycogen recovery is key

The recovery of glycogen after exercise, especially resistance exercise, is essential. Carbohydrate feeding after depletion (depletion) of glycogen improves muscle glycogen resynthesis and endurance performance.

Emphasis has also been placed on the composition and proportion of macronutrients, the amount of macronutrients and the optimal timing of ingestion(timing) to help athletes, doctors and coaches in the recovery of exercise and performance.

The composition of carbohydrates ( glucose , fructose and sucrose ) and various levels of glycemic index have also shown impact on the overall rates of muscle glycogen resynthesis .

Conception that you have about sports supplements and fast food

Collectively, the concept of sports supplements has been emphasized as the preferred nutritional approach to facilitate the recovery of glycogen. In turn, the use of milk with chocolate has gained recognition as an alternative to traditional sports supplements for the recovery of glycogen (soon I will get an article about it).

As for fast food, there seem to be two main stigmas associated with it. The first links fast food to unhealthy food, childhood obesity and poor nutritional options, while the second categorizes the ingredients of fast food as low quality.

On the contrary, the nutritional value and the quality of the ingredients of complementary sports feeding items (sports supplements) are not questioned by marketing perceptions and a link with regular physical activity or physical training.

But can different elements of fast food (wisely selected) offer a more economical and equally effective approach to glycogen recovery compared to expensive sports supplements?

This was the goal of a recent study.

Fast food vs sports supplements for glycogen recovery and performance

This recent study examined the effects of isoenergetic sports supplements and fast food on glycogen recovery and exercise performance.

Eleven young men (between 22 and 34 years old) physically active and experienced in moderate and high intensity training completed two experimental trials. Each trial included a 90-minute test of glycogen depletion on a cycle ergometer ( stationary bike to quantify work done) followed by a four-hour recovery period.

Were provided absolute amounts of macronutrients (1.54 ± 0.27 gr / kg of carbohydrates, 0.24 ± 0.04 gr / kg of fat and 0.18 ± 0.03 g / kg of protein ) for both supplements isoenergetic sports as for fast food at the end of the exercise and two hours .

Fast food consisted of pancakes (kind of pancakes), hamburger , fries and coke , while the isoenergetic sports supplements were composed of bars and energy jellybeans and reclaimers, energy drinks powder and other energy drinks like Gatorade.

The authors collected muscle biopsies of the vastus lateralis at the end of the exercise and at four hours after the exercise and analyzed blood samples at the end of the exercise and at 30, 60, 120, 150, 180 and 240 minutes after exercise to see the insulin and glucose, with the blood lipids analyzed at the end of the exercise and at 240 minutes.

After the final muscle biopsy, the participants completed a 20 kilometer cycle-ergometer timed test.

What was proven? And here come the results that will surprise many.

The authors found that there were no differences in blood glucose and insulin responses . Similarly, the rates of glycogen recovery were not different through the diets.

There was also no difference in the performance of the 20 kilometer cycle ergometer test between the diets (34.1 ± 1.8 and 34.3 ± 1.7 minutes for isoenergetic sports supplements and fast food, respectively).

Fast food may be an effective option for glycogen recovery but please, common sense

The data from this study indicate that short-term food options for initiating glycogen resynthesis may include dietary options not typically marketed as sports nutrition, such as fast-food foods.

These fast food sources, alone or combined with sports supplements, can provide the basic needs for muscle recovery and can offer a convenient and economical approach to glycogen recovery in some circumstances.

Therefore, if we do not have another option and we have to throw fast food after our endurance exercise to start glycogen recovery, we know that it can be an equally valid option for this purpose as long as it has the right amount of macronutrients, do not eat any fast food just like that.

It is already known that the chronic consumption of fast food options has a negative effect on dyslipidemia (impaired lipid metabolism), cardiovascular risk and obesity, so I am not spreading the idea that fast food is good, Not that if we do not have another option after exercise and we need to start glycogen recovery, fast food with the right macronutrients can be an effective option.