Fast Food May Be As Effective As Supplements For Post Workout Recovery, Says Science

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Fast Food May Be As Effective As Supplements For Post Workout Recovery, Says Science

Your first thought will be to dismiss this as complete, utter bullshit, but at least consider it. Forget the fact that you just dropped 70 dollars at GNC and even signed up for their Gold Card program. Approach this with an open mind.

A grad student at the University of Montana conducted a study on 11 well-trained athletes to test the recovery effects of fast food versus popular workout supplements on what I imagine were their non-dad bodies. The supplements included Gatorade, PowerBar, and Cytomax energy powder which were tested against hot cakes, hamburgers, hashbrowns, and fries.

Participants fasted for 12 hours before going through a 90 minute endurance workout, which, to be honest, sounds like hell on earth.

From RealClearScience:

Subsequently, subjects assigned to fast food were given hotcakes, orange juice, and a hash brown, while subjects assigned to supplements were given Gatorade, organic peanut butter, and Cliff Shot Bloks. Two hours later, the fast food group consumed a hamburger, Coke, and fries, while the supplement group scarfed down Cytomax powder and PowerBar products. Two hours after their second meal, all subjects rode 20 kilometers on a stationary bike as quickly as possible.Both the supplement and fast food meals were roughly equal in calories, carbohydrate, and protein, though, as one might guess, the fast food had much more sodium and slightly more fat. At various times, subjects underwent muscle biopsies and blood work to gauge blood glucose, lipid, insulin, and glycogen levels.

A week later, subjects came back into the lab and repeated the experiment, this time eating the diet they weren’t assigned to previously.

Surely, the garbage you stuff down your gullet when you’re hungover has a horribly negative effect on your body after a workout, right? I mean, you can’t eat a McDouble and fries without feeling depressed and having gut-busting diarrhea. You treat your body as a temple (for the first few days of that cleanse) and feed it only the most “X-TrEme” whey protein post-workout recovery mix. That stuff is expensive, too.

Upon analysis, Cramer found that athletes completed the time trial just as quickly after eating fast food compared to supplements. Moreover, levels of muscle glycogen were actually higher for the fast food (FF) group than for the supplement (SS) group, though the difference was not statistically significant. Glycogen is a key energy source in muscles that’s primarily replenished through carbohydrate intake.

Dammit. How could Men’s Health magazine and all those deadlifting savants at the supplement store have been so wrong? What are all the normal dudes that are just trying to throw some weight around supposed to do? I’d tap the brakes before you start charging Wendy’s post-workout in a desperate attempt to crush a Baconator during the ever so coveted 45 minute protein synthesis window. This is a short-term study, so who knows what a well trained athlete would look like after months of doing this. I’m no scientist, but there are plenty of them on Reddit who can tell you why this is legit, or why it’s bullshit.

Just keep mixing up that 50 dollar, three week supply of creatine with that 60 dollar Ripped Fuel. Whatever works.

[via RealClearScience]

Image via Shutterstock

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