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The Effect of a Low Carbohydrate Beverage with Added Protein on Cycling Endurance Performance in Trained Athletes

Ferguson-Stegall, Lisa; McCleave, Erin L; Ding, Zhenping; Kammer, Lynne M; Wang, Bei; Doerner, Phillip G; Liu, Yang; Ivy, John L

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181ecccca
Original Research
Press Release
Abstract

Ferguson-Stegall, L, McCleave, EL, Ding, Z, Kammer, LM, Wang, B, Doerner, PG, Liu, Y, and Ivy, JL. The effect of a low carbohydrate beverage with added protein on cycling endurance performance in trained athletes. J Strength Cond Res 24(10): 2577-2586, 2010-Ingesting carbohydrate plus protein during prolonged variable intensity exercise has demonstrated improved aerobic endurance performance beyond that of a carbohydrate supplement alone. The purpose of the present study was to determine if a supplement containing a mixture of different carbohydrates (glucose, maltodextrin, and fructose) and a moderate amount of protein given during endurance exercise would increase time to exhaustion (TTE), despite containing 50% less total carbohydrate than a carbohydrate-only supplement. We also sought post priori to determine if there was a difference in effect based on percentage of ventilatory threshold (VT) at which the subjects cycled to exhaustion. Fifteen trained male and female cyclists exercised on 2 separate occasions at intensities alternating between 45 and 70% V̇o2max for 3 hours, after which the workload increased to ∼74-85% V̇o2max until exhaustion. Supplements (275 mL) were provided every 20 minutes during exercise, and these consisted of a 3% carbohydrate/1.2% protein supplement (MCP) and a 6% carbohydrate supplement (CHO). For the combined group (n = 15), TTE in MCP did not differ from CHO (31.06 ± 5.76 vs. 26.03 ± 4.27 minutes, respectively, p = 0.064). However, for subjects cycling at or below VT (n = 8), TTE in MCP was significantly greater than for CHO (45.64 ± 7.38 vs. 35.47 ± 5.94 minutes, respectively, p = 0.006). There were no significant differences in TTE for the above VT group (n = 7). Our results suggest that, compared to a traditional 6% CHO supplement, a mixture of carbohydrates plus a moderate amount of protein can improve aerobic endurance at exercise intensities near the VT, despite containing lower total carbohydrate and caloric content.

Author Information

Exercise Physiology and Metabolism Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Address correspondence to Dr. John L. Ivy, johnivy@mail.utexas.edu.

Copyright © 2010 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.