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Ingestion of carbohydrate during recovery in exercising people

Mitchell, Joel B.

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: July 2013 - Volume 16 - Issue 4 - p 461–465
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328361c526
CARBOHYDRATES: Edited by Luc Tappy and Bettina Mittendorfer

Purpose of review The primary focus of this brief review is to describe the effect of carbohydrate (CHO) supplementation alone or in combination with protein on two responses during postexercise recovery that are not specifically related to the usual emphasis on glycogen resynthesis; that is, rapid postexercise rehydration, and recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage.

Recent findings Evidence from postexercise rapid rehydration studies suggests that the addition of CHO to a rehydration solution may increase the rate of fluid restoration compared with water placebo. Adding protein to a CHO solution may further accentuate the beneficial effects. An additional postexercise concern for active individuals is the development of postexercise muscle soreness, a response that is pronounced with novel, eccentric exercise. Ingestion of CHO supplements, especially those combined with protein may help to minimize the exercise-induced muscle damage that is accompanied by muscle soreness, and reduced muscle function.

Summary The practical implications of these findings are that CHO supplementation, especially in combination with protein, can enhance the rate of recovery relative to fluid balance and muscle damage; thus, these nutritional interventions should be considered for purposes in addition to the usual focus on glycogen resynthesis.

Kinesiology Department, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Correspondence to Joel B. Mitchell, PhD, Kinesiology Department, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76129, USA. Tel: +817 257 7665; e-mail:

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins