New research suggests a bowl of whole grain cereal and milk may provide the same recovery and rehydration benefit as a sports drink after exercise.
A team of investigators from the University of Texas at Austin studied 12 trained cyclists and looked at the physiological effects of different foods after a typical exercise session.
They found that glycogen repletion, or the replenishment of immediate muscle fuel, was just as good after whole grain cereal consumption and that some aspects of protein synthesis were actually better than after sports drinks.
“Cereal and non-fat milk are a less expensive option than sports drinks,” says exercise physiologist Lynne Kammer, who led the research team.
“The milk provides a source of easily digestible and high quality protein, which can promote protein synthesis and training adaptations, making this an attractive recovery option for those who refuel at home,” she adds.
Another recent study of college soccer players found that chocolate milk provides equal or superior muscle recovery, repair and body rehydration compared to high-carbohydrate beverages with the same amount of calories.
Milk also provides minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium that everyone needs to replace after strenuous activity to maintain bone health.
Those who are concerned about their protein and minerals intake may turn to nutritional supplements.