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Low-Carb Beverages Enhance Endurance In Cyclists - Study

October 18, 2010: 06:36 AM EST

Low-carbohydrate beverages fortified with protein provide longer endurance times in cyclists, according to new U.S. research. The findings offer a different perspective on the use of standard carbohydrate supplements as endurance boosters. A protein-enhanced low-carb drink containing half the carbs and less than a third of the calories of conventional sports drinks improves aerobic endurance – depending on the level of exercise intensity, researchers said. The lab study included 15 skilled endurance cyclists who did two long rides, one after drinking a standard six percent carb supplement, the other a three percent carb plus protein supplement. Overall, there was no significant difference in endurance times. However, endurance improved by about 28 percent in cyclists exercising at or near their ventilatory threshold (VT).

Ferguson-Stegall, Lisa, et al., "The Effect of a Low Carbohydrate Beverage with Added Protein on Cycling Endurance Performance in Trained Athletes", The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, October 18, 2010, © Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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