Nutrition is key to sports performance
Studies have shown that potatoes can replace sports nutrition
Specialized nutrition has taken a strong position in professional and amateur sports. Depending on the variety, it can help rebuild muscle after exercise or energize during super-intense exercise. Typically, athletes purchase these supplements for a decent price. However, over the past six months, two scientific studies have been carried out, which have proven that the most common potatoes are on the same line with a sports diet in terms of effectiveness.
Nutrition during the race: potatoes against carbohydrate gels
В December 2019, the American edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology published a study by scientists from the University of Illinois. Kinesiology and health experts selected 12 cyclists and divided them into three groups. The first group, during a two-hour race, was reinforced with carbohydrate gels, the second - with mashed potatoes, and the third just drank water. During the test, the athletes were constantly checked the concentration of glucose and lactic acid in the blood.
As a result of the experiment, it turned out that for maintaining energy during the endurance race, potatoes and special gels are equally good compared to water. Blood samples from the first two groups were also similar: glucose levels remained the same.
Still, there were some disadvantages to consuming starchy foods. With an intensive diet of potatoes during exercise, riders complained of bloating, flatulence, and sometimes pain. But the scientists noted that on average there were fewer gastrointestinal problems this time than in previous tests, and both supplements were well tolerated by athletes.
Study Director Professor Nicholas Brood said that with their experience the specialists wanted to prove the existence of worthy alternatives to commercial sports nutrition. And that carbohydrates can be found in whole food sources too.
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Potatoes help restore muscle energy after exercise
Another fresh a study from the University of Montana has been published by the authoritative scientific portal European Journal of Applied Physiology. Now the test involved eight men and the same number of women. They had to ride a bike for an hour and a half, then rest and receive restorative nutrition, and finally consolidate everything with a 20-kilometer race against the clock.
At the end of the experiment, experts took a blood test from the participants and performed a muscle biopsy. The results showed that the muscles of all athletes replenished glycogen stores after exercise with the same success with both potato-based foods and sports supplements.
Brent Ruby , one of the study authors, said that endurance athletes often talk about the rigor of their diet. But now they can diversify their diet by looking at other carbohydrate foods.
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Expert opinion: how to explain the research results?
Comparison of potatoes with special sports nutrition many are probably surprised. Therefore, in order to understand in detail the results of two scientific experiments, we talked with a sports doctor Ibraim Chibichev .
Ibraim: Of course, quite ordinary products can partially replace sports food, which entered the market in order to quickly and affordably meet the demand. But again, this is marketing, which requires a certain unloading. If we plunge into the composition of gels and natural products, then to a greater extent, of course, both carbohydrates are present. They are necessary not in order to restore muscles after intense exertion, but in order to replenish the energy costs that occur in cyclic sports. Accordingly, the muscles will be restored due to the protein component. The second study is about replenishing muscle glycogen. It is an energy resource that allows a muscle to work for a period of time. This is just a derivative of the carbohydrate component. And glycogen is synthesized in our liver, for this we need a source of carbohydrates. So there can be no talk of the restoration of damaged fibers, namely myoglobin itself - this happens only at the expense of protein. And resources of any carbohydrate nature are compensated for by the energy of the muscle.
There are two types of athletes in cyclic sports. The former use sports supplements in view of the fact that it is fast, convenient and their bioavailability is quite good. And the second type of people are athletes who prefer balanced foods. For example, dried fruits or fruits, which in composition can be either the same or similar to a sports diet. Potatoes are rich in starch - they are high in carbohydrates. And this also includes B vitamins, which are also a kind of antioxidants. If we take gels, then they mainly contain carbohydrates, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and some additives so that absorption begins directly in the oral cavity and there is a high bioavailability. Therefore, it is possible to compare two ingredients, two substrates for nutrition. Both in terms of the level and quality of bioavailability, gels will be slightly higher than potatoes: they are simply more convenient in terms of nutrition. Can one replace the other? Definitely yes. Here you just need to take into account the composition and see which product will show the highestefficiency. Therefore, carbohydrate loading can be done with just about anything. Potatoes are well suited for this function.
I have a fairly large number of patients who dislike sports nutrition not for commercial reasons, but for taste criteria. Or it does not suit them in terms of the load on the digestive tract, but someone just wants to chew. In the end, the era of sports nutrition came not so long ago, it is still more of a commercial nature, promoted by all kinds of additives. And some manage to contaminate sports nutrition with illegal drugs. Against this background, a large number of scandals arise. Therefore, athletes are wary of these nuances and use habitual recovery. A few decades ago, the same Olympic Games were held at a fairly high level. And athletes from cyclic sports calmly carried out recovery only thanks to natural food.