Once eaten, carbohydrates are broken down into monosaccharides and are absorbed into the bloodstream. They then get used as energy if needed. Any glucose not needed right away gets stored in the muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen. Insulin, along with other hormones, is responsible for regulating this process. If the concentration of glucose in the blood is too high, insulin is secreted by the pancreas. Insulin stimulates the transfer of glucose into the cells, especially in the liver and muscles.
Rapid refuelling is particularly important for the athlete completing multiple bouts of exercise within a short period of time. Research has shown that eating 100-200 grams of carbohydrate within two hours of endurance exercise is essential to building adequate glycogen stores for continued training. Waiting longer than two hours to eat results in 50 percent less glycogen stored in the muscle. The reason for this is that carbohydrate consumption stimulates insulin production, which aids the storage of glucose as muscle glycogen.
Research has also shown that combining protein with carbohydrate in the two hours after exercise nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen. Eating too much protein, however, may have a negative impact because it could slow rehydration and glycogen replenishment. So it’s all about timing and eating or drinking the right type of food or fluid.
Recent research compared chocolate milk with a carbohydrate replacement beverage as a recovery aid after intense exercise and looked at performance and muscle damage markers in trained cyclists. The findings indicated no difference between chocolate milk and the carbohydrate replacement beverage.
Rehydration, carbohydrate and protein all in a single bottle. What more could you want. Bring on the chocolate milk! Tim (LFTC Coach)