How Much Carbohydrate and Protein are Needed for Recovery Drinks and Foods?A review of the research says that one gram of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per hour is needed for recovery. For a 150-pound person, that is 68 grams of carbohydrates, or what you would find in two Snickers bars or in 36 ounces of original Gatorade. That is a lot of sugar to take in. Adding protein in a 1:4 ratio allows the body to use the carbohydrates better, so if you don't want to take in that much sugar, the sugar you do take in will be used more effectively to rebuild energy stores in the muscles. That would be 17 grams of protein for a 150 pound person. Many recovery drinks and bars are formulated with the 1:4 ratio. The protein, or amino acids, in some recovery drinks and bars is also used to rebuild and repair muscles.
Recovery DrinksLowfat chocolate milk and recovery drinks such as Accelerade and Endurox provide carbohydrate and protein in a ratio of 4:1. Studies have shown that this combination can boost performance and reduce free radicals and muscle damage, versus those sports drinks that only replace carbohydrates and electrolytes, such as original Gatorade.
Recovery drinks also help restore water to the body after a workout. It is important to replenish the fluids lost through sweat. Endurance walkers should drink immediately after a long walking workout and continue drinking as they feel thirst.
Recovery Foods and SnacksRecovery snacks with a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate-to-protein can be used in place of recovery drinks, so long as water is replenished too. Many energy bars containing protein are marketed as recovery snacks. Alternatives using regular foods would be a bagel with peanut butter or lowfat cheese.
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