New Study Says Fast Food Is Just as Effective as Post-Workout Supplements

04/03/2015 at 02:40 PM ET

Fast Food Burger
Charles F. Hu Photography/Getty

We always knew something felt so, so right about eating Taco Bell after a strenuous workout.

A new study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism investigated whether popular post-workout supplements and shakes were more effective at enhancing post-exercise glucose recovery than junk food.

The answer? Pour out your protein shake, buy a burger, and never look back.

In the study, 11 athletes fasted for 12 hours and then engaged in a strenuous hour-and-a-half workout. Immediately afterward, half of the participants were fed hash browns, pancakes and orange juice — and two hours later, a burger, fries and a Coke. The other, “healthy” half refueled with Gatorade, peanut butter and Clif Shot Bloks, followed by Cytomax powder and PowerBar products two hours later. Then, both groups biked for 12 miles as fast as they could. (And miraculously, no one vomited.)

Researchers analyzed several blood tests from each group — and had them repeat the study a week later, switching to the other diet. And the bottom line was this: It didn’t matter if you refueled with fried potatoes or expensive athletic supplements. The biking times were essentially identical for both groups.

While we’re tempted to interpret these results as a science-backed recommendation to eat more burgers, a more reasonable takeaway would be to buy fewer protein bars.

—Maria Yagoda, @MariaYagoda

FILED UNDER: Food , Food News , Health

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Showing 7 comments

S on

Ummmm yeah, I bet McDonalds sponsored the “study!”

Jay on

I couldn’t care less if the biking times were essentially identical for both groups–if you eat trash, you’ll suffer in the long run.

Jenny on

Baloney. I thought when I clicked on this article that it would end up being some kind of a joke. What an insult to anyone’s intelligence.

Kristy on

Ummm….both groups ate complete junk. The “healthy” group had Gatorade (sugar, artificial flavors, artificial colors), powdered protein, Clif Shot Bloks (first 3 ingredients are sugar), Power Bar products (first ingredient – sugar). Would have been great if one of the groups had been fed real food – lean fish, cheese, fruit, vegetables. That would have been an interesting study.

Marie on

@Kristy – I agree. None of the groups ate healthy foods. Personally, I don’t care how many studies they make. If I work out, I’m not going to ruin everything by eating a burger and fries. It’s not healthy. What a BS study.

Jbro0730 on

Kristy you are completely right. As soon as j read the word Gatorade and Clif Bar I realized this was just one big advertisement. People who are serious about their fitness and body wouldn’t do either of these things (at least not regularly, ha!). What you eat in private you wear in public! So good job People, just keep encouraging readers to eat tons and tons of sugar. I’m sure it will work out for those who don’t work out for an hour and a half then take a huge bike ride. Is the next article about how you can drink wine instead of going to the gym?

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