For those of you not from a scientific background, a meta-analysis is a review of previously published studies on a particular topic, grouped together and statistically analysed. In essence it’s a study of the studies on a topic, and can be very useful to draw a single conclusions from a number of studies that may provide conflicting results.
Type of protein consumed
Number of studies
Combination of whey, casein or whole milk proteins
Essential Amino Acids only
Egg protein added to boost total protein consumed
Although not conclusive, this study did confirm the long held belief that the pattern of protein intake and not just the total daily amount is important to optimise the body’s response to training. Over the next year or two we should start to gain a much better understanding of what this ideal pattern looks like, with one of the study’s authors, Jose Areta, completing his PhD at RMIT University in this area.
7. ISENC – Focus on road cycling:
I didn’t attend the International Sports & Exercise Nutrition Conference in Newcastle upon Tyne in December 2012, but I wish I did. From what I’ve read about and spoken to others about it there was a great session on sports nutrition in road cycling generally and the Tour de France specifically. Here are some of the great take-away messages I had fed back:
Prof. Louise Burke, Australian Institute of Sport
Losing a kg of lean body mass in the thighs of cyclists will decrease power at the anaerobic threshold by around 12W. To counteract this and produce the same power-to-weight ratio you’d have to lose 3kg body fat, but absolute power on the flat would still be compromised. Cycling is not all about reducing weight, it’s about minimising body fat whilst also maintaining leg muscle size and power.
Some riders are advised by their sporting directors to stay fasted with no carbohydrate after a long ride, using sleeping pills to sleep through the period of hunger.
Nigel Mitchell, Nutritionist for Team Sky on the daily diet of his riders at the Tour de France:
One of the arguments that many sports dietitians have put forward to athletes in strength and power sports is that they still need to fuel up on carbohydrate prior to a weight training session to maximise their performance in the session. Studies of muscle glycogen (ie. stored carbohydrate) use during weight training sessions suggest that as little as three sets of exercises in the same muscle group can deplete glycogen stores by at least a third.
Endurance performance was tested with a 2 hour ride at 95% of the participant’s lactate threshold, followed by a 20km time trial. The results showed that as the amount of carbohydrate consumed increased, performance improved up to 80g/hr, after which performance actually started to drop slightly again. Interestingly though the test was performed after fasting for 10 hours overnight, which is not very representative of how athletes would prepare for a race.
4. Amino acid appearance in the blood from real foods when combined with weights
In the past studies have looked at the effect on different types of protein powders on the appearance of amino acids in the blood, but very little research has looked at the effects of whole foods. In this study, which appeared in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism in December, the effect of consuming a standardised 20 gram protein serving from skim milk, soy milk, steak, eggs and a liquid meal supplement (Powerbar Protein Plus with water) on the blood levels of total amino acids, essential amino acids, branched chain amino acids, and Leucine.
2. Carbohydrate mouth rinse – bigger gains when fasted, but overall better performance when fed
In November a team from RMIT investigated the effect of mouth rinsing before and during a time trial of approximately 1 hour, both in a fed (high carbohydrate meal 2 hours before) and a fasted (overnight) state. They found that mouth rinsing improved performance in both the fed and fasted state, but the amount of improvement was greater when fasted (3.4%) compared to fasted (1.8%). However the overall best performance was achieved when both fed and mouth rinsing, showing the advantages of both.
So there’s my top 10 for 2012, quite a bit later than I’d hoped but better late than never.