Two studies have arrived at conflicting results on whether to add protein to sports drinks. The company-funded studies are published in the August issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
One Canadian study, which was funded by the company, which manufactures Gatorade, found that protein in sports drinks was not beneficial. The study included 10 cyclists who were asked to simulate a situation with 80-kilometer races on three different occasions The cyclists were randomly assigned to either receive a sports drinks with protein or with placebo. They found that the sports drink with protein was no more beneficial than a normal one.
"Sports drinks improve performance during prolonged exercise because of two key ingredients: carbohydrate, which provides fuel for working muscles, and sodium, which helps to maintain fluid balance," said lead researcher Martin Gibala. "Our study shows that protein confers no performance benefit during 'real-life' exercise when athletes consume sufficient amounts of sports drink."
But another study funded by makers of Accelerade sports drink found that protein increases the "endurance" in athletes. Researchers at St. Cloud University in Minnesota said that athletes in this study lost body weight due to sweat loss, but those drinking Accelerade managed to rehydrate at rates that were better than those drinking Gatorade.