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A Low Carbohydrate–Protein Supplement Improves Endurance Performance in Female Athletes

Erin L. McCleave, Lisa Ferguson-Stegall, Zhenping Ding, Phillip G III Doerner, Bei Wang, Lynne Kammer and John L. Ivy

Purpose: To investigate if a low mixed carbohydrate (CHO) plus moderate protein (PRO) supplement, provided during endurance exercise, would improve time to exhaustion (TTE) in comparison to a traditional 6% CHO supplement.

Conclusions: Results from the present study suggest that the addition of a moderate amount of PRO to a low mixed CHO supplement improves endurance performance in women above that of a traditional 6% CHO supplement. Improvement in performance occurred despite CHO + PRO containing a lower CHO and caloric content. It is likely that the greater performance seen with CHO + PRO was a result of the CHO-PRO combination and the use of a mixture of CHO sources.

IN PLAIN ENGLISH: During extreme endurance exercise, a lot of “substrate” wants to be used to fuel the extended activity. Ingesting protein – which may deter the use of protein as an energy source – may facilitate the use of the concomitant ingested CHO.

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