PURPOSE: This study investigated the effect of consuming different commercial beverages with food ad libitum post-exercise on fluid, energy and nutrient recovery in trained females.
METHODS: On 4 separate occasions, 8 females (body mass [BM]: 61.8±10.7 kg; VO2max: 46.3±7.5 mL·kg-1·min-1) lost 2.0±0.3% BM cycling at ~75%VO2max before completing a 4 h recovery period with ad libitum access to one of 4 beverages: Water, Powerade® (Sports Drink), Up & Go Reduced SugarTM (Lower Sugar [LS]-MILK) or Up & Go EnergizeTM (Higher Protein [HP]-MILK). Participants also had 2×15 min opportunities to access food within the first 2 h of the recovery period. Beverage intake; total water/nutrient intake; and indicators of fluid recovery (BM, urine output, plasma osmolality [POSM]), gastrointestinal (GI) tolerance and palatability were assessed periodically.
RESULTS: While total water intake (from food and beverage) (Water: 1918±580g; Sports Drink: 1809±338g; LS-MILK: 1458±431g; HP-MILK: 1523±472g; p=0.010) and total urine output (Water: 566±314g; Sports Drink: 459±290g; LS-MILK: 220±53g; HP-MILK: 230±117g; p=0.009) differed significantly by beverage, the quantity of ingested water retained was similar across treatments (Water: 1352±462g; Sports Drink: 1349±407g; LS-MILK: 1238±400g; HP-MILK: 1293±453g; p=0.691). Total energy intake (from food and beverage) increased in proportion to the energy density of the beverage (Water: 4129±1080kJ; Sports Drink: 5167±643kJ; LS-MILK: 6019±1925kJ; HP-MILK: 7096±2058kJ; p=0.014).
CONCLUSION: When consumed voluntarily and with food, different beverages promote similar levels of fluid recovery, but alter energy/nutrient intakes. Providing access to food and understanding the longer-term dietary goals of female athletes are important considerations when recommending a recovery beverage.