Thursday, August 2, 2012

Eat fat for endurance

Here is an intriguing one:

These results suggest that ingestion of a HFM (high fat meal) prior to exercise is more favorable for endurance performance than HCM (high carb meal). 

So maybe bacon and eggs would be better than that pasta party before the marathon.....


js290 said...

High fat meal is probably good for fighting cancer, too.

primalliving said...

Finally got around to reading the full study on this, as got a big endurance event coming up and want to get the fuelling right.

On closer inspection, it seems the study does little, if anything to show a benefit of a high fat meal over a high carb meal prior to an endurance event.

The study tests 3 different breakfasts:

1) High Fat + Carb Gel
2) High Fat + Placebo
3) High Carb + Placebo

There was no significant difference between the high fat or carb breakfasts + placebo.

Yes, as the scientist point out, 7 out of the 8 participants did very slightly better on the high fat, but it was nothing impressive, and the reason we use statistical analysis is because with a sample size so small, this could just have been random chance.

The high fat + maltodextrin gel did significantly improve performance, but as this breakfast contained an extra 400kCal, and we had no high carb + carb gel group to compare it with, we don't know whether this increase in performance is due to the maltodextrin or the extra calories.

I think a more useful conclusion from this study would be:

1) It makes little to no difference whether your pre-race calories come from fat or carbs providing your glycogen stores are full from a 3 day carb load.

2) Taking an additional 400 calories in the form of a maltodextrin gel can significantly improve your time to exhaustion. (Though we don't know whether the same effects could be achieved from an additional 400 kCals in any other form)

I think based on the above the best strategy is just to eat whatever you enjoy eating for breakfast and agrees with your digestion!