Breakfast Bulk: Sick Of Shakes? Science Turns Cereal Into A Postworkout Option

Were you a Lucky Charms kid or more of a Froot Loops fan? Regardless of which cereal filled your bowl while Saturday morning cartoons filled your brain, we’re willing to bet there are days when nothing sounds as good as a bowl of that long-lost favorite. To that we say: Serve it up. And guess what? Science agrees!

The Research

Researchers who recently published their study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition had 12 trained subjects engage in moderate-intensity cardio and then consume either 1 1/2 cups of Wheaties and 1 1/2 cups of fat-free milk or two 20-ounce sports drinks. They concluded that when test subjects ate the cereal and milk combination, they experienced better postworkout recovery and increased protein synthesis than when they had the sports drinks.

When you consider the macronutrients involved, it makes sense. Cereal and skim milk is simply a low-fat, protein-and-carb meal. The scientists found that this combination boosts postworkout recovery and protein synthesis, which is exactly why we always recommend eating after you train. We would, however, change a few things for our muscle-loving readers.

First off, Wheaties is a whole-wheat cereal, so it has too much slow-digesting fiber to properly goose insulin levels. Instead, substitute your favorite childhood sugary cereal to get the fast-digesting carbohydrates and boost insulin as high as you can. (After workouts, this anabolic hormone helps refill glycogen stores and drives amino acids into muscles, where they repair damage and grow new tissue.) Second, we suggest adding a scoop of whey protein to the milk, which will not only increase the amount of protein from 20 to 40-plus grams but also ensure that you get the right ratio of whey and casein proteins.

Cereal Choices

In case you dont have any childhood cravings guiding your postworkout cereal selection, here are some options. We included Wheaties for comparison purposes.

Author: Jordana Brown
COPYRIGHT 2009 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning