GROVE CITY, Pa. (WKBN) – The general consensus in sports is a pre-game meal rich in carbs fuels a better performance. Two Grove City College professors decided to check it out, and made an interesting discovery.
Dr. Phil Prins and Dr. Jeff Buxton, of Grove City exercise science, put together a study to check the impact of feeding or fasting on athletic performance.
Fifteen Grove City football players volunteered for testing: a 40-yard dash, vertical jump and cycling test.
Their performance was recorded two hours after eating, and after fasting 12 hours and 16 hours.
The result was surprising.
“None of those commonly assessed performance outcomes was negatively impacted even up to 16 hours of not eating,” Prins said.
“That’s a big deal because what we’ve kind been told all along is that, if you want to perform at a high level, you need to eat. You need to eat some form of carbohydrate,” Buston said.
There was some reduction in vertical jump results for those who had fasted on the shorter time. The longer fast was identical.
“And the results said there was no difference. The results said there was no difference in any of conditions,” Prins said.
The physical tests were high intensity and very short, similar to football, but the research found the body could handle the anaerobic activity without food.
“You don’t have to pigeonhole yourself to eating carbohydrates. You don’t have to force something in you prior to a performance just because it’s the way that they’ve always done things,” Buston said.
The professors presented their findings at a national conference and found a lot of surprise but feel the finding was well-received.
The study also gave the athletes a better understanding.
“There’s other sources of fuel that the body taps into, that they can use to maintain performance,” Buston said.
The study was done with just football players. The professors feel it would be interesting to see how the results would come out on women.
Next, the exercise science professors will look into a low carb versus high carb diet in performance.