Dairy-based preexercise meal does not affect gut comfort or time-trial performance in female cyclists

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2014 Oct;24(5):553-8. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0069. Epub 2014 Jul 14.


Some athletes avoid dairy in the meal consumed before exercise due to fears about gastrointestinal discomfort. Regular exclusion of dairy foods may unnecessarily reduce intake of high quality proteins and calcium with possible implications for body composition and bone health. This study compared the effects of meals that included (Dairy) or excluded (Control) dairy foods on gastric comfort and subsequent cycling performance. Well-trained female cyclists (n = 32; mean ± SD; 24.3 ± 4.1 y; VO(2peak) 57.1 ± 4.9 ml/kg/min) completed two trials (randomized cross-over design) in which they consumed a meal (2 g/kg carbohydrate and 54 kJ/kg) 2 hr before a 90-min cycle session (80 min at 60% maximal aerobic power followed by a 10-min time trial; TT). The dairy meal contained 3 servings of dairy foods providing ~1350 mg calcium. Gut comfort and palatability were measured using questionnaires. Performance was measured as maximum mean power during the TT (MMP10(min)). There was no statistical or clinical evidence of an effect of meal type on MMP10(min) with a mean difference (Dairy - Control) of 4 W (95% CI [-2, 9]). There was no evidence of an association between pretrial gut comfort and meal type (p = .15) or between gut comfort delta scores and meal type postmeal (p = .31), preexercise (p = .17) or postexercise (p = .80). There was no statistical or clinical evidence of a difference in palatability between meal types. In summary, substantial amounts of dairy foods can be included in meals consumed before strenuous cycling without impairing either gut comfort or performance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain* / etiology
  • Adult
  • Bicycling*
  • Dairy Products* / adverse effects
  • Diet*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meals*
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste
  • Young Adult