Whey protein is a commonly ingested nutritional supplement amongst athletes and regular exercisers; however, its role in post-exercise rehydration remains unclear. Eight healthy male and female participants completed two experimental trials involving the ingestion of 35 g of whey protein (WP) or maltodextrin (MD) at the onset of a rehydration period, followed by ingestion of water to a volume equivalent to 150% of the amount of body mass lost during exercise in the heat. The gastric emptying rates of the solutions were measured using 13C breath tests. Recovery was monitored for a further 3 h by the collection of blood and urine samples. The time taken to empty half of the initial solution (T1/2) was different between the trials (WP = 65.5 ± 11.4 min; MD = 56.7 ± 6.3 min; p = 0.05); however, there was no difference in cumulative urine volume throughout the recovery period (WP = 1306 ± 306 mL; MD = 1428 ± 443 mL; p = 0.314). Participants returned to net negative fluid balance 2 h after the recovery period with MD and 3 h with WP. The results of this study suggest that whey protein empties from the stomach at a slower rate than MD; however, this does not seem to exert any positive or negative effects on the maintenance of fluid balance in the post-exercise period.
Keywords: albumin; exercise; fluid balance; gastric emptying; maltodextrin; recovery; rehydration; whey protein.