Meats, dairy, fish, eggs, beans – they have almost no carbs, and therefore have no effect on insulin – right? WRONG.

While protein foods do not raise blood sugars, they can and do raise insulin levels – which isn’t great for the fat burning endurance athlete.

SO – what to do?  Lets first get specific on PROTEIN.

Firstly, lets be clear – PROTEIN IS CRITICAL for endurance athletes. Recovery, muscle repair, immunity and hormonal balance are dependent on protein to function. The consistent advice is that athletes probably need, 1 – 1.5gr/Kg per day.

However, in 1997 a paper was published by Susan Holt on the insulin response of 38 foods. One of the findings in this paper was how much certain protein foods stimulated insulin. Dairy foods like milks, yoghurts and baked beans strongly stimulated insulin. Eggs and soft cheeses had the least effect, while beef and fish were somewhere in between.

SO… When is it best to use protein?

   Lets first recognize that the reason insulin spikes with protein, is that it’s insulin that helps transport the amino acids (protein) out of the blood and into muscles. So, focus more of your protein consumption during/after training and don’t snack on dairy between meals. Use the lower insulin-stimulating proteins like eggs, soft cheeses, and quality meats during your Fat-Training weekday sessions and rest days.

Finally, for training/racing over, 4 hours, we recommend taking Glutamine capsules every hour, for accelerated recovery.

You can read a lot more on accelerated recovery and optimal preparation for your ultra, and the role of protein, in the FREE How to Guide