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Consuming a high-protein diet may negatively impact the gut
New research has found that microbial instability in the gut could hinder the performance of elite endurance athletes, and that short-term, high-protein diets are associated with this type of imbalance.
Researchers from across the UK analysed the performance and gut health of a group of well-matched, highly trained endurance runners, to explore the impact of both high-protein and high-carbohydrate diets.
The study found that in those following a high-protein regime, this resulted in a disturbance in the stability of the gut microbiome. This was also accompanied by a 23.3% reduction in time trial performance.
Analysis found a significantly reduced diversity and altered composition of the gut phageome, as well as higher levels of certain types of virals and bacterial compartments. Those participants whose gut microbiome was more stable performed better during time trials.
Gut imbalance impacts different people in different ways, but can manifest itself in acute symptoms such as cramps or nausea. As there is cross-talk between the gut and the brain, authors suggest this could be important.
Those following a high-carbohydrate diet resulted in an improved time trial performance of 6.5%.
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