This is an interesting topic for sure! The study cited in this video looked specifically at replenishment of muscle glycogen, which is absolutely key to recovery. However, glycogen synthesis is only one of many recovery cascades, including conservation of lean mass, or muscle repair. This study also used a specific protocol of ingesting the recovery solution (eg. cho, pro + cho, cho + cho) every 30 minutes over the 4 hour recovery window in the experimental protocol, which, while effective, is not always realistic for folks fitting their training into a busy schedule. Also, note that two (out of 8! 25%!) participants withdrew from the study due to GI distress.
The graph shown in the video is misleading. If you read the actual study, the authors note that compared with the lowest-concentration CHO-only solution, both PRO+CHO and CHO+CHO showed significant increases in subsequent work capacity, but there was no significant difference between PRO+CHO and CHO+CHO. They also note that 1 (out of 6!) participants exhibited a decline in work capacity following intake of CHO+CHO solution.
If you only look at the graph, it seems like CHO+CHO had better outcomes visually, but the statistics say otherwise.
What the authors themselves conclude is that CHO+PRO is more effective than an equivalent fraction of CHO without PRO, but that the CHO+PRO was not more effective than an isocaloric equivalent of CHO only. In other words, more CHO is better, but adding protein to the mix also gets you there.
This study also looked at only men, only 6 subjects, and used treadmill running for the protocol, which mirrored an earlier study (Loon et al 2007) which found similar results using cycling: adding protein to the mix increases glycogen restoration compared to only CHO, unless you increase the total amount of CHO intake post-exercise, in which case you can achieve similarly significant increases as CHO+PRO.
I think although the video’s conclusion that CHO is more effective than CHO+PRO isn’t quite right (in light of the authors’ own analysis and conclusions) the main point of the video was to emphasize the importance of CHO intake post exercise. Many people think of “recovery” as “a protein shake” and overlook the importance of carbohydrates. In that regard, the study absolutely supports the importance of CHO intake to replenish glycogen.
I recommend a 4:1 CHO:PRO ratio because recovery is about more than just replenishing glycogen, and this is a daily training habit. In addition to glycogen replenishment, you want to conserve lean mass and trigger a variety of other recovery cascades. The 4:1 ratio helps serve as a signaling mechanism to the body that it’s time to recover and initiate adaptations. (The paper notes that part of the restoration of “work capacity” following the protocol could be due to beneficial effects of protein on the central nervous system, not just on insulin response that enables CHO uptake for muscle glycogen.) Studying these effects is extremely difficult to do, and while there is some conflicting evidence on the nitty gritty, there is a rich body of literature that supports a mix of protein with CHO for recovery signaling and glycogen replenishment.
In some cases, glycogen replenishment might be the most important factor: between stages of a stage race, for example, you’re more concerned with glycogen than lean mass conservation (but even then effects on CNS would be extremely important). But when it comes to consistent, daily training, you want to give your body the best chance to make all of the adaptations it needs: not only for muscle glycogen, but also lean mass and CNS.
The video takes one study of only six male runners (after 2 had to drop out due GI issues) that explores post-workout intake in light of ONLY glycogen, and concludes something other than what the authors of the study themselves conclude, for application to cyclists generally. Certainly there are sample size effects, sampling effects, and gender effects at the very least. While the study is fascinating in that it provides great fodder for future research directions, I don’t see it as sufficient to counter a broader body of research suggesting the benefit of including protein, in terms of practical application.