News Service

September 24, 1998

Doug King, College of Education, (515) 294-8429
Rick Sharp, College of Education, (515) 294-8650
Cathy Curtis, College of Education, (515) 294-8175
Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University researchers have shown that chicken noodle soup is good for you -- especially if you're an athlete.

Researchers in ISU's Health and Human Performance Department of the College of Education say that eating chicken noodle soup rehydrates the body better than drinking plain water. The results also suggest that chicken broth and chicken noodle soup increase the body's fluid restoration better than popular sport drinks.

For the study, researchers first induced dehydration in participants through a combination of mild exercise and heat exposure. The participants then rehydrated by drinking one of the following: water, chicken broth, chicken noodle soup, or a typical sport drink.

When the participants consumed chicken noodle soup or chicken broth, their blood volume was restored more completely than when they ingested either plain water or the sports drink.

"We think that the combination of carbohydrates and electrolytes in the chicken noodle soup improves the recovery of blood volume after dehydration," said Melinda Ray, who worked on the study as part of her Ph.D. dissertation research at ISU.

The study indicated that although exercise performance was not assessed following the rehydration process, it is possible that the improved rehydration following soup ingestion may enhance exercise tolerance during subsequent exercise.

"If you begin exercise with a well-maintained blood volume, it is likely you will have less stress on your cardiovascular system and your body will be better able to regulate your temperature" said Doug King, an associate professor in ISU's Department of Health and Human Performance, who led the study.

It also is possible that chicken noodle soup may have additional benefits for the athlete. "The presence of carbohydrate in the soup may allow athletes to restore their body's carbohydrate stores more rapidly and thus improve exercise performance," Rick Sharp, an associate professor in the department and a co-investigator in the study, said.

A paper about the study will be highlighted in the October issue of the "Journal of Applied Physiology." The study was supported by Campbell Soup Company.


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