A bowl of cereal may be as effective as a sports drink in aiding recovery after exercise, according to a US study.

Researchers at the American College of Sport Medicine asked 12 cyclists to fast for 12 hours and then take part in a two-hour cycling exercise. Afterwards, volunteers ate either wholewheat flake cereal with skimmed milk or a sports drink with carbohydrate.

The cereal was found to raise blood sugar levels to a greater degree than the sports drink. The researchers said they also believed the protein and carbohydrate content of a wholewheat cereal served with skimmed milk helped rebuild damaged muscle tissue.