2 July 2012
Why spend out on a sports drink when a banana and a bottle of water will do an equally good job? US researchers recently published a study (funded by Dole) that found just that. When cyclists were given equal amounts of carbs either as a sports drink or as bananas during a 75km simulated road race, there was no difference in performance. That’s great news for those who, like me, hate feeling ripped off by drink manufacturers selling essentially flavoured sugar-water. In the study, cyclists ate half a banana every 15 minutes (plus water). So, if you’re doing an hour’s training, you’d need 1 ½ to 2 bananas, a spend of around 40p, a saving of at least 80p – £2, compared with sports drinks. Hooray! As a (big) bonus, you’ll also be getting 8g of fibre, 800mg of potassium, 0.6mg vitamin B6 and 22mg of vitamin C. Bananas also have a healthier blend of sugars, say the Appalachian State University researchers. The GI is 51, which is regarded as medium to low. Other alternatives to sports drinks? Jelly beans and raisins (plus water) – previous studies have found they comparable performance benefits.
Reference: David C. Nieman, Nicholas D. Gillitt, Dru A. Henson, Wei Sha, R. Andrew Shanely, Amy M. Knab, Lynn Cialdella-Kam, Fuxia Jin. Bananas as an Energy Source during Exercise: A Metabolomics Approach PLoS ONE: Research Article, published 17 May