Bananas vs. sports drinks as an energy source

Bananas are one of the favourite sources of energy for endurance and recreational athletes. They are a rich source of potassium and other nutrients.

Research was performed at Appalachian State University's Human Performance Lab in the Kannapolis- North Carolina, USA and published in PLoS ONE has revealed additional benefits of eating bananas.

Researcher Dr. David C. Nieman said: "We wanted to see which was more beneficial when consumed during intense cycling - bananas or a carbohydrate sports drink. We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas."

The study has showed that bananas provided the cyclists with antioxidants not found in sports drinks as well as a greater nutritional boost, including fibre, potassium and Vitamin B6. They have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drinks.

For the study, trained cyclists consumed either a cup of carbohydrate drink or half a banana every 15 minutes during a 75-kilometer simulated road race lasting 2.5 to 3 hours. Blood samples were taken from the cyclists before and after the exercise and analysed at for more than 100 metabolites.

Dr. Nieman said: "This type of research shows that you can have healthier carbohydrate sources before and after exercise that will support athletic performance just as well as a sports drink." 

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