Bananas: better than sports drinks?31 May 2012
Bananas match sports drinks for performance and provide health benefits over sports nutrition drinks, according to a new peer reviewed study published in the Public Library of Science.
Researchers at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab in the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) found that bananas provided cyclists with antioxidants and a superior nutritional boost of fibre, potassium and Vitamin B6.
In the study, experienced 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 taken from the cyclists before and after the exercise were analysed for more than 100 metabolites – molecules associated with metabolism.
“We wanted to see which was more beneficial when consumed during intense cycling – bananas or a carbohydrate sports drink,” said Dr David C Nieman, the Dole funded research project’s lead.
“We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas. Bananas come pre-packaged with fibre, nutrients and antioxidants,” he 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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