We’re crazy about science, we are big fans of I f-ing love science Facebook page.
We’re always on the lookout for improved ways to sustain our energy and improve our performance on and off the course. So, we were super excited to find two studies pointing to the simple banana outperforming sports drinks for energy.
Researchers at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab concluded that bananas may be a better option for endurance athletes to consume during exercise than traditional sports drinks (find the study here).
Bananas have long been a favourite source of energy for endurance athletes competing in events such as marathons, long distance cycling and triathlons. This is for good reason, they’re inexpensive, carbohydrate-rich, and a good source of potassium. But do they stack up against the sugar hit of a sports drink?
Researchers from ASU set out to answer this question based on sports performance, inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune function.
For the study, cyclists consumed either a cup of carbohydrate drink or half a banana every 15 minutes during a 75km simulated road race lasting between 2.5 and 3 hours. Researchers recorded their times and analysed blood samples taken before and after the exercise.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. David C. Nieman, was quoted:
“We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas.”
These benefits included a healthier blend of sugars, potassium, vitamin B6, and fibre.
Nieman also noted:
“there are a lot of athletes who don’t like the thought of drinking carbohydrate sports drinks, which are essentially flavoured sugar water.”
“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.”
So, next endurance race take fresh bananas and pack one of our Banana Chia bars. You’ll outperform your energy sports drinking friends by a few miles, just enough to eat your dust.
If you have your own tips for healthy optimal performance – we’d love to hear from you.