Forget swigging on a sports drink before a workout, eating a banana will give you the same energy boost - and is better for you - claim a team of researchers.
Scientists from North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) wanted to see whether consuming a carbohydrate sports drink was more beneficial during intense exercise than a simple fruit snack.
However, study author Dr David Nieman told News Medical: “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, published in the PLoS ONE journal, tested the theory on a group of trained cyclists. Each was asked to consume either a cup of carbohydrate drink or half a banana every 15 minutes during a 75km race lasting between 2.5 to 3 hours.
Researchers discovered that bananas provided athletes with compounds – such as antioxidants – that are not found in sports drinks, as well as nutrition from fibre, potassium and vitamin B6.
They concluded that bananas contain a healthier mix of sugars needed to boost energy levels and performance, than conventional sports drinks.
“I think there are a lot of athletes who don't like the thought of drinking carbohydrate sports drinks, which are essentially flavored sugar water," explains Dr Neiman.
"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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