Peel This: Bananas Are as Good as Sports Drinks for Exercise
Tuck a banana in your waistband before your next long run or bike ride. Eating the fruit during your workout will fuel you as well as Gatorade, according to a new study from Appalachian State University.
Researchers had cyclists drink either a cup of carbohydrate sports drink or eat half a banana every 15 minutes for the duration of a simulated 75-kilometer (47-mile) race that lasted 2.5 to 3 hours. They analyzed blood samples taken from the participants before and after the ride, and found no difference in blood glucose levels or performance between the two groups.
"We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas," said study author David C. Nieman, DrPH, director of the human performance lab and a member of the College of Health Sciences faculty at Appalachian in a press release.
He pointed out that bananas are loaded with nutrients that aren’t in sports drinks, including antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6. Plus, bananas have a better blend of sugars than sports drinks.
You won’t want to pound back multiple bananas during a shorter sweat session—too much fiber can make you feel bloated (and then what do you do with the peel?). But having one an hour before is a perfect way to fuel a light workout. A small banana contains 90 calories and the quick carbs you need for exercise.
For more ideas on the best ways to eat for exercise and recovery, check out these 11 other fitness foods.
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