Do Bananas Beat Sports Drinks?
This week in head-to-head competition: Sports drink vs. Banana
The matchup: Researchers from Appalachian State University took trained cyclists and simulated a 2.5- to 3-hour intense race, giving them either half of a cup of sports drink to sip or half of a banana to munch in 15-minute intervals. Blood samples were taken to monitor metabolism.
The results: "We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas," said Dr. David C. Nieman, director of the human performance lab and a member of the College of Health Sciences faculty. Bananas not only had a healthier blend of sugars, but they also provided an additional nutritional boost—antioxidants, fiber, potassium and Vitamin B6. These results don't just matter for cyclists, Nieman said—a banana is a superior refueling option for any endurance athlete.
The shot below the belt: “Sports drinks are, essentially, just sugar water,” Nieman added.
Banana: 1; Sports drink: 0.