Why you may want to replace your sports drink with a banana

New study suggests banana offers many performance benefits.
 
So, you’ve got an intense workout planned–a run, bike ride, or gym session–what do you take for in-activity fuel? Sports drink, gels, chews, bars? New research suggests you may be best served by a good old-fashioned banana.
 
Research conducted at Appalachian State University's Human Performance Lab in the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus has revealed numerous benefits provided by the banana versus a carbohydrate sports drink.
 
To determine which was more beneficial when consumed during intense exercise, Dr. David C. Nieman, director of the human performance lab and a member of the College of Health Sciences faculty at Appalachian, tested cyclists during an intensive session.
 
"We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas," Dr. Nieman said. The bananas provided the cyclists with antioxidants not found in sports drinks as well as a greater nutritional boost, including fiber, potassium and Vitamin B6, the study showed. In addition, bananas have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drinks.
 
Nutrition Information
1 Med. Banana
Calories: 110

Fat: 1g

Magnesium: 34mg

Potassium: 450mg

Carbohydrate: 30g

Dietry fiber: 3g

Sugars: 19g

Protein 1g

Vit. A 81 IU

Vit. C 9 mc
 
12 oz Gatorade

Calories: 80

Fat: 0g

Magnesium: 0mg

Potassium: 45mg

Sodium: 160g

Carbohydrate: 21g

Dietry fiber: 0g

Sugars: 21g

Protein 0g

Vit. A 0

Vit. C 0
 
The study, funded by Dole Foods, has been published in the peer-reviewed online journal PLoS ONE published by the nonprofit Public Library of Science.
 
For the study, trained 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 analyzed at the NCRC Metabolomics Laboratory for more than 100 metabolites -- molecules associated with metabolism.
 
Researchers believe the benefits will be the same for any athlete doing any form of exercise. So, whether you’re heading out to the slopes, the cross country trail, or the hiking path this winter, consider bringing along a banana.