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Study: Bananas as Workout Fuel

George Doyle / Stockbyte / Thinkstock

If you’re looking for another food option during strenuous workouts or races, bananas may be a good choice, according to a new Dole-funded study [ScienceDaily.com].

Appalachian State University researchers had cyclists drink either a cup of a sports drink or eat half a banana every 15 minutes during a 46.6-mile simulated road race (about 2.5 to 3 hours duration). They found that the athletes performed just as well when they fueled with bananas as they did with sports drinks. They also found that the banana was more antioxidant-rich, loaded with vitamins, and contained healthier sugars.

“Sports drinks and bananas both offer the necessary carbs to fuel a race, but bananas don’t provide the fluids or sodium that you get from a sports drink,” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research at Core Performance. “If you want to use bananas as fuel, make sure you’re getting enough fluids from water (you don’t want to lose more than two percent of your body weight in sweat) and sodium from another source, especially if you’re a salty sweater or prone to cramping.”

For more information on workout nutrition, read “The Science of Workout Nutrition.”

Tags: Hydration, Outdoor Recreation, Health, Cycling, Running, Food, Race