A Banana Can Replace Your Sports Drink, Suggests Study
Swap that sports drink with a banana - it’s a healthier, cheaper and more nutritious alternative, says study.
Are you someone who swears by your sports drink to get that energy boost?
Well, here’s some news for you then! A new study, conducted by the Appalachian State University's Human Performance Lab, stated that bananas offer the same energy boost as sports drinks.
The researchers also found that bananas, which were loaded with antioxidants, fibre, potassium and vitamin B6, were a healthier alternative to the sugar and chemical laden sports drinks. In addition to this, the fruit also helped the participants reload their store of electrolytes and carbohydrates.
The participants of the study were 20 cyclists who were asked to complete a 75-kilometre-bike ride on multiple occasions at the lab’s campus.
During one of their rides, they consumed only water and during others, they had eight ounces of a sports drink or half a banana along with water every 30 minutes.
The researchers extracted blood samples of the participants before the race, at multiple other points during the race and at intervals up to 45 hours after the entire activity.
These blood samples were tested for marks of inflammation and over 100 types of metabolites, molecules which are associated with metabolism. Usually, metabolites can help identify the stress levels of the body during and after a strenuous activity.
Is a Banana Worth the Calories?
As expected, the results were not surprising. The blood samples collected when the participants had consumed only water, showed high levels of inflammation, while the levels were low when they consumed sports drink or a fruit. The metabolite profiles of the participants also showed low levels of stress when they consumed carbohydrates, either from a sugary drink or a fruit.
While the study states that the energy boost provided by the banana and the sports drink was the same, the nutritional quotient of a banana is higher than that of a sugary drink. Bananas provided the participants a healthy dose of sugar, antioxidants, fibre, potassium and vitamins which were not found in sports drinks.
The researchers also stated that they are still unsure whether half a banana every 30 minutes during a strenuous activity is the standard amount or not.
Although there’s also “quite a bit of bloating” associated with consuming bananas, they still agree that it’s a natural, cheap and nutritious alternative to a sugary drink. The study was published in the online journal PLoS ONE.
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