A study conducted by the Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab in the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) has revealed that bananas are healthier than sports drinks and are a rich source of potassium and other nutrients.
The bananas contained antioxidants not found in sport drinks as well as fiber, potassium and vitamin B6 with a healthier blend of sugar than sports drinks.
“We wanted to see which was more beneficial when consumed during intense cycling, bananas or a carbohydrate sports drink,” said Dr. David C. Nieman, director of the human performance lab and a member of the College of Health Sciences faculty at Appalachian.
“Bananas come prepackaged with fiber, nutrients and antioxidants,” said Nieman, adding the research translates to any exercise.
“The mode of exercise is not the issue. I think there are a lot of athletes who don’t like the thought of drinking carbohydrate sports drinks, which are essentially flavored sugar water,” he said. “This type of research shows that you can have healthier carbohydrate sources before and after exercise that will support athletic performance just as well as a sports drink,” Nieman said.
David C. Nieman, Nicholas D. Gillitt, Dru A. Henson, Wei Sha, R. Andrew Shanely, Amy M. Knab, Lynn Cialdella-Kam, Fuxia Jin. Bananas as an Energy Source during Exercise: A Metabolomics Approach. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (5): e37479 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037479