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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Bananas Are as Beneficial as Sports Drinks, Study Suggests

English: Bananas growing in a greenhouse in Ic...

English: Bananas growing in a greenhouse in Iceland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 29 May 2012 ScienceDaily article

Bananas have long been a favorite source of energy for endurance and recreational athletes. Bananas are a rich source of potassium and other nutrients, and are easy for cyclists, runners or hikers to carry….

…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.,,,

“The purpose of this study was to compare the acute effect of ingesting bananas versus a 6% carbohydrate beverage on 75-km cycling time trial performance, exercise-induced inflammation, oxidative stress and capacity, and changes in immune function in trained cyclists. Metabolomics is the measurement of small molecules or metabolites present in biological samples to elucidate the effect of a particular stimulus on metabolic pathways, and is being increasingly used in sports nutrition research [2][18]. The complex relationships between the use of whole foods or nutrient cocktails by athletes during exercise are best explored using the tool of metabolomics. To improve interpretation of underlying metabolic processes in the comparison between bananas and the 6% carbohydrate beverage, pre- and post-exercise blood samples were analyzed for non-targeted shifts in metabolites using gas chromatography mass spectrometry.”

“In conclusion, in this randomized, crossover study, cyclists ingesting BAN or CHO at a rate of 0.2 g/kg carbohydrate every 15 min (and one 0.4 g/kg carbohydrate dose pre-exercise) were able to complete 75-km cycling trials with no differences in performance measures. Changes in blood glucose, inflammation, oxidative stress, and innate immune measures were also comparable between BAN and CHO 75-km cycling trials, and similar to what we have previously reported for carbohydrate-fed athletes [2]. Shifts in serum metabolites following BAN and CHO 75-km cycling time trials were extensive, and indicated a similar pattern of increased liver glutathione production and fuel substrate utilization including glycolysis, lipolysis, and amino acid catabolism. FRAP was higher during BAN compared to CHO, but did not translate to diminished oxidative stress as measured with F2-isoprostanes. Serum levels of free dopamine increased in BAN compared to CHO, but concentrations were small with no demonstrable cardiovascular effects. Future studies with banana peel-based supplements will reveal if high oral dopamine intake is advantageous for endurance athletes using similar performance and physiological outcomes. In general, ingestion of bananas before and during prolonged and intensive exercise is an effective strategy, both in terms of fuel substrate utilization and cost, for supporting performance.”

May 31, 2012 - Posted by | Nutrition |

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