Bananas Edge Out Sports Drinks in Study

From the WebMD Archives

April 5, 2018 -- Bananas may be a better choice for athletes than sports drinks, a new study suggests.

Researchers compared the effects of carbohydrates consumed during sports and found that bananas provide comparable or greater anti-inflammatory and other benefits than sports drinks, The New York Times reported.

One downside of bananas may be bloating, according to the authors of the study published in the journal PLoS One.

It's known that eating or drinking carbohydrates during extended workouts helps people keep going for longer or at higher intensity and recover more quickly afterward, The Times reported.

The study, which included 20 competitive cyclists, was partly funded by Dole Foods, which sells bananas.

The ideal amount of banana to consume during exercise is unclear, but the researchers plan to explore that issue in future studies, and also to assess the effects of other fruits during exercise, The Times reported.

But it appears that for people who want a natural and inexpensive alternative to sports drinks, "bananas look pretty good," according to study lead author David Nieman, director of the human performance lab at Appalachian State University.