I love bananas. I put them in smoothies. I eat them as a snack. And I've just learned that bananas are just as good as sports drinks when it comes to supporting performance, according to a new study from researchers at the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory at the North Carolina Research Campus.
The study, which measured performance in 14 male cyclists, was funded through a grant provided by the Dole Food Company of Westlake Village, Calif., which is in the banana business. "Bananas vs. Sports Drinks as Energy Source for Athletes" concludes that bananas consumed during exercise provide the same amount of energy as sports drinks.
Bananas are also cheaper: the average sports drinks costs about $1.25 for a 20 oz bottle, while bananas cost around 45 cents per pound. (If you add a little peanut or almond butter to that banana, you can get more even more energy out of it.) Bananas are healthier. The biggest ingredients in sports drinks are water and high fructose corn syrup. The only thing that's wrong with bananas? Dumping a basket of them on the coach at the end of a big game won't look good for the cameras.