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HomeSuperfoodWhat’s Higher? Bananas Versus Vitality Gels as Race Gas – RUNIVORE

What’s Higher? Bananas Versus Vitality Gels as Race Gas – RUNIVORE

I’ve run ultramarathon races fueled virtually solely by bananas and I’ve run my greatest marathons fueled solely by gels. Slightly disclosure: I’m not an expert athlete, however I’ve received 4 100k extremely marathons, alongside a dozen different ultras, and over 50 marathons underneath my belt. On the time of this writing my marathon PB is 3:43 (however I’m aiming for a 3:30) and my greatest 100k path race time is over 13 hours.

For my part bananas are an ideal supply of gas for lengthy and grueling ultramarathon races however they must be supplemented by extra salt and different actual meals sources, whereas power gels are the most effective stand alone gas supply for lengthy however quick races like marathons and 21k races. On this article we’ll examine the 2 fueling methods and summarize a few of the key variations.

Banana vs Energy Comparison as Race Fuel

When You Ought to Contemplate Bananas as Racing Gas

Let’s begin with the apparent, you shouldn’t contemplate bananas as a racing gas until it can really be offered by the race organizer on the checkpoints. In any other case, you’ll be lining up at first line with 4 bananas stuffed in your racing shorts (a couple of pound of bananas), simply to switch the power you would get from 4 power gels (120 grams). You’ll be able to normally verify the race web site of larger occasions and see what will likely be offered on the checkpoints and the space between the checkpoints.

Banana Nutrition Profile

Banana Vitamin Profile as a Racing Gas

You’ll be able to check out the USDA FoodData Central to get an entire image of the vitamins contained in bananas. For our objective we will likely be trying on the key components that sports activities and vitamin scientists have decided are essential in immediately’s power gels. Particularly we’ll check out the categories and portions of carbohydrates and electrolytes in bananas.

Carbohydrate Profile and Caloric Density in Bananas vs. Vitality Gels

A mean medium (virtually 7 inch or 17 centimeter) banana weighs about 110 grams. Listed here are some key details concerning the carbs in our banana:

  • It accommodates about 20 grams of carbohydrates, primarily sugars and the sugars are primarily glucose and fructose. Typical power gels (taking GU for instance) additionally comprise about 20 grams of carbohydrates however the principle parts could fluctuate between some mixture of maltodextrin, glucose or fructose. So the sugar content material is okay and it’s one motive why so many races present bananas throughout their occasions.
  • It’s going to give you roughly 93 kcal of power which can also be inside a suitable vary of energy per serving, however there’s a BIG BUT. You would need to devour and digest a complete banana to get these 93 energy into your physique. Whereas a 30 gram gel (about 1/4 the load of the banana) accommodates the identical and even better quantity of power.
Electrolyte Profile of Bananas vs. Vitality Gels

Bananas are the kings of potassium however they lack the enough quantity of sodium when in comparison with power gels. Right here’s the breakdown:

  • The identical medium measurement banana accommodates simply over 400 mg of potassium whereas power gels solely comprise 40 mg of the nutrient. Even accounting for the scale distinction, bananas are a lot richer in potassium than power gels.
  • There may be just one mg of sodium in a medium measurement banana, making it far insufficient for replenishing all of the salts that depart your physique within the type of sweat throughout endurance actions. Vitality gels comprise 50 instances that quantity. For those who do go along with the banana solely technique then bear in mind to additionally absorb some salts in one other format.
An Except for an Apparent Banana Shill – the Chiquita Banana Individuals

Whereas researching bananas as a race gas for this text I bumped into some propaganda which I feel is price sharing from the banana-lover at Chiquita Banana. They level out the next tidbit which is price sharing:

bananas are wealthy in vitamin B6, which helps to transform carbohydrates into usable power. Working is an cardio sport, so having a very good supply of simply accessible power to eat earlier than a run is necessary. And don’t neglect {that a} banana will assist to take care of the identical glucose ranges as a sports activities drink!


Some power gels, like Honey Stinger additionally comprise vitamin B6, so plainly sports activities nutritionist at these properly established corporations agree.

Conclusions and Suggestions

Bananas are superior, and they’re one in all nature’s greatest sources of power, virtually seemingly engineered for us endurance athletes. They will undoubtedly be a part of a fueling technique when doing tremendous lengthy (and slower) endurance occasions, ones the place additionally, you will have an opportunity to complement them with salt and extra calorie dense meals. For marathons and different quick endurance occasions, we advocate you persist with power gels for optimum outcomes.



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