Raisin' a sweat Why dried grapes are 'just as good as energy bars' at keeping you going during a workout
08:59 GMT, 26 July 2012
With Olympic coverage hogging the TV schedules over the next fortnight, viewers might be tempted to reach for energy bars in pursuit of a more healthy lifestyle.
But research suggests that a handful of raisins may be just as good for fuelling a workout.
Raisins can help power the body when exercising just as well as expensive sports nutrients bars, scientists believe.
Source of energy: Raisins can help power the body when exercising just as well as expensive sports nutrients bars, scientists believe
The dried grapes give athletes all they need during vigorous exercise, according to a study by researchers at the University of California-Davis.
The research team studied people running three miles, giving them either raisins, supplement bars or simply water.
Runners who ate raisins or bars ran the distance a minute faster on average than those who had only water.
Nutritious: Raisins are rich in potassium, important in regulating blood pressure, and their high fibre content makes them more filling than many other snacks
The results are published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
James Painter, nutrition research advisor for the California Raisin Marketing Board, said: 'Raisins are a great alternative to sport chews as they also provide fibre and micronutrients, such as potassium and iron, and they do not have any added sugar, artificial flavor or colours.
'As an added bonus, raisins are the most economical dried fruit according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so they are cost effective and convenient for use during exercise.'
The study is not the first academic exercise to explore the hidden powers of raisins.
Previous research has shown that people who ate raisins and started walking regularly had significant health benefits.
Raisins are rich in potassium, important in regulating blood pressure, and their high fibre content makes them more filling than many other snacks.
They are also a significant source of the antioxidants that interfere with cholesterol absorption and help fight disease.