In one corner, a scientifically engineered portable energy source, containing a precise amount of easily digestible and fast-acting carbohydrates. In the other, the humble banana - a favourite of sport stars the world over, perfected by millions of years of fruitarian evolution. Both promise an energy kick, both are banana-flavoured. We asked Renee McGregor - sports nutritionist and author of Training Food - to judge who comes out on top in this box-office bananza.
A REAL BANANA
BANANA FLAVOURED ENERGY GEL
The artificial sweetener used here – Stevia – gave the gel an unpleasant flavour. There are also a lot of ingredients in this gel for something that is so-called ‘natural’, and, while it claims to have no added sugars, it does contain maltodextrin and fructose. Fructose is a carbohydrate and a ‘simple sugar’.
A medium banana provides 80kcal and 25g carbs. In comparison, the gel contains 87kcal and 22g carbs, so there is little difference between the two. Bananas clearly only contain natural sugars, such as sucrose, fructose and glucose, all fuels processed for energy.
"While I can understand that some individuals may enjoy the taste of the Stealth Real Fruit Banana Energy Gel," says Renee, "I can’t find any reason to choose this over real fruit, unless you’re looking for a more portable energy boost."