Tara Gidus

Running With Raisins

I ran the Paris marathon back in 2005 and they didn't have any sports drinks on the course.  Just water. For carbohydrates and electrolytes, they offered sugar cubes and dried fruit--prunes, apricots, etc.  At first I thought it was so strange, but as the race went on, I looked forward to that dried fruit.  It was delicious and worked well to give me the carbs I needed. 

Many runners turn to commercial sports snacks and drinks, but natural "whole foods" such as California raisins can work just as well as tried and true sports bars and gels!  The flavor and texture variety can add an exciting boost to your typical workout snacks.

Natural Nutrition

California Raisins are an all-natural, dried-by-the-sun, no-added sugar food that you can feel good about eating.  Raisins are fat free, cholesterol free, and packed with antioxidants to promote heart and colon health!  Just ¼ cup of raisins provides you with one serving of fruit and 31 grams of carbohydrates. 

As opposed to candies or sports gels, raisins give an added nutrient punch of vitamins and minerals, while still providing the necessary glucose to keep your blood sugar consistent during a long workout.  California raisins contain natural, easy to digest sugars making them an ideal source of all natural energy for the endurance runner in you! 

Also try other whole food energy sources such as fresh bananas, orange slices, Fig Newtons, and more.

Running Research

A research study of eleven competitive male runners compared the use of natural foods such as raisins to commercial carbohydrate supplementation in endurance activities. The study found that ingestion of raisins during a workout had similar performance effects as commercial sports chew products and that both products improved running time trial performance over consumption of water only.  A second study of cycling athletes also showed that raisins and commercial sports gels are comparable and have similar metabolic effects.   

Don't forget to train your gut! Raisins were found to have similar GI effects as commercial products, and vary for every individual. Try raisins out for yourself during training prior to race day and see what amount works best for you! 

Convenient Fuel Boost

Raisins can be purchased in bulk or in perfectly prepackaged portions.  They are a cost effective source of carbohydrate too!  Easily store California raisins in your fuel belt or running shorts (in a baggie!) for a natural fuel boost.

Comments or questions? Tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.