Sports-formulated jelly beans were proven just as effective as popular sport drinks and gels in maintaining blood sugar levels and improving exercise performance among competitive endurance athletes who participated in a study by researchers from the University of California at Davis Sports Medicine program.
Cyclists and triathletes in the study completed a series of four 10 kilometer time trials while ingesting three different kinds of carbohydrate supplements (Sport Beans jelly beans, sport drinks and gels) or water only. The athletes finished time trials 38 seconds faster with Sport Beans than with water and slightly faster than users of sport gels and drinks. In addition, the athletes consuming Sport Beans completed the time trials with the highest average “power outputs”, the amount of force applied to the bicycle pedals to go faster, with Sports Beans. The study also showed that Sport Beans were just as effective as gels and sport drinks in maintaining blood glucose levels and improving exercise performance without causing a spike and crash.
No study has previously assessed the benefits of sport gels or Sport Beans jelly beans. The UC Davis researchers compared the effects of three different forms of carbohydrate supplementation (drink, gel and Sport Beans jelly beans) versus water only during an 80-minute period of moderately intense exercise, followed by a 10K time trial. The subjects were 16 healthy, nonsmoking competitive male and female cyclists and triathletes between the ages of 23 and 45.
Sport Beans are formulated with 25 grams of carbohydrates, electrolytes and vitamins (unlike standard jelly beans). Although a variety of factors contribute to fatigue during prolonged exercise, it is believed that low blood glucose levels can play a role. After one hour of intense exercise, the amount of stored carbohydrate in muscle and liver tissue begins to deplete and blood sugar levels can drop, leading to fatigue. Previous research has shown that consuming carbohydrate supplements during exercise can improve endurance performance by maintaining blood glucose levels and muscle carbohydrate stores.
The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetic Association suggest 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate be ingested per hour for moderate-intensity exercise lasting more than one hour. Based on this study, the UC Davis Sports Medicine Program recommends that athletes consume about one half of a 1-ounce sized bag of sports-formulated jelly beans for every 20 minutes of exercise, depending on body size.
More on clinical study results
In addition to improving speed in subjects, Sport Bean users generated higher power output vs. water-only subjects. Sport Beans also proved as effective as gels and sport drinks in maintaining blood glucose levels during the test.
*Comparison of Type of Carbohydrate Supplementation and Exercise Performance; University of California at Davis; Dec. 2006; Liz Applegate, PhD,; Gretchen Casazza, PhD; Caitlin Campbell, MSC; Diana Prince, BS; Marlia Braun, RD; Eeric Heiden, MD; Massimo Testa, MD.