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(Q1) When taking bananas as an energy source during a match, how quickly does the body get benefit from the fructose sugar?
(A1) about bananas and fructose:
Bananas contain several sources of energy, including glucose, fructose,
starches and dietary fibre. If the banana is chewed well before
swallowing, a small amount of glucose and maltose will be absorbed by the
mouth almost immediately as enzymes begin to break down the starchy pulp.
Further sugars and starches will be digested to provide energy steadily over
the next one to two hours. The amount of time the fructose in the fruit
will take to be absorbed and broken down by the liver will depend upon a
number of factors, including how well the fruit has been chewed, whether a
drink has also been consumed which will help absorption, and the amount of
other food in the stomach which may delay gastric emptying into the small
intestine where more breakdown occurs and simple sugars are absorbed. If
the match is very competitive, the body's release of adrenaline in response
will divert blood from the stomach to the muscles and also delay gastric
(Q2) When playing in a TT tournament, with upto 10 matches spread out across 8 hours of play, what is it best to eat to maintain sugar levels, hydration levels and concentration levels.
(A2) Before match day, prepare for it over a couple of days by including plenty
of carb foods in meals to help build up glycogen stores, but don't cut back
on protein foods or fruit and veg.
On match day, start with a good breakfast, ticking three of the food group
boxes: e.g. scrambled egg or beans on wholemeal toast with fruit juice; or a
good cereal such as porridge, Weetabix, or Shreddies with milk and some
Take advantage of any lunchtime meal break or match break during the
competition to have a light meal such as a sandwich, fruit, muesli bar and a
drink. Choose high carb foods rather than high fat foods. If there is no
meal break and matches run end to end, consume flavoured milk drinks, fruit
and muesli bars as time allows.
During matches have a bottle of water, dilute squash or isotonic sports
drink available to maintain hydration. After matches, immediately refresh
with an isotonic sports drink, diluted squash drink, milk or flavoured milk
drink, and take the opportunity to relax so that the body can get to work
replacing glycogen stores and the mind can clear.
After the end of the tournament have a healthy early evening meal including
protein and carb foods and fruit and veg.
It is not possible to suggest quantities in a general reply like this, as
the requirements of a junior competitor differ greatly from an adult
competitor. An activity tracker could be used to find out how many calories
are burnt over a match day, to help work out how much of the replacement
fluids should be water, sports drinks, or flavoured milk.