composition of a pre-event meal has been shown to influence the
performance during athletic events that require a high level of
endurance in adults. In this study we compared the effect of two
pre-event snacks (one including sun-dried raisins) on activity
levels during a soccer match and blood levels of glucose (blood
sugar), insulin and lactic acid following the match.
Fourteen boys and girls, 10-12 years, and experienced soccer players,
consumed one of two snacks of equal energy content (350 kcal)
one hour prior to the a soccer match. One snack consisted of a
bagel with 12 oz lemonade drink and was high in carbohydrates
and contained negligible protein or fat. The other comprised 56g
of sun-dried raisins (2 oz) of and 31g (1 oz) of dry roasted,
unsalted peanuts and had moderate carbohydrates, some fat and
protein. The players’ blood samples were collected before
they consumed the snack and immediately after the soccer match.
When the players ate the raisin/peanut snack, blood insulin level
dropped and their blood sugar rose less compared to when they
had the bagel/lemonade snack. The lower blood sugar and insulin
levels after the raisin/peanut snack signifies a more steady,
sustained fuel supply to the muscle, not an initial spike followed
by a drop, often seen with snacks high in carbohydrate/sugar only.
Lower insulin levels are advantageous because high levels of circulating
insulin can promote the laying down of fat and may lead to insulin
resistance, a concern among US children today, where rates of
obesity and type 2 diabetes are increasing.
The results of this study suggest that every effort should be
made to promote snacks, such as the raisin and nut combinations,
that supply steady fuel levels and maintain low levels of circulating
insulin for children’s activities. Such snacks are good
not only for the optimal performance of the activity but may also
be useful in preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes, so pervasive
among America’s youth.
W, Spiller GA, Bolen K, Miller B, Myll J. The effects of two pre-event
snacks in young soccer players playing a soccer match. Medicine
and Science in Sports and Exercise 34: 5234, 2002.