Raisins offer similar performance benefits as sport chews for runners

A study compared the metabolic, performance, and gastrointestinal effects of eleven male runners supplemented with a natural food product (raisins) compared to a commercial product (sport chews). The runners completed three randomized trials of 80 minutes of treadmill running followed by a 5 kilometer time trial. Every 20 minutes, researchers measured each participant's heart rate, respiratory exchange ratio, blood lactate, serum free fatty acids, glycerol and insulin, plasma glucose and creatine kinase, gastrointestinal symptoms, and rating of preceived extertion. The treatment groups included runners supplemented with a 240 calorie serving of raisins or a 240 calorie sport chew containing 68% carbohydrates, 16% fat, and 16% protein. Additionally, there was a control group supplemented with only water.

The results showed that raisins and chews promoted higher carbohydrate oxidation and improved running performance compared to water alone. The raisin treatment group induced a lower energy contribution from carbohydrate oxidation and a greater contribution from fat compared to the chew treatment. Between the raisins and chews, running performance was similar, and there was minimal or no adverse gastrointestinal distress experienced during running by all treatment groups.

Too BW, Cicai S, Hockett KR, Applegate E. et al. Natural versus commercial carbohydrate suppplementation and endurance running performance. J Int Sports Nutr 2012 9(1):27.