Peanut Butter or Bananas - What is best for fuel on the course?

Many of us struggle to find the right food that helps us maintain our energy levels and stay mentally sharp for 18 holes of golf.  PGA Tour player Adam Scott will eat two sandwiches made of peanut butter and bananas.  One on the front nine and one on the back nine.  We asked some of the members of Nutritional Advisory Board to give their thoughts on this as a meal.

The Question we asked our board was, "Do you think two peanut butter and banana sandwiches are a good option for golfers during the round?"

John Berardi: Yes, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich strategy would be fine if, in addition to preventing hunger during your rounds, you were also interested in weight gain.  (Since 2 pb&j sandwiches can total 700-900 calories).  However, if you were interested in weight loss or simply weight maintenance, the calorie total here may be too much, assuming you're eating adequately for the rest of the day.  In this case, you may want to choose more nutrient dense snacks that don't contain as many calories.  Some of my athletes will carry some cut up fruits and veggies, jerky,  cheese strings, and a small bag of mixed nuts to snack on during their round.  Then, as long as they drink enough water to stay hydrated (about 500ml per hour depending on how much they're sweating), they are all set.

K.C. Craichy: First, remember that everyone is unique and a clinical study of one, so Adam could be the exception.  The short answer is that 2 bananas and 2 PBJ's should be enough to manage blood sugar, but leaves a lot to be desired nutritionally.  Bananas are a great golf snack. Peanut butter ranges from junk food to healthy food depending on if it is organic or a national brand with high-fructose corn sugar and hydrogenated oils.  If they choose to stay with that program then almond butter is better for several reasons.  It also depends on the quality of their breakfast and lunch at the turn so if they are saying no breakfast or lunch but have two PBJ's during the round it is not enough.  Even if high protein breakfast but no lunch it's not enough. Lastly the rest of the diet must provide for adequate amounts the 50+ essential nutrients required for life and for proper function and recovery not the least of which is protein/amino acids. 

Robert Yang: The only thing I like about the sandwich is that there is some fat and protein from the peanut butter.   There is an imbalance of protein versus carbs with this sandwich.  Most likely blood sugar will be up and down during the round. Also, the gluten in the bread will be an irritant to the intestinal tract and inhibit abdominal recruitment.

As you can read, there are some mixed feeling from our board on the value of this type of snack during the round.  As a fan of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, all I can say is it sure beats a hot dog and a beer!!

Best of Luck - Dr. Rose


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