Raisin the Bar: How Nature’s Wrinkly Snack Could Speed Up Your Sprint

Runners, get ready to supercharge your performance! Munching on raisins might just hold the key to giving you that extra edge. The humble raisin has been shown to increase running speeds, providing a natural, affordable, and healthy option for athletes of all levels.

How can raisins benefit your running performance? Researchers at the University of California-Davis discovered that runners consuming raisins or sport chews before a 5k race finished one minute faster than those who only drank water. They also found that eating raisins and sports chews led to higher carbohydrate oxidation levels compared to water alone. This study was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Raisins vs Sports Chews

You may be wondering why you should choose raisins over the popular sports chews often marketed to athletes. The answer lies in the additional benefits that raisins offer. According to James Painter, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition research adviser for the California Raisin Marketing Board, “Raisins are a great alternative to sport chews as they also provide fiber and micronutrients, such as potassium and iron, and they do not have any added sugar, artificial flavor or colors.”

In addition to providing a natural source of energy, raisins also have a number of other advantages over sports chews:


When it comes to buying sports chews, the costs can quickly add up. Raisins, on the other hand, are an inexpensive alternative that can save you money without compromising on performance.


Raisins are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are an excellent source of natural sugars, such as fructose and glucose, that provide energy during exercise. Raisins also contain dietary fiber, vitamins, and essential minerals like potassium, calcium, and iron, which contribute to the overall health and well-being of an athlete.

No Added Chemicals

As a natural product, raisins do not contain any added sugars, artificial flavors, or colors typically found in sports chews. These additives can potentially interfere with an athlete’s performance and even cause gastrointestinal distress in some individuals.

Versatile and Convenient

Raisins require no prep time and are easy to carry, making them perfect for on-the-go snacking or pre-workout fuel.

Tips for Incorporating Raisins into Your Training

Now that you know the benefits of raisins for athletic performance, you may be wondering how to incorporate them into your training routine. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Pre-Run Fuel

Consume a small handful of raisins before your run to give you an extra burst of natural energy. You can also mix raisins with other carb-rich snacks, such as trail mix or granola, to keep your energy levels up during longer runs.

During Run Refueling

For longer runs or races, packing a small pouch of raisins can provide a quick and natural energy boost during your run when you start to feel fatigued. Additionally, their natural sugars can help prevent the “bonking” effect often experienced by runners nearing the end of longer races.

Post-Run Recovery

Don’t forget about the importance of post-run recovery. Consuming a mix of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of finishing your run is crucial to refuel your muscles and replenish your glycogen stores. Raisins can be combined with a protein source, such as Greek yogurt or a protein shake, to make a well-rounded recovery snack.

Additional Benefits of Raisins

In addition to their performance-enhancing qualities, raisins can provide numerous other health benefits:

Digestive Health

The high fiber content in raisins can help promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Brain Health

Raisins are high in antioxidants, which can help protect your brain from various conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline associated with aging.

Heart Health

Potassium found in raisins can help to regulate blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Bone Health

The calcium and boron in raisins can contribute to strong bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

In conclusion, incorporating raisins into your training routine is an easy, cost-effective way to enhance your running performance while also reaping a range of additional health benefits. So the next time you lace up your running shoes, remember to pack some raisins and watch your performance soar!