Eye witness accounts from the dressing rooms at Leicester City and Sheffield United, among others, confirm that pro footballers have resorted to eating babies for pre-match fuel.
Fortunately it’s only the jelly variety being scoffed by the fistful prior to kick-off, in order to give players a fast-acting energy boost.
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“Although sugary foods like sweets are most effective when consumed at half-time, if a sound pre-match meal has not been eaten three hours before kick-off then a handful of these high-carbs will help,” explains Mayur Ranchordas, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition at Sheffield Hallam University and advisor to Bolton Wonderers.
Recent research from the US Journal of Nutrition has highlighted the effectiveness of fast-acting high-sugar snacks for athletes in need of a boost, a study that would be backed up by jelly baby munchers including European 200m silver medalist Christian Malcolm and former decathlete Dean Macey.
Jelly babies fall into the ‘simple’ carbohydrate category of food: unlike, say, pasta, a ‘complex’ slow-released carbohydrate, the babies’ sugar is converted to glucose almost instantly, fast-tracking energy to your muscles – and stopping your legs turning into jelly on the pitch.
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