You like beetroot right? Really? Too bad, perhaps, if you don’t because it has become something of a fad over the last year or so, joining other previously unsung oddities to become a member of the hallowed ‘super-food’ group with impressive (or at least impressive sounding) credentials. On the face of it adding beetroot or its derivatives to a sporting diet makes good sense; it’s abundantly rich in dietary nitrates which carries some quite strong evidence for reducing blood pressure – this, in turn, may help improve exercise efficiency (according to recent studies – more of which below) by increasing oxygen uptake. One way of consuming enough beetroot to possibly see results is by taking Beet It Sport Shots – little 70ml bottles of extract with a dash of lemon juice to help remove some of the associated ‘earthy’ taste. Cyclo took the plunge and put them to the test.
Now, true to say that our hearts seldom leap when we test something that carries the warning ‘may turn urine pink’, but so be it. First off, the taste: Beet It tastes uncommonly like, well…, beetroot (with a hint of lemon), so unless it’s the texture of the pink imp that usually puts you off this is unlikely to do anything to persuade you that beetroot now ranks up there with truffle or a good steak. In terms of improving performance? Naturally hard to say in any meaningfully empirical sense even after two weeks of daily consumption, but then much of the ‘evidence’ for benefits comes from worryingly low-key studies (very small test groups, no double-blind testing, exceptionally short test period and no study of long-term benefit).
If you buy into the ‘super-food’ idea, then giving Beet It a go will undoubtedly boost your dietary nitrates (and probably lower your blood pressure), but so too would making sure that your daily intake includes celery, cress, rocket and a host of other green leafy vegetables. Personally this isn’t something we’ll take to on a regular basis at least until there is a whole world of additional proof, and it’s done nothing to convince us that beetroot is anything but the devil’s food. Oh yes, and it turned our urine pink too…
Beet It Sport Shots cost £27 for 15, more details at www.beet-it.com