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Sports dietician breaks down effectiveness of Skittles in fueling Seahawk Marshawn Lynch

Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch's play on the field has become synonymous with Skittles, his candy of choice that he munches on the sidelines. But could it really help his play? (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch’s play on the field has become synonymous with Skittles, his candy of choice that he munches on the sidelines.

This week, Lynch opened up about his love for the colorful candy that he says sprouted in his childhood days playing football.

“My mom used to give them to me when I was a little guy, when I first started playing football. I just kind of kept doing it. Then when I got to high school, my stomach used to get upset, and then I guess the sugar from the candy used to settle my stomach, so then I just started eating it whenever my stomach got upset,” he told NFL Japan.

While Lynch’s sensational Skittle-fueled runs might say the candies are working, KIRO Radio’s Morning News wanted to know if there is really any medicinal or performance-enhancing value to the sweet.

Sports dietician and nutrition expert Emily Edison says there could be a few factors contributing to the Skittles’ apparent effectiveness for Lynch.

“Is there a psychological advantage from eating something that your mama gave you, that she said was magic pills, it’s going to make you run faster and be stronger on the field, is there a psychological advantage to that?” Edison asks. “I think yeah, there might be.”

“The other thing is, you know our athletes do need to have some sort kind of sugar or glucose coming in from food while they’re playing,” says Edison. “The Skittle candy does have that. It does have glucose in it, it has a little bit of fructose as well and those things together are going to give you a little extra energy on the field.”

There are a few key ingredients however, when considering a good fuel for athletes, that might be missing from the candy.

“There are two things though that the Skittles are missing that we want to really key in on, and that is sodium and potassium, as well as water. An athlete, when (they’re) on the field, they definitely need to have glucose, sodium, potassium and water in order to be at their best.”

Morning News host Dave Ross says it sounds like there’s a hole in the market for a Skittle with these additives.

“I’m with you,” says Edison. “I think we need to reformulate the Skittle and add some salt and a little potassium and take out those artificial colors and flavors.”

Little league coach and Morning News Anchor Chris Sullivan wonders whether the good merits of Skittles are enough to let his son take a handful mid-game.

Edison says while a little bit of candy is not going to hurt, there are healthier options for athletes already on the market.

“What I would recommend is looking at some other products, like an all-natural sports drink,” says Edison. “We have a fantastic one right here in Seattle made by Golazo, a Seattle-based company, all natural ingredients. It has the glucose. It has the sodium and potassium, also a great hydrator. That way your athlete is getting something that includes all the ingredients they need, but it’s an all-natural, healthy version.”

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