Have you have ever wondered which is the best sports drink, energy bar, or gel? The answer is the best choice is the product that pleases your taste buds and settles well in your stomach. You simply need to experiment to determine which products (if any) work best for your body.
A multitude of businesses have jumped on the bandwagon to create sports foods that appeal to a variety of athletes, including those with special diets (such as gluten-free or vegan) to athletes who are just plain hungry and want a “healthier” cookie (most energy bars). While busy athletes enjoy the ease of using pre-wrapped sports foods, these commercial products tend to be more about convenience than necessity. Certainly, there is a time and place for these products, but “real” food (such as raisins, gummi bears, chocolate milk) can do the same job at a lower price. And please don’t underestimate the power of peanut butter, bananas, and honey.
Below is an extensive (but incomplete) list of various types of sports fuels. Perhaps the information will help you untangle the jungle of choices. Don't be swayed by a product's name; it might be more powerful than the sports food itself.
With Sodium: Gatorade, PowerAde, Edge Energy, Hydro-Boom!, GU2O, CytoMax, Infinit,
All natural, without dye/food coloring:
Carb BOOM! Electrolyte Drink, First Endurance EFS, HEED, Clif Quench, Recharge, Coconut Water
Extra sodium (if you plan to exercise for >2 hours in the heat):
Gatorade Endurance, PowerBar Endurance, E-Fuel, First Endurance EFS, Clif Shot Electrolyte Drink, E-Load, Hydro Pro Cooler, Motor Tabs, GU Brew Electrolyte, Infinit, UCAN, Powerbar Ironman Perform
Added protein (may reduce post-exercise muscle soreness):
Amino Vital, Perpetuem, Accelerade, Revenge Pro, UCAN
Sports drinks for dieters:
G2, PowerAde Zero, Ultima Replenisher, Propel, Nuun, Nathan Catalyst, Elixir
Gu, Carb-BOOM!, Clif Shot, Honey Stinger
Extra sodium: PowerBar Gel, Crank Sports e-Gel, EFS Liquid Shot, Gu Roctane
Added protein: Accel Gel, Hammer Gel, EFS Liquid Shot, Gu
Added caffeine: GU (most flavors), Rocktane (most flavors), Clif Shot Gel (Mocha, Double Espresso, Chocolate Cherry, Citrus, Strawberry); Carb-BOOM Chocolate Cherry, Hammer Gel Espresso, PowerBar Gel (Double Latte, Tangerine, Chocolate, Green Apple and Strawberry-banana); Honey Stinger Ginsting and Strawberry
SPORTS SNACKS FOR ENDURANCE EXERCISE
Jelly Belly Sports Beans, Gu Chomps, Clif Shot Bloks, Carb BOOM! Energy Chews, Sharkies, SPIZ, FRS Healthy Energy Chews
Amino Vital, First Endurance Ultragen, EAS Endurathon, Perpetuem, PowerBar Recovery Drinks, Recoverite, Endurox R4, Gatorade Nutrition Shake, Hormel's Great Shake, GNC's Distance, Clif Shot Recovery Drink, First Endurance Ultragen, Gu Brew Recovery
Clif Nectar, Clif Mojo, Lara Bar, Optimum, Honey Bar, Odwalla Bar, PowerBar Nut Naturals, KIND Bars, Zing Bars, NRG-Bar, Honey Stinger Bars, Kashi Bars, Peak Energy, Perfect 10, Gnu Bar, Raw Revolution Bar, Olympic Granola Bar, Pure Bar, Pro bar, Sun Valley Bar, Bonk Breaker Energy Bar
Caffeine-containing bar: Peak Energy Plus
Dairy-free: Clif Nectar, Clif Builder's, Olympic Granola, Pure, Bonk Breaker Energy Bar, Gnu Bar, Fit, Perfect 10, Larabar, AllerEnergy Bar, Soy Rocks Bar
Grocery store options: Nature Valley Granola Bar, Nutri-Grain Bar, Quaker Chewy Bars, Fig Newtons
Gluten-free: Larabar, Perfect 10, Hammer Bar, EnvirKids Rice Cereal Bar; Omega Smart Bars, Extend Bar Delight, Zing Bar, BoraBora Bar, Wings of Nature Bar, Elev8Me.
Kosher: Pure Fit, Larabar, Extend Bar, Balance Bar, HoneyBar
Meal replacement bar (with 10-15 g protein): Kashi Go Lean Bar, MetRx Mr. Big, MetRx Big 100 Colossal, Balance Satisfaction
Peanut-free: Soy Rocks, AllerEnergy bar, Larabar
PowerBar ProteinPlus, EAS Myoplex Delux, High 5 Protein Bar, Maximuscle Promax Meal, Tri-O-Plex, Clif Builder's Bar, Detour Bar, Honey Stinger Protein Bar, Pure Protein
Raw food: Raw Revolution, Pure Bar
Recovery bar (4:1 carb:pro ratio): PowerBar Performance
Soy-free: Larabar, Perfect 10, Clif Nectar, KIND Bar, Bumble, Gnu Bar, Raw Bar, Zing
Vegan: Pure Fit Bar, Larabar, Hammer Bar, Clif Builder's Bar, Pro Bar, Vega Whole Food Raw Energy Bar, Perfect 10, Soy Rocks Bar
Candy Bars: Marathon Bar, Detour Bar
Happy running, and may this post fuel you!