Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Energy drinks - the differences...

IanTrcpIanTrcp Posts: 761
Somewhat inspired by LiversedgeM of this parish I have been researching energy drinks etc with long rides (eg the Etape) in mind. I have discovered a few things, and as ever, identified some questions.

Last year I gave up using SIS Go as I just can't drink more than two bottles of it before the sugariness and cloying taste start to disgust me. I started using the Torq product instead. This, certainly in Pink Grapefruit form, is distinctly less sweet and I can manage a 6% bottle an hour for 4 or 5 hours. However this is only 150kCal or so per hour/bottle which is simply not enough, even if augmented with hourly gels, so I've been looking at the options to change again.

Leaving aside the question of taste for a moment, I can see that PSP22 can be used in much higher concentration than Torq or Go. 10% seems to be the starting level with higher concentrations possible. An SIS 800ml bottle has markings upto 17%. At 10%, an 800ml bottle should provide close to 300kCal - roughly double what I'm getting from Torq.

Have I understood this properly?
Is there some reason why PSP is useable in much higher concentrations than Torq?
Are there other products like PSP that can provide many kCals/bottle?
Is all of this science or mainly marketing? :wink:
How do you get enough carbs on long rides (say 7hrs+)?

All thoughts / contributions welcomed!

Posts

  • dealdeal Posts: 857
    IanTrcp wrote:
    How do you get enough carbs on long rides (say 7hrs+)?

    Eat some real food
  • IanTrcpIanTrcp Posts: 761
    deal wrote:
    IanTrcp wrote:
    How do you get enough carbs on long rides (say 7hrs+)?

    Eat some real food

    Sure. Can be hard on an event like the Etape though. Anything you take can turn to mush in the heat, and the food stops can't really be relied upon. So I plan to be self sufficient and count anything hunted down en route as a bonus...
  • pianomanpianoman Posts: 706
    Look at what an energy drink REALLY does.

    Some are just carbs, meaning they don't help with usage of your fat stores. High5 Energy Source Xtreme uses choline and caffeine amongst other ingredients which help burn fat stores, giving you even more energy. It's especially helpful in the heat.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    IanTrcp wrote:
    Is there some reason why PSP is useable in much higher concentrations than Torq?
    Are there other products like PSP that can provide many kCals/bottle?
    Is all of this science or mainly marketing? :wink:

    There's no reason the Torq products cannot be used at higher concentrations, the ingredients are much the same, and you can almost certainly digest them at 15% or more. Simple sugar drinks are generally (depends on the individual of course) only digestible up to 6%, maltodextrin, and malto+fructose are digestible up to 15% or more.
    IanTrcp wrote:
    How do you get enough carbs on long rides (say 7hrs+)?

    Any ride that long will have to be done at such an easy pace relative to your maximum, that's your body will be digest anything easily, there's no reason to take Sport Drinks other than convenience (and cost if you make your own sport drink) you could probably eat a roast dinner and digest it without discomfort. So as someone said, it regular food. Especially as with time of that duration, adding in both Fat and Protein to the food is probably a very good idea.

    For the Marmotte, there's really no way you can be self sufficient in both water and calories, you'd be carrying way too much! What you could do is make a bottle of energy paste - a mix of malto/protein/fructose in a bottle at about 80%, and then take this paste with water to wash it down with regularly, that will allow you to carry a lot of calories, but you will still need to rely on water from outside sources. You should also look at solid foods though, Energy Bars, carry a lot more bang for their weight, and on a 7 hour ride, you should be able to eat them comfortably.

    Pianoman - Choline is believed to be something to deal with neuro-muscular fatigue (the brain can no longer send the signals to activate the muscles) and I don't know of any evidence that it helps you "burn fat". And caffeine in sufficient doses to help "burn fat", research suggests is much better done with a pre-ride dose a few times the size of what's provided in the drink.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • richaricha Posts: 2,020
    Ian,

    I will be using Torq x2, High5 Energy Source x4 & High5 Xtreme x2 at the Marmotte this weekend.

    With the above combined with a gel & bar every 2 hrs this is as much carbs as the body can take on easily (90g / 360 KCals).
  • IanTrcpIanTrcp Posts: 761
    jibberjim wrote:
    There's no reason the Torq products cannot be used at higher concentrations, the ingredients are much the same, and you can almost certainly digest them at 15% or more. Simple sugar drinks are generally (depends on the individual of course) only digestible up to 6%, maltodextrin, and malto+fructose are digestible up to 15% or more.

    Hmmmm..... Torq say:

    It is not recommended that you mix TORQ energy NATURAL FLAVOURED on its own above 9% carbohydrate or you will overdose on electrolytes, so during cooler weather you can add TORQ energy NATURAL if you want to run a higher concentration.

    So it looks like I can add unflavoured Torq to bulk up the carb levels. This sounds like a very interesting avenue to explore, although I wonder why the reference to cooler weather is in there???
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,158
    deal wrote:
    IanTrcp wrote:
    How do you get enough carbs on long rides (say 7hrs+)?

    Eat some real food
    bananas?
  • r3 guyr3 guy Posts: 229
    I have recently discovered hammer nutrition, pretty good stuff it seems, pricey but you get what you pay for.

    Seems a lot of top athletes use this

    http://www.hammernutritionuk.co.uk/

    One of their drinks includes fatty acids and protein – see below

    Perpetuem - This newer product takes the concept of long-distance fueling to the max. We designed it primarily for extreme endurance events lasting about six hours to many days. Perpetuem contains 75% carbohydrates (from long-chain maltodextrins—no added simple sugars), 13% fatty acids from a specially made long-chain lyso-lecithin, and nearly 10% soy protein. A small portion of fat seems to cue your body to more liberally release its fatty acids stores, which account for up to 70% of one's energy requirements in long bouts of exercise. A little fat in the fuel also slightly slows the rate of digestion and thus promotes “caloric satisfaction,” another attractive plus during primarily aerobic ultra-long distance events. Perpetuem provides maximal benefits at an aerobic pace (under 70% MHR).
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    When I've tried to use energy drink products at 10% concentration or greater I've found it difficult to drink them. I have read a bit about them since and it seems that 10% is about as high as you can go, even using long chain polymers.

    SIS probably put the markings on their bottles to encourage over use of their products

    I do long distance (300/400/600km) audax events and use regular breaks for solid real food ( not an option on etape style rides ) and

    1) Nuun tablets in water. No nutrition but excellent for electolytes and hydration
    2) All Sports Amino Load. Yeah I know it is supposed to be a recovery drink
    3) Homemade flapjack
    4) Hammer nutrition anti fatigue caps. Supposedly with trace elements that increase the use of energy from amino acids

    In the past I've used 1:6 protein powder vs maltodextrine, that worked ok. But I occassionally got stomach problems which I put down to the aspartamine in the protein powder.

    Next year I might see what cytomax is like, that seems like an interesting product
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    IanTrcp wrote:
    jibberjim wrote:
    There's no reason the Torq products cannot be used at higher concentrations, the ingredients are much the same, and you can almost certainly digest them at 15% or more. Simple sugar drinks are generally (depends on the individual of course) only digestible up to 6%, maltodextrin, and malto+fructose are digestible up to 15% or more.

    Hmmmm..... Torq say:

    It is not recommended that you mix TORQ energy NATURAL FLAVOURED on its own above 9% carbohydrate or you will overdose on electrolytes, so during cooler weather you can add TORQ energy NATURAL if you want to run a higher concentration.

    So it looks like I can add unflavoured Torq to bulk up the carb levels. This sounds like a very interesting avenue to explore, although I wonder why the reference to cooler weather is in there???

    Ah sorry, yes, I forgot they pumped their energy drink with electrolytes - not necessary, not helpful, since the number of calories, and the amount of salt you need are not correlated at all. Torq natural unflavoured is nothing but maltodextrin, so please don't buy it from them, it's crazy expensive for a very basic ingredient.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    As I'd run out of SIS, jells etc. I decided to do an 80 miler against the clock on water and sandwiches, a bit of flapjack and a banana. Never, ever again. I probably went off too fast but on 50 miles I was just dead, and had a hell of a job raising my game again. Hm. That taught me a lesson. Really enjoyed the first 50 :lol:
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,676
    jibberjim wrote:
    I forgot they pumped their energy drink with electrolytes - not necessary, not helpful, since the number of calories, and the amount of salt you need are not correlated at all. Torq natural unflavoured is nothing but maltodextrin, so please don't buy it from them, it's crazy expensive for a very basic ingredient.
    Torq make a clear distinction between the products with and without electrolytes. If you want half the electrolyte content use it 50/50 with Torq natural (which as you say is plain maltodextrin), as the previous quote from the website suggests.

    The flavoured versions have the maltodextrin+fructose carb mix (which is apparently better for CH absorption) as well as the electrolytes. And anyway, who is going to know what the 'right' amount of salt etc is? This isn't the cornerstone of your diet, is it?

    It's pretty obvious that the calories in energy drinks will be more easily absorbed than flapjack, particularly during strenuous exercise, as blood that would otherwise be hanging around the stomach and intestine is drawn elsewhere. If you're pedalling less frantically there's no reason why solid foods like banana, raisins, bars, fig rolls or malt loaf couldn't be included. Even pro racers eat 'real' food on long stages, usually when the pace is slower or during long descents.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • Slow1972Slow1972 Posts: 362
    I did the Etape for the first time last year (and doing it again this year)

    I mixed PSP with GO 2:1 so i was getting some electrolytes going in as well (Nuun tab or similar in std PSP would work just as well). I carried pre-weighed and bagged extra doses to fill my bottles with water at the feed station rather than risk getting their over diluted energy drink and being short of carbs from the bottle

    As a previous poster says 2:1 maltodextrin and fructose (Torq, Hi5 mix) its supposed to allow greater carbs absorbtion per hour than single source of carbs (i.e. PSP - maltodextrin) alone.

    I also ate solid food (flapjack) regularly but in small chunks from the off with the odd gel as well. My feeling was yes its a bit slower absorbed than gels etc but it means that I dont trough as quick as I might with gels alone if I'm late taking one.

    The feed stations had loads of stuff from energy bars, bananas to ham and cheese sandwiches! So I seriously doubt you need to worry about not getting food stuff there unless your intention is to miss them out purely from a time saving perspective. I topped up there too.

    The main issue though is that your body can only consume so much carb per hour and you will be burning it faster than you can absorb it. So you've got to accept you're going to be eating into your reserves, I don't think there's any other way around it. Increasing the concentration of the energy drink isnt going to overcome that once you're up to maximum absorbtion rate. Just make sure you eat from the off so you're minimising the deficit between absorbtion and consumption from the off.
  • Takis61Takis61 Posts: 239
    Amazed at the post ref. the 80 mile ride on water & sandwiches, never again ? I'm lucky if I crack 300 miles a month training but have no probs doing 50-80 miles on Gatorade (no additives), water, bananas & energy bars.
    Frankly I wouldn't even consider SIS or any of the other products unless I was going 100km+, which clearly many of you are.
    But I see no real need for specialist sports drinks for lower distance rides, and I stress again I am far away from the level of many/most on this Forum.
    My knees hurt !
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    John C. wrote:
    As I'd run out of SIS, jells etc. I decided to do an 80 miler against the clock on water and sandwiches, a bit of flapjack and a banana. Never, ever again. I probably went off too fast but on 50 miles I was just dead, and had a hell of a job raising my game again. Hm. That taught me a lesson. Really enjoyed the first 50 :lol:
    Sounds like the solid food got the blame for you mis-pacing your ride. Generations of cyclists have fuelled their riding perfectly adequately with normal food. I'm always a bit mystified why suddenly, in the last 10 years or so, cyclists can no longer manage with ordinary food.

    Ruth
  • I'm confused, does that mean that if I'm doing a sportive on a hot day, I need a bottle of energy drink such as PSP and a bottle of Isotonic such as Go? I had assumed that I could use PSP for both carbs and electrolytes?
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    I'm confused, does that mean that if I'm doing a sportive on a hot day, I need a bottle of energy drink such as PSP and a bottle of Isotonic such as Go? I had assumed that I could use PSP for both carbs and electrolytes?

    You don't need either... basically unless you're going at it very hard, your body will be able to eat and digest anything - Ruth's point about real food. Don't go for stuff too high in fibre, but any high carb food is fine.

    If you're going hard however you won't be able to eat those foods, and that's where energy food begins to help. If you're happy with SiS, then Go is almost as high in calories as PSP, so you don't really need to have both. However you may not need salts anyway (and isotonic doesn't mean it has salts in, it could be isotonic with no salt) or you could just take salt tablets instead, seperating out the food dosing from the salt dosing.

    PSP22 contains no electrolytes though.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • MikeWWMikeWW Posts: 723
    Takis61 wrote:
    Amazed at the post ref. the 80 mile ride on water & sandwiches, never again ? I'm lucky if I crack 300 miles a month training but have no probs doing 50-80 miles on Gatorade (no additives), water, bananas & energy bars.
    Frankly I wouldn't even consider SIS or any of the other products unless I was going 100km+, which clearly many of you are.
    But I see no real need for specialist sports drinks for lower distance rides, and I stress again I am far away from the level of many/most on this Forum.

    Anything over 20 miles and I find there is a noticeable difference using something like High5 or GO. One of my sons was suffering cramps on endurance MTB events above about 20 miles. Started using GO and never had a problem since. Have a number of colleagues with similar experiences
  • Takis61Takis61 Posts: 239
    Interesting - of course everyone is different, seen a recent post on cramping & some people suffer a lot, some hardly at all.
    Not meaning to attack anybody's choice per se, just find that for around 50 miles or so "normal" nutrition, cereal bars & bananas etc. are usually fine - I even use std Lidls bars.
    Worth also trying jelly babies, fig rolls, maltloaf & small peanut butter sandwiches - though I'm straying from the energy drink thread.
    Tesco & Sainsburys own brand Isotonics are also quite good IMHO & cheap compared to Lucozade etc. but they do have sweeteners (aspartame)
    My knees hurt !
  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we are all different, find out what works for you and stick with it , I didn't and paid the price. I failed to mention that my heart rate monitor battery packed in a while ago and I haven't replaced it yet and I do rely on it to slow me down.
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • Takis61Takis61 Posts: 239
    By the way, like the look of the Torq flavours - I like Gatorade (another "natural" drink & easily obtainable) but am getting a little bored with Orange or Lemon - at least Tesco's own comes in Cherry !
    Sounds like you are a pedal to the max kinda guy John C. !
    My knees hurt !
Sign In or Register to comment.