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Overuse of energy drinks

BozmanBozman Posts: 2,518
I don't use them, then again it's not that often that i go over 50 miles, a drinks bottle in the winter and 2 on a hot summers day and thats your lot.
The overuse of energy drinks came up on a Radio Five on a talk about diabetes, they gave an example of running: your body has enough natural fuel to see you through to between 16/18 miles, after that gels should be used if an energy boost is required.
If you go to the gym for an hour.. forget it there's just no need for an energy drink, thats obvious!
This got me thinking, roughly what distance of cycling would equate to 18 miles of running... 60, 80 miles and are folk using a boost when they don't need it?
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  • pianomanpianoman Posts: 706
    I think there might be something in this. Especially when we stop for coffee and cake on our clubruns.

    I see one or two people from other clubs downing a huge sugar hit consisting of apple slice and orange juice. Having done that once before with a chocolate brownie I know NEVER to do it again, it just wasn't right for me. I got absolutely cleaned out by everyone going up the last climb of the day, in fact I would have been better off not stopping and just going straight home rather than taking in so much sugar. Bacon and egg never made any fat in the 50's and 60's (and I wasn't even born then). Then again, each to one's own.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    I suppose an 18 mile training run might take an average club runner maybe 2.5 hours. So how far could you cycle in 2.5 hours going at a fair effort but not racing - maybe 50 miles ?

    I know that the 18 mile run would probably leave you feeling more beaten up but I'm thinking that's due to the impact rather than energy expenditure.

    Personally I'd probably take a snack if I'm doing over 2 hours on the bike - couple of bananas or something - and I might think about it now for running if I'm going over 13 miles though I used to just carry a coke bottle full of orange squash for my long runs and that was 20 miles around 2 hours 40. If I need to top up on a long ride and I've got nothing with me I stop and get a coke and maybe a flapjack or something - I find that can give you a real boost for say the final hour on an 80 miler.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    I suppose an 18 mile training run might take an average club runner maybe 2.5 hours. So how far could you cycle in 2.5 hours going at a fair effort but not racing - maybe 50 miles ?

    You can't compare that way. Running is reasonably constant calorie expenditure per mile, regardless of your speed, so it doesn't matter if you run it in 90 minutes or 3 hours, the number of calories will be pretty similar - they won't all come from glycogen of course so it's not completely the same. So the headline "18 miles" is a load of censored , but it's a lot more accurate for running that it possibly could be for cycling.

    In cycling, miles covered is not a measure of intensity at all, you can due to the way speed scales with intensity. So there's nothing equivalent.

    In general you have sufficient glycogen for 60-90 minutes of all out exercise, and once you get out to 10 or more hours "all out" intensity you essentially have unlimited glycogen - well it's down to just what your brain etc. is using so you'll just need to eat for that.

    I also don't agree particularly with the suggestion, since exhausting your glycogen will just mean you'll need to move your consumption of calories into immediately after the event which will have all the same issues and will likely cause more blood sugar and insulin spikes as your body deals with the very low glycogen levels by craving food!
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • PianoMan wrote:
    Bacon and egg never made any fat in the 50's and 60's (and I wasn't even born then). Then again, each to one's own.

    My father worked in the shipyards as a welder, he was thin and healthy and he ate loads of bacon butties fried in lard....Oh and mum fried tons of chips in the 60's with pans of lard and she, me and my sisters were all thin. It's only since the advent of easy meals that Mum, me and sisters started to put on weight :cry:

    Back to drinks. I experimented during this years Ryedale Rumble with my own energy drinks. I had read about what to put and what measures to use. I usually have just plain water. The result was stomach cramp just before Boltby. I decided to ditch the energy drinks and fill up with plain water at the last stop. Result was my stomach eased fairly quickly after a few swills of fresh water.

    Lesson learned for me. Stick to plain and simple drinks, food and a few gels.
    CAAD9
    Kona Jake the Snake
    Merlin Malt 4
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    jibberjim wrote:
    I suppose an 18 mile training run might take an average club runner maybe 2.5 hours. So how far could you cycle in 2.5 hours going at a fair effort but not racing - maybe 50 miles ?

    You can't compare that way. Running is reasonably constant calorie expenditure per mile, regardless of your speed, so it doesn't matter if you run it in 90 minutes or 3 hours, the number of calories will be pretty similar - they won't all come from glycogen of course so it's not completely the same. So the headline "18 miles" is a load of censored , but it's a lot more accurate for running that it possibly could be for cycling.

    In cycling, miles covered is not a measure of intensity at all, you can due to the way speed scales with intensity. So there's nothing equivalent.

    In general you have sufficient glycogen for 60-90 minutes of all out exercise, and once you get out to 10 or more hours "all out" intensity you essentially have unlimited glycogen - well it's down to just what your brain etc. is using so you'll just need to eat for that.

    I also don't agree particularly with the suggestion, since exhausting your glycogen will just mean you'll need to move your consumption of calories into immediately after the event which will have all the same issues and will likely cause more blood sugar and insulin spikes as your body deals with the very low glycogen levels by craving food!

    You can of course make a rough comparison of calories used at a reasonable equivalent effort which is what I was doing.

    It's reasonable to assume the radio discussion was making a point that generally people do not need to be consuming energy drinks as frequently as many do - and used the example that most people can complete a 16-18 mile run without without a drop off in performance. Far from being censored that is a perfectly sensible point. Of course it's possible to pick circumstances where it doesn't apply.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    It's reasonable to assume the radio discussion was making a point that generally people do not need to be consuming energy drinks as frequently as many do - and used the example that most people can complete a 16-18 mile run without without a drop off in performance. Far from being censored that is a perfectly sensible point.

    If you exhaust your glycogen supplies, you need to replenish them, you could replenish them during the exercise when your insulin response is completely different to when resting and there's no chance of creating any insulin resistence. Or you could replenish them immediately after exercise with an energy drink when again your insulin response is different and you won't see any resistence. Both of those options require "energy drinks" - either during or after.

    Or you could replenish them by eating throughout the rest of the day. That's quite likely to cause insulin spikes as you crave food and binge to overcome them.

    Most people also cannot complete an 16-18 mile run without a drop off in performance, most people will not be able to go for more than 90 minutes, and an untrained person more than 60. At _marathon pace_ the limit tends to be 16-18 miles but of course that's miles under the maximum pace people can do 16 miles at.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • motdocmotdoc Posts: 97
    Is caused by insulin resistance.
    Which is a function of a) being overwieght b) being unfit and c) genetics.
    If you sit on the couch drinking lucozade you'll get diabetes eventually. If you use sports drinks during exercise your muscle insulin receptors will be upregulated rather than downregulated (insulin will drive glucose into the muscles) thoretically decreasing risk of DM (theory only).

    I don't use them too much as they make my teeth hurt :(
    Arrrrr I be in Devon.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    I was talking about a training run - how many people do you think run 16-18 miles in training at quicker than marathon race pace ?

    I don't mind you disagreeing with me but please read what I wrote and address that rather than quoting me and then saying something unrelated.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Omar LittleOmar Little Posts: 2,010
    i often see people in the gym walking on the treadmill for about 15 minutes and they go through about 500ml bottle of energy drink during that time!
  • i often see people in the gym walking on the treadmill for about 15 minutes and they go through about 500ml bottle of energy drink during that time!

    But they need that extra energy because the TV adverts told them so :shock:
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    It is all down to very successful marketing by the likes of Lucozade.
    Tickles me tho that the very cream of celbrity TV doctors leaving no stone unturned in the quest to find cause of UK diabetes crisis.
  • JGSI wrote:
    Tickles me tho that the very cream of celbrity TV doctors leaving no stone unturned in the quest to find cause of UK diabetes crisis.

    I wonder what percentage of diabetes sufferers develop the problem due to their sedentary lifestyle watching said celebrity doctors on daytime TV rather than getting up and doing some form of exercise :D
  • Need for food whilst running/cycling is surely decided by how hard , how often and how long you exercise for.
    e.g exercise hard more than 60 minutes every day and you'll probably need to supplement normal food , time it right and perhaps even consume during exercise
    3 days a week for 90 minutes - no extras needed apart from water maybe - glycogen stores will 'fill up' again during rest days. I think many people generally have an over belief in sugar /simple carb consumption. Clearly gels & energy drinks ( and real food!) have a role to play but not as often as teh variuos suppliers would have us believe - we're not all Tour de France quality cyclists, burning 7000 kcal a day - are we?
    :wink:
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    As always common sense really should prevail, but I guess there are plenty of folk lacking in that.
    More problems but still living....
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,257
    i often see people in the gym walking on the treadmill for about 15 minutes and they go through about 500ml bottle of energy drink during that time!

    500ml is not alot tbh, if I'm thirsty I could go through a 500ml bottle sitting on my censored at my computer.

    Loads of people go out and buy bottles of energy drink when they're thursty, like Lucozade, I do once in a blue moon cause they taste nice. I might have one on a bike ride from a garage maybe but usually even on 100+ rides I'm just on Orange juice.
  • RaphaRapha Posts: 86
    You have enough glycogen stored in your muscles to work hard for about 80-90 minutes. To some extent it depends on the intensity of the exercise and how well your body uses fat to determine how long you can exercise without taking on any extra energy drink, through drinks or gels.

    There is a case for using a low calorie hydration drink because it is better than just water. Performance decreases with dehydration.

    Now to look at it from a different perspective... Research shows that people who use sports drinks, gels etc during exercise usually work at a higher intensity. Therefore you are likely to get a better performance benefit. You are also going to burn more calories per minute. I read an interesting article in a running magazine the other day which suggested that the intensity at which you burn fat is relatively broad and its better to work at the higher end of the spectrum because although the percentage fat burned is slightly lower, the overall calories burned is higher so you burn more calories of fats in total than at a lower intensity.

    Another point to make is that those exercising with energy drinks/gels end up consuming far less after exercise (over the following 2 days). Those that don't take on energy drinks/gels end up overeating afterwards.

    For weight loss it is simply about a negative energy balance - ie burn more calories than you consume. During one hour exercise you would not be able to consume enough carbs to replace what you have burnt - the difference could likely be 3-400 calories. So you can have your energy drink during exercise as long as you don't then eat extra during the rest of the day.
  • pianomanpianoman Posts: 706
    If you exhaust your glycogen supplies, you need to replenish them, you could replenish them during the exercise when your insulin response is completely different to when resting and there's no chance of creating any insulin resistence.

    Therein lies the problem for some of us, which I why I raised the point of that particular cafe stop. We had the cake and then just sat there for about 20 minutes (it WAS a very nice day to sit outside, mind) so I guess it was an insulin spike that led to me feeling awful on the way home, right? Had we ate the chocolate brownie immediately before or even during a hard set of intervals, such a problem would never have happened, right?

    After all, we use energy at a faster rate when doing 20-21mph in solo training than 16mph in a bunch on a club ride. And when we're parked up at the cafe, well that highlights the issue further. So that's why it's bacon or sausage sarnies for me whenever we get to the cafe, or if the breakfast food is off, something more slow-burning like a little bit of fruit cake. As I said though, each to one's own.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    I agree with you - energy drinks have a place - mostly for racing or other hard efforts over 90 minutes. My feelings are though (not sure if you agree?) that they are over used. If you can do 80-90 minutes hard exercise on glycogen stores then you can go for a fair bit longer at a lower intensity. If we stick with running if a semi serious runner does a half marathon in 1.25 then working at a lower intensity they can go further because they are using relatively more fat as a fuel.

    I don't know about their role in damping down hunger post exercise - a lot of research on these kind of things are done on very small samples and are funded by the sports nutrition industry. Where the researcher and the funder have a mutual interest in a certain finding then you have to use caution in accepting the findings at face value. Still if that finding is correct it's interesting.

    As far as using them post exercise to replenish glycogen - unless we are training twice a day there is no problem in replenishing glycogen within 24 hours with an ordinary healty diet given a bit of thought. When you add in the effect on your teeth, the cost and the gooey mess they make of your bike I think I'll stick with bananas !

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • pianomanpianoman Posts: 706
    Which is exactly why it's all too easy to "overfill our fuel tank" I guess. If our body even suspects that we are doing that, no doubt the insulin response skyrockets. So that's probably why more and more energy drinks have a bit of protein for a more "well-rounded" nutritional profile. I certainly get on better with Reflex "The Edge" than I did with the more regularly seen "carb-only" offerings. Also, putting lower concentrations of powder in the bottle can help as well, or even split "a serving" between both bottles.
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    IAs far as using them post exercise to replenish glycogen - unless we are training twice a day there is no problem in replenishing glycogen within 24 hours with an ordinary healty diet given a bit of thought. When you add in the effect on your teeth, the cost and the gooey mess they make of your bike I think I'll stick with bananas !

    If you are training hard and really deplete your glycogen, then it could take up to 48 hours to fully replenish it. If you are training daily then this does become an issue, it doesn't have to be twice a day.

    A post recovery shake is ideal for post recovery, as you need to get a good mix of protein and carbs into the body asap after exercise to get the best start to glycogen replenishment. It only needs to be a chocolate milkshake or something similar.
  • RaphaRapha Posts: 86
    I agree with you - energy drinks have a place - mostly for racing or other hard efforts over 90 minutes. My feelings are though (not sure if you agree?) that they are over used. If you can do 80-90 minutes hard exercise on glycogen stores then you can go for a fair bit longer at a lower intensity. If we stick with running if a semi serious runner does a half marathon in 1.25 then working at a lower intensity they can go further because they are using relatively more fat as a fuel.

    I don't know about their role in damping down hunger post exercise - a lot of research on these kind of things are done on very small samples and are funded by the sports nutrition industry. Where the researcher and the funder have a mutual interest in a certain finding then you have to use caution in accepting the findings at face value. Still if that finding is correct it's interesting.

    Some guys probably over use energy drinks but it depends a lot on what else they eat/drink the rest of the day. Drinks are the most efficient way to take on carbohydrates and proteins.

    I used to be on a bottle of 4:1 and a bottle of squash for most 4-5hr rides and that was ok but only because my body was used to it. Now that I have stopped competing and riding as often I find that after 1.5h or so I run on empty.

    Yes most of the research is done on a generally small scale but a lot of it is done independently or also through companies that are interested in weight control for health reasons rather than sports nutrition companies.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    SBezza - I've read published research that said 24 hours to fully restock glycogen stores with proper diet so it seems to depend what you read. If 48 hours then yes if people are doing back to back training then it becomes an issue - so you pays your money and takes your choice on that one.

    Rapha - Yes efficient if you need to get carbs and protein into your system quickly - a race or hard training situation - possibly if you go for the 48 hours to restock then back to back racing or very hard training days. Some people though will claim to need sports drink and gels for a 10k or even a 5k run. Much of the time people are just fatigued and mistake it for lacking fuel - if you could ride 4-5 hours on orange juice are you sure it's not just a psychological crutch to think you need sports drink now after 90 minutes ?

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    I agree that for most people, energy drinks are not necessary for the level and amount of exercise they do.

    For my normal training loop (48km of mixed terrain) I just take 1 bottle of water (maybe with a magnesium tablet thrown in if it's warm (+25°C)) and even then I probably only drink half unless it's a really hot day.

    For day rides in the alps I start with two bottles of gatorade/isostar/whatever, I'll have 500ml of ice tea plus something savoury to eat during the stop and top off my bottles with water. If I need more fluid after that then it's more water from a water fountain in the next village I pass through.

    I've posted earlier this year on a post about the use of gels and energy drinks. I find the drop off too steep if I rely on 'energy food' and now stick to 'normal food' like cheese and ham sandwiches and müseli bars. Sometimes I take a small bag of haribo and keep a couple of gels in my pocket for emergencies.
  • RaphaRapha Posts: 86
    Rapha - Yes efficient if you need to get carbs and protein into your system quickly - a race or hard training situation - possibly if you go for the 48 hours to restock then back to back racing or very hard training days. Some people though will claim to need sports drink and gels for a 10k or even a 5k run. Much of the time people are just fatigued and mistake it for lacking fuel - if you could ride 4-5 hours on orange juice are you sure it's not just a psychological crutch to think you need sports drink now after 90 minutes ?

    For 5k and 10k its not necessary but if they think it helps them, even if its just in their heard, then I don't see why they shouldn't use them.

    The way your body works is completely different when you do 20-25hrs a week training compared to a few hours a week. I probably ride harder now, my muscles are likely to be using more carbs for energy because I'm less efficient, I was used to eating a much larger breakfast than what I'd have now

    To the recreational cyclist, energy drinks/gels will make a bigger difference than to an elite cyclist but at the elite level only very small differences can make a huge different. So nutrition is important for both
  • Speaking from a type 1 diabetics point of view I have in the past avoided them like the plague, doing an 100k + ride I thought I would give some a trial and was not overly impressed finding all they gave me was a high MMOL and not any noticeable benefit.

    I also find I prefer the slower release something like a cereal / flapjack like bar gives over gels and such like which just give me stomach ache, I appreciate this view is not the same for everyone but my body apart from my pancreas is not that dissimilar to most and I normally find by having these types of more substantial foods gives me lower yearnings for additional food at the end of a ride.
    For reference I have had type 1 diabetes since 18 months old so cannot comment on how my body performed prior to being diagnosed.
  • RaphaRapha Posts: 86
    Speaking from a type 1 diabetics point of view I have in the past avoided them like the plague, doing an 100k + ride I thought I would give some a trial and was not overly impressed finding all they gave me was a high MMOL and not any noticeable benefit.

    I also find I prefer the slower release something like a cereal / flapjack like bar gives over gels and such like which just give me stomach ache, I appreciate this view is not the same for everyone but my body apart from my pancreas is not that dissimilar to most and I normally find by having these types of more substantial foods gives me lower yearnings for additional food at the end of a ride.
    For reference I have had type 1 diabetes since 18 months old so cannot comment on how my body performed prior to being diagnosed.

    Henri - I've come across this through a few mates and we did a bit of research on the matter. Most of them use High5 4:1 now because its a much more controlled insulin release over a longer period of time. This seems to be due to the added protein.
  • Cheers Rapha will have a look at those think I may even have one in a bag of freebies from Sigma Sport.

    The reason I have tried to avoid them in the past is because I find they can over compensate the act the bodies natural process of burning fat into energy and also releasing higher levels of liver glucose which sends my bloods and temper very high.

    Oh and it's Henry not Henri (my usual username was taken)
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 2,437 Lives Here
    jibberjim wrote:
    I suppose an 18 mile training run might take an average club runner maybe 2.5 hours. So how far could you cycle in 2.5 hours going at a fair effort but not racing - maybe 50 miles ?

    You can't compare that way. Running is reasonably constant calorie expenditure per mile, regardless of your speed, so it doesn't matter if you run it in 90 minutes or 3 hours, the number of calories will be pretty similar - they won't all come from glycogen of course so it's not completely the same. So the headline "18 miles" is a load of censored , but it's a lot more accurate for running that it possibly could be for cycling.

    In cycling, miles covered is not a measure of intensity at all, you can due to the way speed scales with intensity. So there's nothing equivalent.

    In general you have sufficient glycogen for 60-90 minutes of all out exercise, and once you get out to 10 or more hours "all out" intensity you essentially have unlimited glycogen - well it's down to just what your brain etc. is using so you'll just need to eat for that.

    I also don't agree particularly with the suggestion, since exhausting your glycogen will just mean you'll need to move your consumption of calories into immediately after the event which will have all the same issues and will likely cause more blood sugar and insulin spikes as your body deals with the very low glycogen levels by craving food!

    Yep +1 Jim,

    Sugar spikes are horrible things if you are diabetic as well, my body just can't handle them, my heart starts pounding and I lose all energy, typical of taking too many gels.

    All medical research indicates that you should consume a minimum of 500-750ml of fluids per hour as well, those who don't typically get headaches.

    Slow release of carbs is better than starvation and then bonking.
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 2,437 Lives Here
    Rapha wrote:
    The way your body works is completely different when you do 20-25hrs a week training compared to a few hours a week. I probably ride harder now, my muscles are likely to be using more carbs for energy because I'm less efficient, I was used to eating a much larger breakfast than what I'd have now

    To the recreational cyclist, energy drinks/gels will make a bigger difference than to an elite cyclist but at the elite level only very small differences can make a huge different. So nutrition is important for both

    Yep Rapha, in the summer I train up to about 15 hours a week and at 51, type 2 diabetic and having had major stomach surgery I find that I need to keep dribbling food in and generally fluid is the easy way.

    High 5 4:1 gets my vote, in the summer in 27 degrees I managed to do 114 miles in France on 8 x750ml bottles of High 5 and a couple of high 5 4:1 bars
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    freehub wrote:
    i often see people in the gym walking on the treadmill for about 15 minutes and they go through about 500ml bottle of energy drink during that time!

    500ml is not alot tbh, if I'm thirsty I could go through a 500ml bottle sitting on my ars* at my computer.

    Loads of people go out and buy bottles of energy drink when they're thursty, like Lucozade, I do once in a blue moon cause they taste nice. I might have one on a bike ride from a garage maybe but usually even on 100+ rides I'm just on Orange juice.

    If you're thirsty you should drink water. No need to consume all the chemicals and calories as well. Lucozade to quench thirst whilst you're sat at a computer is typical overuse of an energy drink. It's like people who sit on the train drinking Red Bull - just eat a proper diet and you don't need energy and caffeine drinks to get you up and about! As for the taste, Lucozade and Red Bull are revolting IMO!
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
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