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Energy bars - what's the point?

pottsstevepottssteve Posts: 4,069
edited January 2012 in The bottom bracket
My regular weekend ride is about 60km, covered at around 25km/hr, and I often go out with a colleague from work. He always takes an energy bar and gel with him. I tend to go far non-cycling specific snacks like muesli-style bars or crackers. Looking at a packet yesterday I notice that those rice crispy in chocolate bars have about 150 calories - about as much as many of the Isostar products and other bars, and they are cheaper.

Am I missing something, or is there a real advantage to energy bars for someone like me?

Steve
Head Hands Heart Lungs Legs

Posts

  • ddraverddraver Posts: 25,193
    I think the "energy" is easier for th ebody to use quickly, particuarly in a gel, and they tend to be made to taste nice and swallow easily when you re working hard. That said, over 60km, I don't think they re neccessary unless you re racing really hard!

    The exception of course is the cliff bar, choclote chip cookie bar because that tastes luuurvely and it's a great excuse to eat one! ;)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    I would hazard a guess that its 50% performance related 50% ego related .......... Or is that me being cycnical?
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 9,675
    Carbohydrates. Compare the number of carbohydrates in a PowerBar and a Rice Krispy bar.

    Carbohydrates are the fuel of life.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
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  • Gazzetta67Gazzetta67 Posts: 1,890
    Yossie wrote:
    I would hazard a guess that its 50% performance related 50% ego related .......... Or is that me being cycnical?

    +1 How did we ever cope years ago when we did the 80 - 100 mile club runs - Graeme Obree way 2 piece`s n jam and and a stop at a local shop for a quick 2 min can of coke & a mars bar plenty of rocket fuel to get you home for the gallop to the 30mph sign :D .
  • random manrandom man Posts: 1,518
    Aldi were selling cereal bars recently that looked and tasted just like High 5 bars only a fraction of the price. They don't seem to have any now though.
  • upperoilcanupperoilcan Posts: 1,180
    Gazzetta67 wrote:
    Yossie wrote:
    I would hazard a guess that its 50% performance related 50% ego related .......... Or is that me being cycnical?

    +1 How did we ever cope years ago when we did the 80 - 100 mile club runs - Graeme Obree way 2 piece`s n jam and and a stop at a local shop for a quick 2 min can of coke & a mars bar plenty of rocket fuel to get you home for the gallop to the 30mph sign :D .

    Exactly,a Mars bar goes a long way to get you home..Although im not sure of drinking a Coke tho.
    Cervelo S5 Ultegra Di2.
  • pottsstevepottssteve Posts: 4,069
    ddraver wrote:
    I think the "energy" is easier for th ebody to use quickly, particuarly in a gel, and they tend to be made to taste nice and swallow easily when you re working hard. That said, over 60km, I don't think they re neccessary unless you re racing really hard!

    The exception of course is the cliff bar, choclote chip cookie bar because that tastes luuurvely and it's a great excuse to eat one! ;)

    Fair point, though a lot of the bars are largely simple sugars like glucose and fructose, which are easy to digest and absorb.
    Head Hands Heart Lungs Legs
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    A can of flat coke is about as good as it gets when you run out of fuel to get you the last few miles
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • alanp23alanp23 Posts: 696
    I always have a can of coke whenever we stop for our mid ride break. I dont know how good it really is for me, but it does give me an immediate boost for the second half of the ride. So it makes me feel very happy. :roll:

    I take comfort from the fact that I see the pros drinking it as well...
    Top Ten finisher - PTP Tour of Britain 2016
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    +1 most of the club riders round here have the flat coke stashed on a long/hard ride
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    A can of flat coke is about as good as it gets when you run out of fuel to get you the last few miles

    Agree 100% - flat Coke is excellent for fuelling and purchased wisely, dirt cheap. When coupled wth a swict double espresso/small bottle of Thai Red Bull, no one is gonna catch ya.

    Good for re-hydration as well due to all the stuff in it.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 25,193
    Have something else?
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    Buy the caffeine free one? Just a thought like .....
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,701
    Stanley222 wrote:
    What about if you dont want to have the caffeine?!
    The other sugary drinks like Tango or Irn Bru will do fine. Caffeine-free cola may well be sugar-free too, which is no good if you want it for energy.

    To the OP I'd say the main intended benefit of energy bars is: lots of easily digested carbs, low fat (easier to digest) in a convenient package. However lots of people take 'normal' foods that fulfil these criteria - banana, malt loaf, jaffa cakes, raisins, jelly babies, cereal bars such as Nutri-Grain or geobars. A top time triallist around these parts swears by Snickers for winter training rides, and I'd agree. However, if your mate likes his sports bar & gel then if it makes him happy who are we to argue?
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • ChrisszChrissz Posts: 727
    pottssteve wrote:
    My regular weekend ride is about 60km, covered at around 25km/hr,

    is there a real advantage to energy bars for someone like me?

    Steve

    In short, no. Your intensity levels are too low for them to have much of an effect other than to remove any hunger pangs.
  • Gazzetta67Gazzetta67 Posts: 1,890
    When i was the Newbie at the club a certain Scottish/ british track champion used to tell us to stick 3 spoonfuls of sugar in a pint of Irn bru for the "Habble" back home (run home :D ) he said once it kicked in it was like rocket fuel - the 30mph village sprints back in the road were fun lol. a packet of fruit pastilles or jelly tots do wonders too. :mrgreen:
  • I use a mixture of both. I like to have a bottle of strong Robinsons Forest Fruits Barley squash & a bottle of whatever energy drink i have on the go. I only use the Torq Rhubarb & Custard or Banoffee gels (like a pudding in a tube & gives you a hell of a buzz), but don't particuarly like many of the special energy bars. Find em hard to stomach & taste like cardboard! Maxi Fuel choc covered strawberry bars are great though. I always take a few choc Rice Crispy Squares out with me & find they give me as much energy as anything else, & feel more satisfied once eaten. Jelly banies are good, & you can't beat a Snickers. Used to use Gatorade in my running days, very very good, just a bit pricey. At the end of the day it's whatever suits you & what you like. If it works, then it's all good!!
  • team47bteam47b Posts: 6,424
    alanp23 wrote:
    I always have a can of coke whenever we stop for our mid ride break. I dont know how good it really is for me, but it does give me an immediate boost for the second half of the ride. So it makes me feel very happy.

    I take comfort from the fact that I see the pros drinking it as well...
    - do you not think there maybe a not so hidden agenda at play here...?

    Drinks or snacks that contain corn syrup, such as coke, are not a good idea unless you want to gain fat. Like alcohol, 30% of corn syrup automatically turns to fat, by-passing the energy burning process completely (in other words, no amount of exercise will burn these carbs off, they go straight to fat around the liver). A lot of 'sports' drinks have added corn syrup to make them palatable (ie. hide the taste of the electrolites). Also, highly processed sugary foods and drinks cause the production of more insulin, one of insulin's roles is to store fat.

    Carbs, some simple, fast acting and some complex slow release are 'the fuel of life' as Ben6899 said.

    You don't have to buy expensive sports specific foods and drinks but you do need to know what effect ingredients in any food have on your system in order to make informed choices.
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
  • t.m.h.n.e.tt.m.h.n.e.t Posts: 2,265
    Just avoid taking 4 per hour on the turbo :D:D:D:D:D:D:D
  • pottsstevepottssteve Posts: 4,069
    Thanks for the replies. I think I'll stick with the flapjack, rice crispy bars etc and save the gels for when I turn pro. :wink:

    Steve
    Head Hands Heart Lungs Legs
  • alanp23alanp23 Posts: 696
    team47b wrote:
    alanp23 wrote:
    I take comfort from the fact that I see the pros drinking it as well...
    - do you not think there maybe a not so hidden agenda at play here...?


    I take your point - I had intended my last sentence to be slightly ironic. I still stand by the fact that I have seen them drinking the small cans during races and I can't believe it is all commercial interests. I've not seen anyone having a sneaky beer during the Amstel Gold :shock:

    The corn syrup situation is very interesting - I had forgotten about that. However, and this isn't intended to sound dumb, but I have drunk more than my body weight in Coke in my life time so it must must disappear in some fashion.
    Top Ten finisher - PTP Tour of Britain 2016
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    [/quote] - do you not think there maybe a not so hidden agenda at play here...?

    Drinks or snacks that contain corn syrup, such as coke, are not a good idea unless you want to gain fat. [/quote]

    The half a can of flat coke method is a "get me out of jail and get me home I'm bonking card", not a lifestyle choice, no ones advocating drinking it on everyride as a matter of course!
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I dont think there is much point in energy bars for that distance. Sure when you go further you need more energy.
    The sports bars are designed for sport - so a decent nutrition level, and easy to transport. Mars bars dont really work - especially in the summer. And even Minstrels 'melt in your mouth not in your hand' will melt in the back pocket.

    You can make your own cheaper but its just wrapping them for long rides thats tricky.

    I use a bento box to store my flapjacks etc in when I'm doing my long rides.
  • nhojnhoj Posts: 129
    Does anyone else eat 9Bars? About 50p for a 277-calorie bar.
  • GazzaputtGazzaputt Posts: 3,227
    nhoj wrote:
    Does anyone else eat 9Bars? About 50p for a 277-calorie bar.

    I eat them as daytime snack but not on a ride.
  • I've found that on occasian when visiting my LBS if the proprietor has gels/energy bars close to their sell by date i get them at greatly discounted rate. :D
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,701
    nhoj wrote:
    Does anyone else eat 9Bars? About 50p for a 277-calorie bar.
    Yep, love 'em but not my ideal snack while riding. They're great for post-ride munchies or when standing around in the cold taking photos at races.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,417 Lives Here
    It's useful when you're on your 4th col of the day in the Pyrenees and you're struggling to stomach the quantity of food.
  • SquagglesSquaggles Posts: 875
    alanp23 wrote:
    team47b wrote:
    alanp23 wrote:
    I take comfort from the fact that I see the pros drinking it as well...
    - do you not think there maybe a not so hidden agenda at play here...?


    I take your point - I had intended my last sentence to be slightly ironic. I still stand by the fact that I have seen them drinking the small cans during races and I can't believe it is all commercial interests. I've not seen anyone having a sneaky beer during the Amstel Gold :shock:

    I've certainly seen pros drink a small can of coke near the end of a race but I doubt very much they are drinking coke on every training ride they go on , good for a boost of energy I would have thought but not really a common part of the diet
    The UCI are Clowns and Fools
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