For anyone who has ridden endurance cycling events or raced their bicycle, you know how important nutrition on the bike is. But what exactly is contained within many of the most common cycling food products. Here’s a list of 10 common food ingredients.
Found in: Hammer, Gu, and Clif products (though Clif uses organic maltodextrin)
This simple carbohydrate is found in many brands’ offerings as one of the main sources for calories in gels, blocks, and drinks. Technically, maltodextrin is a non-sugar carbohydrate. But that’s why it’s included in many sports drinks and gels: While not technically a simple sugar, it metabolizes just as quickly, “straddling a gray area” between simple sugars like glucose and more complex carbohydrates like starches.
Found in: Honey Stinger products
Dr. Stacy Sims, founder of Osmo Nutrition, states, “Honey is good when it is in something, but its higher fructose content can cause gastrointestinal issues if used straight-up. Raw honey is the best, as it has a lower (Glycemic Index) hit, which allows for more sustained energy,” and less likelihood of drastic blood sugar swings.
Found in: Clif Bar products and Skratch products
Tapioca syrup is another more natural, whole-food style of sugar. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but you don’t need your on-bike food to be whole food—especially if you’re not putting in massive hours on the bike and eating most of your daily calories while you ride.
Tapioca syrup, though, is perfectly fine for sports performance purposes. It’s lower on the Glycemic Index than many other sugars typically used, and works as a much healthier replacement for corn syrup.
Organic Brown Rice Syrup
Found in: Clif Bar products
People associate brown rice with health foods, which is what makes an ingredient like “organic brown rice syrup” sound better than many of the more chemical or sweet-sounding sugars, but it’s ultimately the same thing: a sugar that will fuel your ride.
Found in: Gu products
Some caution riders against consuming fructose, especially those riders susceptible to stomach problems and GI problems on the bike. Note that while fructose isn’t the sole form of sugar Gu uses, it is one of them.
Found in: Gatorade and Skratch products (though Skratch uses cane sugar)
Both cane sugar and regular sugar are sucrose. A multi-source form of sugar like sucrose is much better for ‘parallel processing,’ as it allows the stomach to absorb more total sugar.
Found in: Skratch and Gatorade products
Dextrose is a simple sugar, but it will do the job and fuel your pedaling. As a simple glucose, it can come from corn, grapes, and beets, which makes it ideal for vegan athletes, who, Sims notes, have a very difficult time finding diet-approved simple sugars. If that’s a sticking point, make sure you check with a company before you start using its products.
Found in: Gu, Gatorade, and Skratch products
Sodium and potassium citrates are easier electrolytes to absorb than straight sodium or potassium. Sodium citrate is ideal when used as the primary sodium source. It is the ‘sweet salt,’ in that it allows a greater amount of sodium in a product without creating an overly salty taste. The citrate also works with aerobic metabolism, so there is no negative byproduct.
Found in: Clif and Skratch products
The reason electrolytes were originally included in sports drinks was because the guy who came up with Gatorade figured if you lose salt in sweat, you should replace it. As with sodium citrate, potassium citrate doesn’t produce any negative byproducts from its metabolism during exercise—meaning no nasty stuff transcends the kidney and ends up in our urine.
Found in: Clif and Gatorade products
Salt is just sodium chloride. While good in small doses, don’t reach for a salt lick while you’re riding. It pulls water into the gut because the sodium needs to be diluted before it can be absorbed, and the chloride changes the membrane potential of the intestinal cells, allowing them to open up, contributing to ‘leaky gut.’” And no one wants a leaky gut on the bike.
Source : www.bicycling.com