Food is so important to any athlete and as I have gotten older, I have found that my body needs a lot more TLC that when I was in my 20s. For example, last year while training for a half Marathon my iron levels fell dangerously low. I don’t eat meat and I eat very little fish so I have to be careful about my protein and iron. Energy bars can be a great addition to my diet for supplementing where I may be weak and for simply providing more energy when I am on the go or between workouts.
Unfortunately, most of the literature I have read about these bars, drinks and gels is that most of the “energy” products and supplements are full of sugar and chemicals. As it is unlikely that I am going to produce my own natural granola bar, the last time I was in the US I went to the local heath stores and bought almost one of every energy bar I saw. I tried to be conscious of how much sugar, animal products or unpronounceable items were listed in the ingredients but I still felt lost.
Some of the bars that I tried include: Luna, Cliff, PowerBar, Probar, LaraBar, Raw Revolution, Vega Energy Bar, Balance Bar
Honestly, they all seemed just like the Special K Breakfast Bars or like weightlifters food. While the Luna and Balance had been favorites because of the taste, I have recently found them too filling and too much like candy bars – no surprise that even Snickers has an “energy bar” product. The Cliff Bar really stands out to me because it feels hearty, homemade and doesn’t fill overfill me. I stick to few flavors; Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate or Peanut Butter and most of the literature I have read has been positive about the product. I also like the Vega Energy bar as I am trying to eat more Vegan and edible products in this category are far and in between. Unfortunately these products are not available in Barcelona, so I buy in bulk and fill my suitcase when I am in the States.
As for gels, I just stay clear of them. I mean, is there anything natural about them? On the 10K Sitges swim earlier this month, I had some gel that tasted like cola and some orange drink and they both just about made me sick during the swim. I now stick to water and bananas as I wait for something better to arrive.
I would love suggestions, experiences and nutritional content tips for choosing an energy bars or energy supplements and drinks. But not from distributors or product reps please!