There are a lot of different nutrition products on the market these days. Some are designed to give you energy on the run, some are for recovery. Consistencies range from solid, through gooey and into runny. There are oat based, fruit based and even chocolate based bars and gels of every conceivable flavour now. But the question is always ‘would I fancy eating this for x hours?’. And of course ‘will it cause my stomach distress?’.
We take a look at some of the newer products on the market and test them out, in an effort to try to help you navigate this complex world, and we pick out a few highlights.
|Product||What's it for?||What does it taste like?||What's in it?||Verdict||Best for|
|Maurten GEL100||An energy boost mid-run||It doesn't taste of anything really, but it is a gloopy jelly-like substance which is a bit odd at first||100 calories, 25g of carbs (the Maurten drinks have a much higher volume of carbs)||Easy to get down and a handy way of getting some carbs down if you’re doing a faster race or can’t face real food in a longer race||If you suffer from stomach issues, this is a really good product (see why in the full review below)|
|CLIF Bloks (new ginger ale flavour)||Energy on the run||The ginger ale flavour is easy to handle and the ‘bloks’ are a bit chewy, but not too chewy. It’s a bit like chewing a wine gum||100 cal/24g of carbs in one serving, which is 3 bloks (6 in a pack)||A great halfway house between gels and bars. Easy to get down and a really great taste||If you don’t like gels but can’t quite do real food|
|CLIF Bar (new peanut butter banana with dark chocolate)||Before, during and after running||This is pretty luxurious tasting, with good strong flavours||230 cal/26g of carbs/7g of protein per bar||Quite chewy so can be hard work to eat on the run. But good before, after and on longer days out||Good all-rounder. Works as a pre or post-race snack and great for during longer runs when you can take the time to chew! Organic too, if you're looking for a natural snack|
|Science in Sport PROTEIN 20||A post-exercise protein rich snack||It tastes like a proper chocolate brownie and is a really nice snack after a run||20g of protein per bar||Really nice. Tastes like a nice brownie, not a sports nutrition bar!||Post-run recovery|
|Moon Valley Oats and Dates bar||Energy on the run with organic ingredients||Really tasty and fruity and nicely chewy without being too hard work||191 cal/28g carbohydrate/4g protein per bar||Proper, nutritious and tasty food||Those looking for an organic, natural option for longer runs|
|High 5 Energy Gummies Berry flavour or Tropical version with caffeine||Energy before and during exercise||Like a very fruity wine gum. Good flavours||21g of carbs, potassium, sodium (plus 75mg of caffeine per 6 gummies in the tropical one)||Easy to chew, similar in consistency to CLIF bloks but they come in a resealable pouch so it's easier to have one or two at a time||Vegetarians and vegans. People who want sweets with a bit more punch|
|NAMEDSPORT starter bundle||Pre, during and after exercise – hydration and energy||Range of products, all with their own flavours, but generally taste great. The Hyrdafit mix is a blend of minerals, carbohydrates and 9 vitamins with a not overpowering taste of orange. We really liked the sports gels – they taste good and seemed to really work on longer runs.||Hydrafit electrolyte mix - 35g of fast energy giving carbohydrates|
Gels - 17 grams of carbs per sachet in an Isotonic formulation
Energy bar - 30g carbs, rice crispies, honey and fruit featuring vitamins B1, B6 and vitamin C.
|A range of products from an Italian company, the website allows you to select your discipline and aims, and it will select the products it recommends. We had a starter bundle and were really impressed with the range and effectiveness of all of the products. Easy to digest, they gave a noticeable kick on longer runs.||Runners who want a full range of products for pre, during and post run.|
|Sun Chlorella powder||Green food supplement / algae||Good – if you like algae! It’s definitely green, and tastes like it is good for you. We quite liked it, but it could be an acquired taste.||It’s got vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and “small amounts of complete nutrition, nourishing all systems within the body, as opposed to a large dose of a specific synthetic supplement designed to target just one or two functions”|
Not much energy but loads of protein. It contains all 9 ‘essential’ amino acids.
|We took this during a hard week of training, and I’m sure we felt much better for it. Recovery seemed easier and generally were in fantastic health.||General health and wellbeing. Full of protein and nutrients, it’s got to be good for you.|
|Mountain Fuel Sports Jelly||Carb hit during running||3 flavours – cola, orange and lemon and lime – they are all quite subtle but taste good.||20g of carbs per jelly, also has electrolytes. Cola ones have caffeine in them.||We really liked these as a not so gloopy alternative to gels. They are a bit like gels, but not quite as sticky. Apparently, the formula “encapsulates the carbohydrate in a natural hydrogel enabling it to pass smoothly through your stomach to deliver sustained energy“. These have become our ‘go to’ race or long run nutrition and we’ve never had any stomach problems whilst using them. ||Those who don’t like traditional gels, but would like an alternative that is easy on the stomach, with some flavour, that can be easily digested.|