chocolate vs energy products

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  • chocolate vs energy products
  • I’ve found a few times recently that energy chews/bars don’t seem to work for some reason but if i have a chocolate bar/choc cake, then I get a decent energy boost and I’ll be back on form again. When I’ve noticed this, i don’t actually *need* the energy bars/chews but want them for a kick to keep up with the chaingang/to start eating before it gets to the stage when I’d start to tire. Is it likely to be because I don’t need it, that chocolate works better than energy products in that situation? Would being a bit dehydrated mean it is easier for my body to use chocolate for an instant kick rather than the chews?

    lucien
    Member

    Can o’worms……in short

    Gels, chews, and to some extent chocolate offer quick release carbs – downside with chocolate is there is a good dose of saturated fat also (arind 30-40% in your average choccie bar).

    Bars / oats / malt loaf / flapjack (home made) / sandwiches / rolls etc tend to provide energy over a sustained period and good for longer rides / all day type stuff.

    Problem with sugar based energy is the spike it causes in your energy levels – look at the pro’s – they are not taking gels on until the end of the ride / race and are having sandwiches, bars, small brioce/buns etc during the race.

    I don’t know if hydration means chocolate abosrbs better than a gel – doubt it as overall hydration does effect energy abosrbtion and levels – have you thought about using an energy drink instead?

    juan
    Member

    Is you can found it there is a proper study as why chocolated drinks are better for recovery than “purposed made stuff”.

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    Its likely that chocolate gives you a mental boost, which would make it worthwhile in my opinion. There is research that it releases endorphins into the brain, but on top of that its no bad thing to take in fuel from an enjoyable source, if you think it makes you go better, then it will.

    jwmlee
    Member

    Nothing like scientific but have found eating bananas with a couple of squares of chocolate works well.

    For really sustained rides I carbo-load the night before.

    Keeping well hydrated also keeps my energy levels up.

    AndrewJ
    Member

    The trick is not to get to the stage where you need a boost. Eat foods that give a slow release of energy regularly when your riding and there’s less chance of your body bonking.

    Personally I eat Power Bar Ride, they are chocolate coated so I then get the best of both.

    Gary_M
    Member

    I always carry some chocolate on my commute in case I get the bonk on the ride home, had it once 8 miles from home in the depths of winter crawled home with blurred vision, etc. I don’t think an energy gel would have done the trick in that situation but chocolate does.

    I wouldn’t graze on chocolate to get me through a ride though. If I’m doing a big ride I’ll normally have an energy gel/product every 30 minutes and I certainly wouldn’t do that with chocolate.

    So for me chocolate can work as an emergency ‘get me home’ but thats it.

    FuzzyWuzzy
    Member

    Pretty much as Lucien posted, ignore what Juan posted as that’s about post-ride recovery drinks…

    I know what works for me for recovery. I was just curious as to why sometimes chocolate works better than energy products. I decided after yesterday (when energy products didn’t give me anything but a slice of chocolate cake did) to always carry chocolate with me now for emergencies.

    @lucien, I’ve tried energy drinks and was hoping not to use them this year, in favour of gels/chews and water. I’m talking (mostly) short road races of 50miles or so. I can’t eat proper food as i’m working hard so chocolate or gels is about my only option – plus i shouldn’t need to eat during a race of that length if i’m well fed before it. Its different if its a longer ride/event though.

    soobalias
    Member

    If I’m doing a big ride I’ll normally have an energy gel/product every 30 minutes

    Wow.

    and you really think that the energy in a gel wouldnt have been enough to get you 8miles on a commute?

    lucien
    Member

    As per my post really, Pro’s not eating chocolate and if it worked you can be sure they would be…..

    Avg fat content – chocolate 30g / per 100g
    Avg fat content – Jelly Babies 0g/ per 100g

    Eat more and early as 50 miles is still 50 miles, assuming you are completing in around 2 – 2.5 hours, you’ll be feeling the effects after about 60-90min of hard exercise

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I wouldn’t graze on chocolate to get me through a ride though. If I’m doing a big ride I’ll normally have an energy gel/product every 30 minutes and I certainly wouldn’t do that with chocolate.

    I’m always amazed at the frequency they (energy bar/gel manufacturers) tell you to eat their stuff. One bottle of energy drink per hour plus three gels?!

    I did a very hilly 60 mile road ride in the Lakes yesterday which took 4hrs and in that time I had two bottles of water, one gel and a Nutri Grain. OK, I had scrambled egg on toast and a coffee before heading out and a cake when I got back but I was fine. Eating that much energy food would a) make me sick and b) make me very poor.

    DrP
    Member

    I have yazoo in my camel back and rub nutella around my gums if I’m feeling a bit ‘woozy’……..

    DrP

    AndrewJ
    Member

    Warning – Eating chocolate turns you ginger 🙂

    Gary_M
    Member

    Wow. and you really think that the energy in a gel wouldnt have been enough to get you 8miles on a commute?

    Don’t get your point but it was the last 8 miles of a 20 mile commute, howling headwind, pishing rain, hadn’t eaten enough during the day.

    An energy gel wouldn’t have given the instant hit I needed, chocolate would have.

    The every 30 minute thing on big solo rides works for me, I usually drink plain water. It works for me and thats all that matters to me.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Cashew nuts work for me, (with raisins, because they’re a bit dry on their own)

    Chocolate’s not good for me personally, because I get a big crash afterwards.

    All this energy product crap is a distraction from the three fundamentals of cycling… riding hard, drinking beer and eating cake.

    GlitterGary
    Member

    McDonalds before a ride works for me, and a few pints after.

    ron jeremy
    Member

    The Southern Yeti – Member
    All this energy product crap is a distraction from the three fundamentals of cycling… riding hard, drinking beer and eating cake.

    Aren’t the last two energy food?

    jeffcapeshop
    Member

    if you’re feeling an “instant” boost, it’s maybe to do with the sugar being more accessible? do gels etc have much straight-up sugar?

    there’s a very interesting bit of a radiolab episode which is kind of related – about 12 minutes into this: http://www.radiolab.org/2010/apr/05/limits-of-the-body/

    basically a study where cyclists rinsed/spat out real and “fake” energy drink – so should have been evenly matched, but those spitting out real energy drink did better. The thinking is that if your body thinks it’s getting more energy shortly, it gives the go-ahead to free up the reserves it was saving in case you’re attacked by a bear etc.

    uh or something like that. Anyway, it’s an interesting piece (as are all the radiolab shows, tbh)

    Aren’t the last two energy food

    Nope, they’re part of the ‘staple’ food group.

    dantsw13
    Member

    Midride – snickers/jelly babies from my pack.
    Post ride – Coffee and Eccles cake or pint of Harveys Best, depending on day/night ride.

    You may have guessed I’m not a racer 🙂

    Macavity
    Member

    Theobromine

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Top trump energy food – kendal mint cake (malt loaf, jelly babies)

    Top trump drink – lemon barley water plus salt

    Done!!

    4+ hour ride yesterday – KMC, jelly babies and 2litres of water in camelbak. Sorted.

    Energy drinks, bars, gels etc overhyped and overpriced IMHO

    dingabell
    Member

    Pot noodle before ride.
    Snickers during ride.
    Three pints, a packet of peanuts and two bars of dairy milk after ride for “recovery”.
    Trust me, it’s the next Atkins diet!

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    All this energy product crap is a distraction from the three fundamentals of cycling… riding hard, drinking beer and eating cake.

    Two out of three aint bad?

    Must ride more/harder.

    IME chocolate doesnt really work for me, I try and carb up before a big ride, have an energy drink before I start, then wine gums and water in the camelback. Pint to finish too.

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