Event Nutrition: Candy Bars over Endurance Supplements

 

Background

We sought to analyze which supplements and candy bars provide the greatest caloric density per ounce and are therefore ideal for during event nutrition. We analyzed the most popular supplements seen in endurance sports and compared them by calories per ounce, caffeine per packet, and cost per ounce.

We didn’t analyze commonly prepared foods seen during these events such as peanut butter and jelly ect., or meal replacement bars such as ProBars or Cliff Builders Bars. We strictly analyzed popular, prepared, and on the go snacks. All the nutritional information expressed in this table was taken directly from the labels of these supplements/snacks or from the brand’s website. The cost of these supplements was calculated per packet from the brand’s website. If cost wasn’t displayed on the website we calculated the cost per ounce by buying wholesale of Amazon.com.

I included caffeine into our considerations as caffeine has well documented ergogenic effects for endurance exercise. An 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee generally contains anywhere from 80mg-135mg of caffeine. The optimum caffeine dosage for ergogenicity is 3-6 mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight. For example, I weigh 72.7 kg so my optimum caffeine dosage for performance-enhancing effects is 218mg-436mg. That’s the equivalent of me drinking anywhere from 2-6 cups of brewed coffee before my event. Take these numbers into consideration when looking at these supplements as most of them contain less caffeine than half a cup of coffee. Also, note that unless you are training while supplementing with caffeine don’t start taking large amounts of caffeine on race day as caffeine does have a diuretic effect in non-habitualized caffeine users that can put you at an increased risk of dehydration due to increased urination and increased risk of gastrointestinal distress.

 

Data

Brand/ Supplement Name Calories per Ounce Caffeine ( mg)

Per bar/packet unless noted

Cost per Ounce
Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate Bar 70-85% Cacao 168 136.5 $0.95
Twix Peanut Butter 152 5 $0.61
Honey Stinger Waffle 151 none $1.31
Special Dark Chocolate Bar 150 31 per serving $0.35
Symphony Milk Chocolate Bar 149 8 $0.72
Skor bar 149 4 $0.95
Mr. Goodbar 149 9 $0.48
Kit Kat Bar 145 5 $0.38
Hershey’s Chocolate Bar with Almonds 144 6 per serving $0.52
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 144 4 per serving $0.38
Peanut M&Ms 144 15 per serving $0.20
Twix Caramel Bar 143 5 $0.32
Snickers Bar 134.4 None $0.37
Clif Bloks Energy Chews 94.3 25,50 Depends on flavor $0.95
Clif Shot Energy Gel 91.7 25,50,100 Depends on flavor $1.04
Honey Stinger Energy Chews 90.9 32 mg if purchasing the caffeinated chews $1.25
Gu Energy Gel 88.5 0,20,40 Depends on flavor $1.32
Gu Roctane Energy Gel 88.5 0,35 Depends on flavor $2.27
Honey Stinger Energy Gel 88.5 32 mg if purchasing the caffeinated gel or Gel Ginsting $1.26
Gu Energy Chews 85.7 0,20 Depends on flavor $1.25
EFS Liquid Shot 80 None $1.20
Hammer Gel 77.6 can vary with flavor Espresso 50 mg,Tropical 25 mg $1.20

 

Takeaways

  • Dark Chocolate and Candy Bars are the most calorically dense snacks per ounce
  • Clif Energy products are not only high in caloric density but are also the highest in caffeine compared to other brands
  • Clif products are the cheapest compared to other endurance/ performance supplements
  • Most supplements do not contain enough caffeine to produce profound performance-enhancing effects
  • Gu and Honey Stinger Products are moderately calorically dense yet are often the most used and tend to be on the more expensive side
  • EFS Liquid shot may be convenient but it is not calorically dense
  • If calories and weight are primary considerations consume predominantly candy bars and dark chocolate
  • Gus/ Energy Chews contain an ideal sugar profile containing primarily maltodextrins. These glucose polymers are most quickly absorbed by the GI tract allowing them to reach working muscle fastest. These products are expensive but excellent for during race nutrition. Need additional forms of energy as well
  • We recommend consuming other forms of energy during events to get a more complete meal in terms of macronutrients and supplementing water with electrolyte mixes in order to maintain ideal hydration and electrolyte levels

 

 

Question/Comments/Feedback?  Email us at coach@mtntactical.com

 

 

 


You Might Also Like MTI’s In-Season Strength Training For Endurance Athlete