How to Find the Best Sports Foods for Your Diet

Have you have ever wondered which is the best sports drink, energy bar, or gel? The answer is the best choice is the product that pleases your taste buds and settles well in your stomach. You simply need to experiment to determine which products (if any) work best for your body.

A multitude of businesses have jumped on the bandwagon to create sports foods that appeal to a variety of athletes, including those with special diets (such as gluten-free or vegan) to athletes who are just plain hungry and want a "healthier" cookie (most energy bars). While busy athletes enjoy the ease of using pre-wrapped sports foods, these commercial products tend to be more about convenience than necessity. Certainly, there is a time and place for these products, but "real" food (such as raisins, gummi bears, chocolate milk) can do the same job at a lower price. And please don't underestimate the power of peanut butter, bananas, and honey.

Below is an extensive (but incomplete) list of various types of sports fuels. Perhaps the information will help you untangle the jungle of choices. Don't be swayed by a product's name; it might be more powerful than the sports food itself.

SPORTS DRINKS:

With sodium (and perhaps other electrolytes): Gatorade, PowerAde, Edge Energy, Hydro-Boom!, GU2O, CytoMax, Infinit, Vitalyte

All natural, without dye/food coloring:

Carb BOOM! Electrolyte Drink, First Endurance EFS, HEED, Clif Quench, Recharge, Coconut Water

Extra sodium (if you plan to exercise for >2 hours in the heat):

Gatorade Endurance, PowerBar Endurance, E-Fuel, First Endurance EFS, Clif Shot Electrolyte Drink, E-Load, Hydro Pro Cooler, Motor Tabs, GU Brew Electrolyte, Infinit, UCAN, Powerbar Ironman Perform

Added "buffers": Cytomax, Perpetuem, Revenge Sport

Extra carbs: Perpetuem, Carbo-Pro

Added protein (may reduce post-exercise muscle soreness):

Amino Vital, Perpetuem, Accelerade, Revenge Pro, UCAN

Sports drinks for dieters (i.e., lower calorie):

G2, PowerAde Zero, Ultima Replenisher, Propel, Nuun, Nathan Catalyst, Elixir

GELS

(Test these during training; they often contribute to diarrhea)

Gu, Carb-BOOM!, Clif Shot, Honey Stinger

Extra sodium: PowerBar Gel, Crank Sports e-Gel, EFS Liquid

Shot, Gu Roctane

Added protein: Accel Gel, Hammer Gel, EFS Liquid Shot, Gu

Roctane, Endless edge

Added caffeine: GU (most flavors), Rocktane (most flavors), Clif Shot Gel (Mocha, Double Espresso, Chocolate Cherry, Citrus, Strawberry); Carb-BOOM Chocolate Cherry, Hammer Gel Espresso, PowerBar Gel (Double Latte, Tangerine, Chocolate, Green Apple and Strawberry-banana); Honey Stinger Ginsting and Strawberry

Added extras: EAS Energy Gel (taurine)

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM