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.
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
(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)