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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 08-12-06, 08:58 PM   #1
UmneyDurak
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Energy drinks Sugars

So I was buying Gu2O today. Never tried any energy drinks, except gatorade which I didn't like (putting aside the discussion whether Gatorade is an energy drink). Anyway I saw others like Endurox, Accelerate, Clif one. All of them had at least 40% of sugars for carbohydrates. Everything I heard and read says refined sugar is not all that good for you. So why all these drinks have so much of it? On the other hand Gu2O has very little sugars that make up it's carbonhydrates. So at least to me from that perspective Gu2O is better. Am I missing something?

On a down side it doesn't have protein. I also tried to find HEED, but couldn't.
Thanks.
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Old 08-12-06, 09:50 PM   #2
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There are several types of sugars with different effects on the human body. Simple sugars like glucose and Fructose taste sweeter but quickly reach a concentration that can hurt your stomach. Search osmolarity. More complex sugars like "Polycrose" a trademarked glucose polymer and plain old malto-dextrin can get you more calories per bottle without bothering you but may not taste as good. All edible sugars have been refined in some way. As an active cyclist you can be getting enough good foods (vegies and grains such) in your normal diet so that occasional slugs of energy drinks won't be a problem. Consider hitting the Internet and getting plain malto-dextrin for a few dollars a pound and mixing it with Chocolate or strawberry or vanilla shake mixes for taste. Ultra riders are the ones needing the complex meal replacements with balanced fat/protien/carbohydrate mixes like Perpetum

Oh, and why sugars? They will dissolve and you can drink them. Starches may be better for you but drink about like mashed potatoes. Ethanol is another simple soluable energy source but you will not get too far with it.
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Old 08-14-06, 09:29 AM   #3
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There's an article in Bicycling magazine about the different sugars and oxidation rate. Check it out.
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Old 08-14-06, 10:05 PM   #4
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Good article. Which brings me to another question, protein. On longer high intesnity ride is it a good idea to also have energy bars for protein, or is it goo much calories per hour? Maybe a better idea is to mix some protein in to it? I'm trying to find something to help in Road Races, and Hill intervals (3 hour total ride, half of it is high intensity).

Thanks.
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Old 08-15-06, 08:37 AM   #5
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From what I've been reading from various articles, studies and even marketing from the energy drink manufacturers, the 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein (in grams) seems to come up a lot. Accelerade is really pushing this ratio in there marketing. There are a lot of people that swear by Accelerade. I myself have not used it so I can not recommend it. My rides typically are less than 2 hours.

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Old 08-15-06, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UmneyDurak
Everything I heard and read says refined sugar is not all that good for you.
When you're exercising hard, nothing works better than sugars to fuel your muscles. The warnings against sugar consumption for sedentary people don't apply to endurance athletes.

There's no consensus on consuming protein while exercising. It's probably okay and maybe beneficial on long rides of several hours, but there's no convincing evidence it does any good at shorter distances.
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Old 08-15-06, 10:08 AM   #7
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From what I have read, it appears that *some* protein helps carb absorption in the stomach. The 4:1 ratio appears to be unnecessarily high. Nobody seems to be able to explain why, but the performance research does support it. I shoot more for the "some protein" window because it makes sense to eat some protein. But I think the 4:1 ratio pushed my Endurox is not necessary. Carmichael suggests 7:1. In the end, these ratios just happen to be whatever the source is marketing.
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Old 08-15-06, 10:23 AM   #8
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sugars while actually riding the bike are OK. 30-40g carbs per hour
in any form...but it has to be digestible so ya don't barf...which is why
sugars work for hammering

have a
sandwich if you are riding below barf level as long as carbs are there


sugars while not riding the bike = bad mojo...mmmmkay ? though
a 20 oz gatorade right after a ride is ok...just do the protein too...

protein is mostly wasted unless you drink it immediately after a ride
or right before bed. protein on the bike will get burned for energy and
not go into muscle repair...so yeah it provides power but there
are better things like sugars that provide power

ultra-distance..you try to find normal food you don't upchuck. this
can be donuts and bearclaws and water for an entire day as long
as it is more substantial than plain sugars (meaning fats).
the gut has to have something
to chew on so to speak. a great ultra distance food is ezekiel sprouted
bread. loads of power, very little upset under hard efforts. it digests
very well...but you'd think it wouldn't since it is pretty fiber-loaded
and heavy duty going down. but it is far better than any other breads...or donuts

ymmv..the only real answers are do some rides and test yerself with distance,
time, heart rate, power, and foods and see how your body reacts.
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Old 08-16-06, 12:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UmneyDurak
So I was buying Gu2O today. Never tried any energy drinks, except gatorade which I didn't like (putting aside the discussion whether Gatorade is an energy drink). Anyway I saw others like Endurox, Accelerate, Clif one. All of them had at least 40% of sugars for carbohydrates. Everything I heard and read says refined sugar is not all that good for you. So why all these drinks have so much of it? On the other hand Gu2O has very little sugars that make up it's carbonhydrates. So at least to me from that perspective Gu2O is better. Am I missing something?

On a down side it doesn't have protein. I also tried to find HEED, but couldn't.
Thanks.
This is a confusing area.

The reason that simple sugar and carbs are bad is that they have a big effect on blood sugar. Your blood sugar goes up quickly, you get an insulin spike, and the sugar gets stored away as fat, and your bood sugar goes down. Repeat.

A good example of this is the "chinese food experience". It chinese food with white rice, three hours later you're hungry again. The rice gave you a spike in blood sugar.

When you're exercising, however, you're using up sugar at a fair rate. The sugar that you get from your carb drink doesn't cause a blood sugar spike because it goes to your muscles. Your body is in the "use lots of calories" mode rather than the "store calories" mode.

Similarly, right after a hard workout, the carbs you eat get sent to your liver and muscles to replenish your glycogen stores.

I'm also an accelerade guy.
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Old 08-16-06, 09:31 PM   #10
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Bottom line, various sugars react differently with various people riding at various speeds in conjunction with various other previously ingested supplements and foodstuffs.

Often, people will post various conclusions about these various situations and assume they somehow apply to everyone. There is some general chemistry that provides a basis for why one carbohydrate "should" be more or less digestable than another. However, the dynamics of various cycling situations coupled with the diverse constitutions of the guts of - you guessed it - various cyclists often out weigh the "science" supporting one product over another.

There does exist a perfect mix of fuels and liquids for every rider for every situation. Good luck in finding yours.
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Old 08-19-06, 07:54 AM   #11
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The thing to watch out for is corn syrup. That's the baddest of the bad.
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Old 08-20-06, 07:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garfield Cat
The thing to watch out for is corn syrup. That's the baddest of the bad.
Goo Ole HFCS...Powerade list it as on of its primary ingredients. How can a recover drink be made up of crap that is bad for you?
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Old 08-20-06, 07:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garfield Cat
The thing to watch out for is corn syrup. That's the baddest of the bad.
A little fructose is okay if it's in a mix with other sugars. If it's all by itself, it can cause problems as the amount you can absorb is less than other sugars, and you can get the dreaded "GI upset" if you ingest too much.

So, avoid the drinks that are all HFCS, but if it's a minority component, it's fine.

And, as Richard said, this is a really personal thing. Different people have different reactions to different drinks.
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Old 08-25-06, 08:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrymorse
When you're exercising hard, nothing works better than sugars to fuel your muscles. The warnings against sugar consumption for sedentary people don't apply to endurance athletes.

There's no consensus on consuming protein while exercising. It's probably okay and maybe beneficial on long rides of several hours, but there's no convincing evidence it does any good at shorter distances.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericgu
This is a confusing area.

The reason that simple sugar and carbs are bad is that they have a big effect on blood sugar. Your blood sugar goes up quickly, you get an insulin spike, and the sugar gets stored away as fat, and your bood sugar goes down. Repeat.

A good example of this is the "chinese food experience". It chinese food with white rice, three hours later you're hungry again. The rice gave you a spike in blood sugar.

When you're exercising, however, you're using up sugar at a fair rate. The sugar that you get from your carb drink doesn't cause a blood sugar spike because it goes to your muscles. Your body is in the "use lots of calories" mode rather than the "store calories" mode.

Similarly, right after a hard workout, the carbs you eat get sent to your liver and muscles to replenish your glycogen stores.

I'm also an accelerade guy.
Terry & Eric's got it down. Rather than talk about black & white, yes/no, all-or-nothing, "good" vs. "evil" qualitative terms, put some numbers to these concepts and it'll make sense.

First the idea of "bad" carbs come from sedentary couch potatoes who eat way too much for their activity level. The muscles & liver will store about 1800-2200 calories of glycogen total. When you eat food when your glycogen stores are fully packed, the insulin-spike will force your body to convert all that blood-glucose into fat. "Good" more-complex carbs just happen to digest slower and convert to fat slower. But the main problem is that you're eating too much and when you don't need to.

However, athletes will burn off that glycogen-store at a rate of 500-800 calories/hr. Even up to 1000+/hr if you're doing a 40k TT at 25mph+. At these rates, you'll burn through your stored supply of glycogen within 2.5-3 hours and bonk. So the quest with energy-drinks is to supply glucose to your muscle-cells as quickly as possible. The process looks like this:

- ingestion: drinking/eating food
- digestion: breaking down the food in your stomach, note that no absorption occurs in the stomach
- gastric-emptying: moving the digested food from the stomach into the intestines
- absorption: in the intestines occur at a maximum rate of about 200-250 cal/hr for the simplest-carbs (glucose)

Note that the fastest rate of absorption using the most simple carbs still occurs slower than the rate at which you burn calories. Glucose-absorption requires active-transport with an exchange of a sodium-ion for each glucose. Adding some fructose with facilitated-diffusion (5-10x faster than glucose) can boost the total calories-absorbed to about 300 cal/hr (there are side-effects to fructose, so we'll limit it).

With increased fitness and muscle-efficiency, you can burn a certain amount of fat as well, but it's still only about 200-300 cal/hr maximum, the rest will still have to come from carbs. So, the quest with energy drinks is to give you the fastest digestion and absorption-rate possible. That means the simplest sugars possible. But that can lead to concentrations which hinders gastric-emptying and tastes too sweet.

In comes a miracle of science, maltodextrin, which is a chain of 3 to 20 glucose molecules. This reduces osmolality (particles per liter) and speeds up gastric emptying. The maltodextrin has the weakest hydrogen bonds possible and it breaks down into glucose very quickly so that once it's in the intestines, it's pretty much pure glucose for the fastest absorption possible (same high GI as glucose). So you end up with the best of both worlds, you get an energy-drink that doesn't taste too sweet, it empties from the stomach quickly, and can deliver the maximum amount of 200-300 cal/hr of glucose into the intestines for fastest absorption and energy-replenishment.

This works well for the magical 20-30 minutes AFTER a ride as well for recovery. The insulin-spike will signal your muscle-cells to absorb glucose and convert to glycogen for recovery. Actually, you don't even need high insulin levels to pump the glucose across the cell walls into the muscles during this recovery-period. This is where the 4:1 carb-protein ratio seems to work well to enhance absorption as well, but it varies based upon concentration.

Basically, in regards to carbs, you want the simplest, fastest-absorbing, highest-GI carbs/sugars possible while exercising and for recovery. Then complex, low-GI carbs at all other sedentary times. There's no one "right" answer for all conditions.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 08-26-06 at 01:02 AM.
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Old 08-26-06, 05:54 PM   #15
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I just ordered some Endurox
yesterday and it will arrive
next week, BUT I just made
a recovery drink that is the BOMB!

I took a liter of Lemon Lime Gatorade
and put 44 grams of whey protein
powder in it, whirled it in a blender
for a few seconds and not only did it perk
me up almost as soon as I downed it,
it tasted damned good too!

Hell, I just got back from doing 30
miles on the "Beast" and feel like I
could do another 30.

The "Beast" http://www.rhoadescar.com/4w1p-j.jpg
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