Energy Bars

Our group of age group athletes and our partner nutritionist compared six bars on their long rides. Read on to find out
the test results…

If you prefer solid foods over liquid options on your long rides, energy bars are the most popular option. There are many choices available, all having advantages and disadvantages, depending on your individual needs. Energy bars provide you with fast-acting carbohydrates to facilitate ultra quick energy delivery which you need constantly during a long session. The next pages will show you six products, tested by our athlete team and our nutritionist partner. Based on your very own nutrition plan and requirements, you can use this test to find the best product for you. Stay tuned for the testing of energy gels in the next issue.

How we tested

The energy bar suppliers provided their products to 10 age-group athletes. Over several weeks, they used and tested them on rides ranging from 60km to 130km. The athletes, aged 29-47, gave feedback by scoring and answering questions on taste, texture, stomachfriendliness and ease of use. We also asked them to summarise their overall product experience and how the bar fitted in with their individual needs. Our nutritionist, Rebecca Hay, looked at the energy bars from a professional point of view. She reviewed the composition of the product and its suitability for longer rides.

Our nutritionist

Rebecca Hay is part of The Athlete’s Kitchen, which supports athletes with their performance nutrition and everyday dietary needs. The Athlete’s Kitchen is very aware that a one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer. Rebecca Hay has been working in the field of sports nutrition for many years. She has a background in endurance sports in particular, having completed three Ironman triathlons herself.

Winners Cadels Mountain Mix

$2.20 per bar

www.winnersbars.com

Nutritional information (55g bar)

Carbohydrates: 34g; fat: 6.4g; protein: 4g; sodium: 4.4mg; KJ: 896

Nutritionist’s verdict

This is a nicely balanced product. There is a manageable amount of carbohydrate with a low enough amount of fat and protein to allow for rapid absporption. There is also a significant amount of sodium to help replace salt loss while exercising.

Nutritionist’s score: 9/10

Athletes’ score (out of 10)

Taste: 8/7; texture/consistency: 8.2; ease of use: 8.2; stomach friendliness: 8; overall: 8.3.

Athletes’ verdict

An all-time favourite as it tastes like real food and fills me up. Possibly best consumed in early part of ride.

 

Endura Energy Bar Chocolate

$4.65 per bar

www.endura.com.au

Nutritional information (60g bar)

Carbohydrates: 38g; fat: 6.4g; protein: 8.1g; sodium: 0.5mg; KJ: 1022

Nutritionist’s verdict

This product has plenty of carbohydrate for energy while on a long ride. Moderate fat and protein content make it a little slower to absorb than other products tested. Still a suitable choice for a long ride and definitely a consideration for a race situation.

Nutritionist’s score: 8/10

Athletes’ score (out of 10)

Taste: 7.5; texture/consistency: 6.3; ease of use: 6.5; stomach friendliness: 5.8; overall verdict: 6.5

Athlete’s verdict

Great source of energy and flavour but very intense. A real pick-me-up. Needs a lot of chewing and it slightly annoyed the stomach at higher intensity.

 

Peakfuel Snack Nutrition Bar

$3.50 per bar

www.peakfuel.co.nz

Nutritional information (50g bar)

Carbohyrdates: 26g; fat: 6.4g; protein: 10.7g; sodium: 0.2mg; KJ: 709

Nutritionist’s verdict

This would be best used as a pre- or post-ride snack or on a longer, slower ride. For this option to be a suitable race fuel, this has a little too much protein. The presence of the protein will slow down the digestion and absorption of the carbhydrate in particular.

Nutritionist’s score: 7.5/10

Athletes’ score (out of 10)

Taste: 7.7; texture/consistency: 7.3; ease of use: 7.8; stomach friendliness: 7.7; overall verdict: 7.6

Athlete’s verdict

Great stuff! Quick to chew as it has a soft consistency. Natural flavour, easy to digest – no problems here.

 

Science in Sport Go Bar energize

$4.00 per bar

www.scienceinsport.com.au

Nutritional information (65g bar)

Carbohydrates: 26g; fat: 6.4g; protein: 10.7g; sodium: 0.2mg

Nutritionist’s verdict

This is the lowest fat product which is important for many athletes. The moderate amount of protein is not as much of an issue here due to the lower fat content. This option provides a good amount of carbohydrate for muscle fuel and hence suits a long ride.

Nutritionist’s score: 8.5/10

Athletes’ score (out of 10)

Taste: 8.2; texture/consistency: 8.3; ease of use: 8; stomach friendliness: 8.3; overall verdict: 8.2

Athlete’s verdict

Tasted great and was easy to eat. Quite filling for the size of the bar but a little hard to open while riding.

 

PowerBar Performance Energize

$4.19 per bar

www.powerbar.com

Nutritional information (60g bar)

Carbohydrates: 40g; fat: 3g; protein: 8g; sodium: 0.2mg; KJ: 954

Nutritionist’s verdict

This is a low fat, moderate protein choice. The amount of carbohydrate is suitable for a long ride and will not be hindered by the other nutrients present. Great choice for a long slow ride and suitable for racing as well as for athletes that like a low fat product.

Nutritionist’s verdict: 8.5/10

Athletes’ score (out of 10)

Taste: 8.7; texture/consistency: 7.2; ease of use: 7.3; stomach friendliness; 6.3; overall verdict: 7.4

Athlete’s verdict

Great, different vanilla taste and perfect source of energy without the fat. Takes a while to chew. Eat slowly, as it can otherwise affect your stomach and practice opening it.

 

Dextro Energy Carbohydrate Bar

$4.99 per bar

www.dextro-energy.com.au

Nutritional information (60g bar)

Carbohydrates: 58g; fat: 5.8g; protein: 16.3g; sodium: 0.08mg; KJ: 1522

Nutritionist’s verdict

This bar duo would provide enough energy for an hour or more on a long ride. However, the high amount of protein present will slow down the absorption of the carbohydrate for muscle fuel. This is another ideal choice for post-ride or a less intense ride.

Nutritionist’s score: 7/10

Athletes’ score (out of 10)

Taste: 6; texture/consistency: 5.5; ease of use: 8.5; stomach friendliness: 9; overall verdict: 7.3

Athlete’s verdict

Not the most exciting flavour but does the job: No stomach issues and the two-bar packaging is a great idea. Delivers nearly twice as much energy as many competiors. Easy!

 

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