We’ve reviewed the best energy bars for triathlon to give you the verdict on nutrition in your next race.
1 Performance Oatmeal Bar
These bars are so chunky they could double up as house bricks. They’re very similar in taste to the giant yoghurt-coated flapjacks you can buy at petrol stations. Their ingredients didn’t please our nutritionist Dr Kevin Currell, who said they were too high in processed fat. The thin packaging wasn’t much better. It ripped open so easily that a half-eaten bar soon became a mass of crumbs in our pocket.
2 Xcel bar, Yum Yum Bros
£ 1.49 (24 x 75g)
These chocolatey breezeblocks contain plenty of carbs, some from oats and some from sugars, but Currell felt they were slightly too high in fat. This helps makes them taste nice, but slows the digestion of carbohydrates during exercise. Their thick oaty centre is bound in a lovely chocolate goo that would make a great desert in its own right. So, while they may taste great, they’re not the best nutritionally. Still, they’ll get you out of a hole if you blow up on a long ride.
£1.40 per bar (65g)
Torq bars taste less like an energy bar and more like something you’d find at Holland & Barrett. They’re all natural, and organic so you can be sure they’re made from top-notch sources. They contain maltodextrin and fructose too, which, when eaten together, optimises your absorption of carbs. They’re not as sweet as some of the other bars here, but they’re perfect when you’re halfway through a race and want something easy on the stomach.
4 Zip Vit ZV8
These bars are sweet, dense and fruity and come in either yoghurt or uncoated versions. The apricot peach one we tested was full of tiny bits of dried fruit, oats and rice, and exploded with flavour on each bite. They were very sweet, but at least it was a natural sweetness, which made them perfectly palatable during a race. Currell was impressed with their ingredients list, except for nine vitamins that he felt were of no benefit to endurance performance.
5 CNP Pro Energy
The consistency of these bars reminded us of something we might hang out for the sparrows in winter, but according to Currell, it’s no bad thing. There’s hardly any fat in them, and the short ingredients list shows there’s no rubbish either. They’re stuffed full of all the right carbs for training and racing. The banana flavour tasted just like the fruit, but the dry consistency meant we needed water to help them slip down.
6 SIS Go
SIS have updated their Go bars, making them softer and easier to eat. It’s worked a treat and even on cold, frosty days you’ll have no problem getting your chops around them. We tried the new red berry flavour with its fruity outer-layer wrapped around a cereal-based inner, and they soon became a firm favourite. Our nutritionist Dr Currell liked them too, because they contained top-quality carbs in a small package that was easy to carry. We could only agree.
This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine – click here to subscribe