Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gummy Bears & Plain Yogurt

A Facebook question inspired me to write a long-winded, full-post response. It helped me think of some other points I've been meaning to make. See below:

"Thanks for the post Mel!…I love my sugar  Probably should start working on this though as I am sure I take in way too much. Questions-- 1)what about added sugar to things during exercise? Say during a marathon or endurance event. Sometimes I eat gummy bears while riding the bike! 2) I don't really like the taste of the plain greek yogurt, I have used it in cooking but just not straight up. I've usually been getting the fruit flavored ones. Is there anything I can do to make it more palatable for me? Maybe adding fresh fruit to it? Thanks for the info!"

Low to moderate glycemic index foods may benefit your workout 1 hour or so before a workout. These foods are lower in fiber and can be digested quickly. Too much sugar right before working out can cause a reflexive low blood sugar. Therefore, it may be best to try a little bit of protein with the carbs 2 hours before working out. These foods should do ok 1-2 hours before a workout:
  • Apple + string cheese
  • Banana + 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • Walnuts + yogurt
  • Carrots, hummus, whole grain crackers
  • Multigrain toast + low fat cheese or peanut butter
  • Peach + cottage cheese
  • Sports bar
  • Oatmeal + protein powder or nuts
  • Smoothie (fruit + yogurt or protein powder)

As for nutrition during training, you should aim for 30-60g carbohydrates per hour or about 1g/kg/hour. Usually “simple” carbohydrates are usually well digested and absorbed during a workout but the source of carbohydrates also makes a difference. While exercising, you want the fuel that will help raise your blood sugar the fastest.

Most commercial products have a variety of sources of carbohydrates include glucose polymers, glucose, sucrose, and fructose. Fructose is not used a lot because it is not well absorbed and therefore can create stomach upset. Most products contain a combination of sources since they are absorbed at different rates. This allows your body to have a more continuous source of fuel. Sports drinks are specially formulated to provide the max amount of glucose that your system can digest without upset, about 4-8% concentrated.

Gummy bears are made up of sugar, glucose syrup, starch, flavoring, food coloring, citric acid and gelatin. Each gummy bear has about 9 calories, all of which are coming from carbohydrates (2.2g per gummy bear). Therefore, if it is the main source of carbohydrates during a workout, you would have to take in 15-30 gummy bears per hour. If this is a reasonable amount, or if you paired the bears with a sports drink, it seems like a good plan. The main thing is to find a “food” and/or drink that is palatable and tolerable over a long time. Always bring a back-up for ultra-endurance events because 10+ hours of gummy bears could get real old.

As for Greek yogurt, you might add any combination of the following:
  • Fresh fruit (my fav is mangos) 
  • Frozen fruit (While it thaws it juices into the yogurt leaving a nice sweetness. I'll buy the giant bag of berries from Costco and mix them with the yogurt, overnight. )
  • Low sugar jelly
  • Granola such as Bear Naked or Nature’s Path
  • Chopped nuts
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice
  • Pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, which is sweetened)
  • Stevia/Truvia
  • Mix half flavored yogurt with half unflavored
  • Vanilla, almond, or other extract
Hope that helps!


Ryan, M. Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes. Boulder: Velo Press; 2007. 

1 comment:

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