I was shooting the breeze with a runner last night who got me thinking about something. I admit this might be shocking and it may be one of those series of thoughts that possibly should have been left within the confines of my brain, but there is a thought here and I will share it with you. What I’m thinking about is sardines — or rather what should energy products really taste like? (I realize there is a big leap there, so stick with me.)Let me back up and start at the beginning. The context of the conversation went something like this: “I eat sardines for a pre-run snack.” That was sort of the whole conversation, because then I had to digest that.
But here’s the thing, once I digested it I realized that there is an interesting topic here. On the one hand, the biggest (THE BIGGEST) complaint that I hear on a daily basis from runners is that ENERGY GELS ARE TOO SWEET. The complaint comes in many forms, but all of the forms come back to the general idea that too much sweet does not do a tummy good.
There is a reason why many energy products are sweet. They’re sweet because carbohydrate is a good source of quickly and easily metabolized energy for most people. Most simple carbohydrates are sweet in taste, especially those that come from cheap simple sugars like dextrose, sucrose or fructose. There are two big “howevers” though. On the one hand, the sweetness in energy products also comes from flavorings that tend make the product even sweeter and the “for most people” means that many people have a tough time digesting certain kinds of sugars. So you could make energy products less sweet. Energy products, including gels, bars, drinks and blocks, tend to be pretty sweet. Some people have tried to tone down the sweetness of the taste palette of some of these products. One of my friends that formulated a hydration product went to the flavor palette of foods in Japan for instance and they tend to make foods much less sweet than we do here in the USA.
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