Sound Bites, Vol.4 #1 – Refueling Alternatives

Sound Bites, Vol.4 #1 – Refueling Alternatives

Refueling your body after strenuous activity is a must for rowers!  Especially when you have multiple races over a day or weekend.  Our coach likes to provide gummy bears to rowers–it’s a quick source of glucose plus they are fun!  But are they the best refueling source?  Some people have concerns about food colorings, sugar content with potential cariogenicity, and other health concerns related to gummy candy.

Here is a summary of refueling goals, product criteria, research, and suggestions.

Goals:

Primary

Secondary

  • Provide a small reward for a job well done
  • Create a tradition that is fun and meaningful to the team

 

Desirable Snack Characteristics:

  • Contains easily digested simple carbohydrate (eg, glucose, lactose, sucrose, fructose)
  • Amount needed to replete athlete is acceptable (~15-30 grams carbohydrate)
  • Palatable
  • Portable (not easily squashed, degradable, or perishable)
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easily distributed to crews
  • Sanitary and low risk of food borne bacteria (eg, packaged vs homemade)
  • See Sound Bites article (Vol.3#2) on Refueling at vashoncrew.com
  • Does not contain ingredients that could be harmful or nutritionally unacceptable
  • More than one product should be available in case an athlete has a food intolerance, allergy, preference, or other concern that is not met by the current product

 

Current Product:

Haribo Gold-Bears Gummi Candy

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size 17 pieces                    (usual serving after a race 3-4, according to coach)

Calories 130                                        (@ 5 pieces = 38)

Total fat 0                                            (0)

Sodium 10 mg                                    (3)

Total Carb 30 gm                               (9)

Sugars 19 gm                                      (5.6)

Protein 3 gm                                      (< 1)

Ingredients:  Corn syrup, sugar, gelatin, dextrose, citric acid, corn starch, artificial and natural flavors, fractionate coconut oil, carnauba wax, beeswax coating, artificial colors: yellow 5, red 40, blue 1

 

Review of Current Product:

  • Calories are probably inadequate to replete energy expended during the race period in the amount generally consumed (3-4 pieces), so that a more complete meal should be eaten 3-4 hours before competition. If the next race is within the hour limit consumption to simple carbs, if the next race is 1-2 hours away eat a snack with 15gm complex carbs + 7gm protein, and if 3-4 hours away eat a balanced meal containing carb + protein + moderate fat.
  • Product has most other characteristics, except the last one to provide an alternative choice
  • Re: ingredients that could be harmful or nutritionally unacceptable see the following references:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggestions for Alternative Post-Race Snacks:

  • Remember that in the amounts eaten (3-4 gummies after 1-3 races), there is very little exposure to any potential health risk, and that the diet eaten at home, school, and leisure (including regatta meals) is much more important to overall health, well-being, and athletic performance
  • Parents can provide an alternative post-race snack that the coach can offer along with the gummy bears. It may be that most athletes would prefer a more natural snack
  • Parents with concerns about gummy bears might want to discuss it with their athletes and suggest the athlete refrain from eating gummies and instead choose the alternative post-race snack
  • Examples of snacks that have the “desirable snack characteristics” note above include:
    • small apples (found in a net bag at the store for ~$5.99/5#)
    • small tangerines (easy to peel) or orange wedges
    • packaged gummies made from fruit juice
    • mini raisin boxes
    • small snack bags of dried fruit (parents can pre-package)
    • 4 ounce juice box
    • 5 teddy grahams (equivalent in calories to 5 gummy bears)
    • 10-15 grapes
    • ½ package (1 bar) Nature Valley granola bar

Gu or other energy gels,  gummies, bloks, or jelly beans, although these can be expensive (see http://www.runnersworld.com/fuel-school/alternatives-to-energy-gels

 

My suggestion for an alternative to gummy bears is teddy grahams.  They contain fairly fast acting carbs, don’t have any weird ingredients, are about the same in nutritional value as gummy bears, are not candy, are fun–and are in the same bear family!   What’s not to like?  G–row–l!

Product Alternative:

Nabisco Teddy Grahams:

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size 24 pieces

Calories 130                                       (@ 5 bears = 27 Calories)

Total fat 4                                           (< 1)

Sodium 100 mg                                 (21)

Total Carb 23 gm                              (4.8)

Sugars 7 gm                                       (1.5)

Protein 2 gm                                      (< 0.5))

Ingredients:  GRAHAM FLOUR (WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR), UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), SUGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, DEXTROSE, HONEY, MALTODEXTRIN, CALCIUM CARBONATE (SOURCE OF CALCIUM), BAKING SODA, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, CINNAMON, SOY LECITHIN, ZINC OXIDE (SOURCE OF ZINC), REDUCED IRON.

Author Debby Jackson is a Registered Dietitian, former Certified Diabetes Educator, and a masters rower with Vashon Island Rowing Club.



Leave a Reply