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Your Favorite Non-Sugar Bomb Energy Bar Brand

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Your Favorite Non-Sugar Bomb Energy Bar Brand

Old 10-06-20, 02:38 PM
  #1  
PoorInRichfield
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Your Favorite Non-Sugar Bomb Energy Bar Brand

TL;DR;
What is your favorite energy bar brand to take with you on long rides that isn't excessively high in sugar and carbs?

For those that like to read...
A million years ago when I started cycling, PowerBars were one of the first energy bars available that were convenient for cycling. The early version were a lot like eating a stick of flavored rubber that became hard as a rock when temperatures dropped. While they did the job, I got really tired of eating them and had to switch to something that wouldn't melt in warm temps but wouldn't freeze in cooler temps. I then switch primarily to Clif Bars as they at least looked more like real food and had better flavors.

However, over the past few years, I've broken my addiction to sugar and carbs and prefer to eat foods high in healthy fats and lower in sugar. I ate a Clif Bar yesterday while on a hike and I found I just don't like all the sugar they pump into those things. I do understand that the point of the high sugar and high carb content is for a "quick burst of energy" and is "by design", but I no longer want that. As such, I'm wondering if I should even be eating "energy bars" at all as most of them are "sugar bombs". While hiking, I could (and probably should) eat nuts and trail mix, but that obviously doesn't work so hot while cycling as it's hard to eat while riding.

I've tried Rx Bars and they're OK, but have a consistency that is an awful lot like the original PowerBars... i.e., like a stick of rubber. Hence, I'm wondering what else is out there short of going through the labor of making my own (which I'm far too lazy to do at this time!)

The nutrition label for the Clif Bar "Chocolate Brownie" bar. While 21g of sugar is still less than a can of Pepsi or Coke, it's just too much for me.
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Old 10-06-20, 03:14 PM
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PowerBar is still the only one I can handle,

but I mainly go with a bag of dried fruit & some nuts.
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Old 10-06-20, 03:25 PM
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How do you have an energy bar that is not high in carbs? Otherwise I guess a stick of butter might be okay for some slowly absorbed energy. But at the rate a body converts fats to energy, don't expect to be zone 4 and 5 for long periods.

Dried fruit is good and I take some to snack on too, but those are carbs. And the OP doesn't want carbs.

Last edited by Iride01; 10-06-20 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 10-06-20, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
How do you have an energy bar that is not high in carbs? Otherwise I guess a stick of butter might be okay for some slowly absorbed energy.

Dried fruit is good and I take some to snack on too, but those are carbs. And the OP doesn't want carbs.
Yup. The whole point of that stuff is to yield energy without having to recruit digestive and metabolic processes which have their own energy costs and require diversion of blood to the gut, which might otherwise be going to the muscles. Fat contains lots of energy, but it is not nearly as accessible as that in carbs.
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Old 10-06-20, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
How do you have an energy bar that is not high in carbs? Otherwise I guess a stick of butter might be okay for some slowly absorbed energy. But at the rate a body converts fats to energy, don't expect to be zone 4 and 5 for long periods.

Dried fruit is good and I take some to snack on too, but those are carbs. And the OP doesn't want carbs.
I guess I'm looking for things closer to an Rx Bar. Not exactly sugar or carb-free, but lower in sugar than Clif Bars...

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Old 10-06-20, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
I guess I'm looking for things closer to an Rx Bar. Not exactly sugar or carb-free, but lower in sugar than Clif Bars...

What do you want your bar to do for you?
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Old 10-06-20, 03:49 PM
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Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you can't get energy from things other than carbs. But carbs are absorbed by the body faster. They provide the energy that fills the high demand void that fat's can't.

I also question why you need anything at all if you don't want to use carbs. Just drink water and go for any food your stomach can tolerate. IMO, anyone that isn't starved and mal nourished will have plenty of fat in their body already to fuel any ride. Just won't be doing zone 4 and 5 very long or often.

If you get any energy boost feeling from these low carb foods you are using. Then I'd say you are only getting that feeling from the few carbs they have. The carbs, no matter how few they are, get absorbed quickly and replenish some of your spent glycogen. IMO, The other stuff does nothing but sate your appetite as the conversion of fat to energy for the bodies needs is nearly the same rate at low efforts as it is for high efforts. And that rate is not high enough to keep up with the expenditure of high efforts.
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Old 10-06-20, 03:50 PM
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Ignoring the can of worms that is wholesale cutting out foods vs a more nuanced approach, honey stinger waffles may be worth looking at. At a glance, proportionally similar to the Rx bar you posted.
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Old 10-06-20, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I also question why you need anything at all if you don't want to use carbs. Just drink water and go for any food your stomach can tolerate. IMO, anyone that isn't starved and mal nourished will have plenty of fat in their body already to fuel any ride. Just won't be doing zone 4 and 5 very long or often.
You're right in that on my typical ride which is 40 miles in the hills, I don't take food, just water. However, on my 60+ mile rides I just get a little hungry Since I'm just riding for pleasure, I'm not looking for "race fuel" but for something remotely nutritional that has some energy value to it. Maybe I shouldn't be asking for opinions on "energy bars" and instead ask for "portable nutrition"
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Old 10-06-20, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
"portable nutrition"
Good concept. Nuts and dried fruit (prunes have the lowest glycemic index) would probably satisfy on all counts.
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Old 10-06-20, 04:16 PM
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I keep Rip Van Wafels on a monthly subscription.

I like the taste and has low sugar but still has a decent amount carbs to keep be going. I usually carry one of these along with a Gu Energy Chew and SIS GO Electrolyte mix.





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Old 10-06-20, 04:19 PM
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Yep, It was the word "energy" that probably set me off. If you aren't riding zone 4 and 5 much, then you don't need anything but something to put in your stomach that solves any hunger cravings you might have.

But even when I ride 60 or miles here solo, I still am satisfied by the 150 Calories of carbs I put in each of the 3,4 or 5 bottles I might drink depending on temp. If I'm on an organized ride, I only eat at stops to have something to do while being social. Not that I really have a craving for food.

I'll try not to slam you for just saying what you prefer to eat and works well in your stomach for riding. But when I hear some say they need energy but don't want carbs....... I can't keep my fingers still. <grin>

I do find raisins a treat while riding as are dried figs and apricots. However many times I carry them but never use them. But again, any dried fruit is high carb.

Last edited by Iride01; 10-06-20 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 10-06-20, 04:23 PM
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My wife buys these cranberry cookies from a local organic health food store's bakery which I wish I could carry on my rides as they taste freakin' amazing. However, that's probably not realistic as with all "real food", they spoil pretty fast and are quite expensive. Maybe I just need to learn how to cook/bake and make myself a cookie sheet of these things each week!

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Old 10-06-20, 04:28 PM
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Spoil fast? Is it just that they fall apart too easily? They look great.
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Old 10-06-20, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
My wife buys these cranberry cookies from a local organic health food store's bakery which I wish I could carry on my rides as they taste freakin' amazing. However, that's probably not realistic as with all "real food", they spoil pretty fast and are quite expensive. Maybe I just need to learn how to cook/bake and make myself a cookie sheet of these things each week!

Try some Aussie Bites. Costco has them for a good price.
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Old 10-06-20, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Try some Aussie Bites. Costco has them for a good price.
Nice find! Now we're gettin' somewhere

https://www.costcobusinessdelivery.c...100206943.html

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Old 10-06-20, 05:29 PM
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Clif. My digestion gets along better with regular sugar. I don't want too much of it though.

Sugar alcohols are good for an energy burst without the same insulin surge. If your digestion can handle maltitol, etc., look for those in energy bars. The stuff gives me gas, but otherwise it's okay.
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Old 10-06-20, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Yep, It was the word "energy" that probably set me off. If you aren't riding zone 4 and 5 much, then you don't need anything but something to put in your stomach that solves any hunger cravings you might have.

But even when I ride 60 or miles here solo, I still am satisfied by the 150 Calories of carbs I put in each of the 3,4 or 5 bottles I might drink depending on temp. If I'm on an organized ride, I only eat at stops to have something to do while being social. Not that I really have a craving for food.

I'll try not to slam you for just saying what you prefer to eat and works well in your stomach for riding. But when I hear some say they need energy but don't want carbs....... I can't keep my fingers still. <grin>

I do find raisins a treat while riding as are dried figs and apricots. However many times I carry them but never use them. But again, any dried fruit is high carb.
Generally, I don't have any problem riding 50 miles with just a full-fat yogurt and coffee before hand, and a couple bottles on the ride, but I always carry a Clif Bar or similar ever since the time I bonked 4 miles from home. Highly not recommended. But I'll carry the same Clif Bar for a couple months before I need it.
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Old 10-09-20, 01:31 PM
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Sugar Alcohols while riding a bike?!?!?!

From the CFR : TITLE 21--FOOD AND DRUGS
CHAPTER I--FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SUBCHAPTER B--FOOD FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION (CONTINUED)
PART 184 -- DIRECT FOOD SUBSTANCES AFFIRMED AS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE
Subpart B--Listing of Specific Substances Affirmed as GRAS
Sec. 184.1835 Sorbitol.
...
(e) The label and labeling of food whose reasonably foreseeable consumption may result in a daily ingestion of 50 grams of sorbitol shall bear the statement: "Excess consumption may have a laxative effect."


On the "bus" I used to work on, we would give charcoal with sugar alcohol to those folks who had taken a poison where charcoal was an appropriate treatment. They always got a plastic sheet under them so that the mess would be contained. So, no thanks. I'll "pass" on something with a sugar alcohol.

My favorite is Almond M&M's I always kept a bag in my medic jumpsuit and a bag in my turnout coat in case I was invited to a wienie roast.

Energy source 1: sugar! Nothing hits faster
Energy source 2: almonds. Protein, fat, and yummieness.
Energy source 3: theobromine (relative of caffeine)

Cheap, widely available. What's not to like.
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Old 10-10-20, 04:10 AM
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I've become a fan of SANS meal bars. Natural ingredients, no added sugar, taste is better than other wrapped bars. 380 calories that seem to convert to fuel pretty quickly and easily.

They are expensive, but are discounted often.

For shorter rides, good old fig bars do the trick. On a $/calorie basis, buying Fig Newtons at a convenience store ends up costing about the same as the SANS bar.

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Old 10-10-20, 06:58 AM
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these are tasty



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Old 10-10-20, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
these are tasty



A bit odd.. "Blueberry cobbler".. and not a blueberry to be found in the ingredients?
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Old 10-10-20, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
A bit odd.. "Blueberry cobbler".. and not a blueberry to be found in the ingredients?
I don't care. They taste great. The maple glazed donut flavor is great too.
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Old 10-10-20, 09:27 AM
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You are best off baking some sort of cookies or bars that you enjoy. You can add whatever you want and you know exactly what is in them. To me, it is best to eliminate processed foods where possible. Unless you are racing, adverse to cooking (or don't have the time), I see nothing to gain with energy bars and the like.

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Old 10-10-20, 04:14 PM
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Thing is, you don't "eat a Clif bar" on the bike. Instead you eat 1/4 of a Clif bar, only 11g carbs! See, that's superior to almost all the "low-carb" bars. You don't need any fat - doesn't do much good since it's slow to digest and you have plenty of fat onboard already. Fiber's fine - so eat an apple when you get home - you sure don't need to eat fiber on the bike and slow down your digestion. You open the Clif bar before the ride and break in into quarters, putting the package in your jersey pocket. It's pretty easy to get the package and squeeze 1/4 into your mouth while you ride. Or just put the pieces in your pocket like the pros do. Most people do fine on 120 calories/hour, so you eat 1/4 bar every half hour, consistently, right from the start. Keeps your blood sugar nice and even, no "sugar bomb.".
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