Energy bars and energy drinks can be a quick and easy way to get a calorie boost and consume certain nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. The wide range of varieties and flavors makes it easy to find products to suit your tastes. But make sure you’re consuming them the right way, otherwise, you could experience unwanted consequences.
Benefits of energy bars
Energy bars are packed with carbohydrates and sugar to give you a hit of – you guessed it – energy! Energy bars are primarily used by endurance athletes and long-distance runners who need the extra calories to sustain their energy levels.
Hundreds of different brands and flavors are available in grocery stores and online, so it can be tough choosing the right one for you. To make the decision harder, not all energy bars have the same quality of ingredients. Some are little more than expensive candy bars, but others are nutritionally balanced with low fat and a good amount of fiber.
Ideally, you should find one with a combination of slow-release and fast-release calories (aka complex and simple carbohydrates). If a bar is packed with quick-release sugar then you’ll get a sudden surge of energy but it will quickly wear off and won’t keep you going until the end of your session. These calories are also more likely to contribute to weight gain.
If you’re exercising to lose weight (and not as an endurance athlete) then energy bars are best avoided altogether. The calories they contain will only work to cancel out those you lose from exercising, making your progress slower. Fruit is really the best source of energy because it is easy to digest and is packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s also cheaper than energy bars – although it does have a shorter shelf life.
Also, note that energy bars are not the same as protein bars – these serve a different purpose in your fitness plan and may be more appropriate as a snack in between meals. You can read more about protein bars here.
Benefits of energy drinks
It’s not just water that your body loses through sweat – your gym workout also drains electrolytes from your system. If these aren’t replaced you may become dehydrated and feel sluggish.
Energy drinks can help replenish your body’s electrolytes and give you an energy boost when you’re working out. They can also help get you through a tough day at the office – but you shouldn’t become reliant on them to feel like you’re functioning normally.
As with any nutritional supplement, energy drinks should be consumed as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle.
An energy drink that contains around 460 – 690 milligrams of sodium per liter will be sufficient for most types of workout. Endurance athletes may need a slightly higher concentration of sodium.
Choosing an energy bar or energy drink
The right product for you will depend on your fitness goals and workout plan. Whatever your needs, you’ll want to check the calorie count and other nutritional information so you know what you’re consuming. Bars that contain B vitamins can help optimize your performance as you exercise.
Some lower-calorie bars are marketed specifically at women who want extra energy for their workout. These make it easier to control the number of calories consumed, although there’s no reason you can’t cut a regular bar into two or three pieces instead.
OTCDeal’s online store has a wide range of energy drinks and bars to suit all kinds of needs. Browse our range now to find a product that’s right for you.