Nutrition bars and running

Nutrition bars and running

Do you bank on nutrition bars to give you an extra kick in your run? You just may get a kick in the seat of your pants–the place where your wallet resides. Claims of sports bars such as the Access[R] bar to improve your utilization of fat, speed recovery, and supercharge your energy may stretch the truth. Energy bars provide calories, usually 200 to 300, in lieu of a real meal. Convenience is what you’re buying. Fueling up before a run will undoubtedly improve your performance compared to running on empty, a job that can be done with cheaper, and possibly more nutritious, whole foods.

In a randomized, double-blind study comparing the Access[R] bar, Uncle Toby’s Peanut Butter Meusli Bar and Crystal Light (non-caloric, non-nutritive control), 12 runners completed five endurance running sessions: a VO2max test, a 30-minute familiarization session, and three experimental sessions

for about 55 minutes. Before the trials, runners consumed an energy bar. Various exercise measurements were taken at intervals and no significant differences between the three treatments were observed in any of the measures.

The study did not evaluate the effect of sports nutrition bars on endurance runs. For many runners, especially those who run during lunchtime at work, an energy bar may be a convenient solution. For others, another option can be whole food alternatives such as an apple and a handful of walnuts, whole wheat bread and peanut butter, or a banana and a bowl of cereal.

(Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2002, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 152-156)

COPYRIGHT 2002 American Running & Fitness Association

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group