What Are The Differences Between Energy Bars, Drinks And Gels, And Is One Form Better Absorbed In Men Than Another?

Question: What are the differences between energy bars, drinks and gels, and is one form better absorbed in men than another?

Answer: Sports drinks and sports gels are actually the easiest for your body to absorb. So if you're doing an extended endurance event like a marathon or triathlon, these are gonna be your go-to sources of carbohydrates because they're the easiest for your body to take in. There's no need to really have a sports drink or sports gel if you're just hanging around your office you have just a normal workout, 30-minute workout or a 40-minute spin class. You don't need that intense source of carbohydrates then.

For an afternoon snack most people are not gonna opt for a gel -- that's where you would switch to an energy bar. Energy bars are still gonna be great sources of carbohydrate. Check the label. They vary in their carbohydrates or protein content. Find one that meets your needs -- [that] it's got enough protein for what you want or it has enough carbohydrate to fuel your workouts. But the bars are gonna be something where you're in a more sedentary state.

If you're doing an endurance event you might be able to eat the bars while you're on the bike but it's a little bit harder to do that mid-workout. So the bars are gonna be great at your desk, just running errands or maybe if you're on a long cycling ride, but turn to those gels and those drinks if you're running or you're mid-event where you need that rapid absorption.

Molly Kimball, R.D., Ochsners Elmwood Fitness Center
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