Should You Eat Gummy Bears Like Sagan?

In this episode, we are joined by Dan Cavallari and Stacy Sims, founder of Osmo who now works with Nuun, to discuss the difference between food and fuel — what you should be eating on the bike, and off.

Should you eat gummy bears like Peter Sagan?


In this episode, we are joined by Dan Cavallari and Dr. Stacy Sims, founder of Osmo who now works with Nuun, to discuss the difference between food and fuel — what you should be eating on the bike, and off. We cover everything from the basics of sugars to osmotic gut pressure to the benefits (or lack thereof) of red algae.

Some of the conclusions just might surprise you.

Episode Transcript

Caley Fretz  00:00

Welcome to Fast Talk, the VeloNews news podcast and everything you need to know to ride like a pro.

Ryan Kohler  00:15

Fast Talk is sponsored by Quirk, maker of next generation power meters, including this ram red D zero power meter. Built specifically for strands groundbreaking red group set. This ram red D zero power meter is compatible with all of strands red group sets. Find out more at quirk.com_d0.

Trevor Connor  00:33

Remember, when you are going hard the gut doesn’t work as well. And you don’t want to be drawing fluid out of your blood. So really, I’m gonna keep saying this. The best products are the ones that are simplest and have just what you need, which is some sugars in a good ratio of glucose to fructose. And some electrolytes. And not tons of electrolytes. Anything beyond that, probably not going to help your performance. It’s going to put a greater strain on your gut and it might put a greater strain on the osmotic pressure. Why would you want to do that to yourself?

Caley Fretz  01:05

Welcome back, dear listeners, to another episode of Fast Talk. I’m Caley Fretz, senior editor here at VeloNews. Sitting across the table as always, from our favorite coach, Trevor Connor. How are you, Trevor?

Trevor Connor  01:17

It’s our last day of a week of podcast recording. I’m doing great.

Caley Fretz  01:22

Trevor’s a little bit grumpy. He’s been made even more grumpy by some of the things that are sitting on the table in front of us, which you will learn about soon. We also have Dan Cavallari here today, our tech editor. How are you doing? 

Dan Cavallari  01:34

I’m doing well, Caley. Thanks for having me.

Caley Fretz  01:36

You’re welcome. You’re very welcome. So today, we’re gonna hit on the hot button topic once again, of nutrition. We had an episode about nutrition with Dr. Golia. A little while ago, there were some people that emailed in to tell us that they didn’t necessarily appreciate some of the science in that episode. You may have heard a brief mention at the beginning that we were not totally confident in some of the science in that episode. Regardless, we’re going to hit on nutrition again. This time, it’s just going to be myself, Trevor and Dan. Just a bit of background here. So Trevor has a degree in nutrition, among a couple degrees that he has from Colorado State University. Dan does not have a degree in nutrition. He is a top notch eater of food. So all about what’s edible. What’s not edible.

Dan Cavallari  02:24

Thanks, Graeme.

Caley Fretz  02:24

Yeah. Studied both eating and drinking at the University of Italian Americans.

Trevor Connor  02:30

Well, you are trying to get your Italian citizenship. Isn’t there a food component to that?

Dan Cavallari  02:33

I’m trying to get my weight up to an acceptable Italian American level. So I got about 30 pounds to go.

Caley Fretz  02:38

I think to get your Italian citizenship, it’s kind of like a – test. But for pasta, right?

Dan Cavallari  02:44

Yeah, they don’t ask for any birth or death certificates. They just put a plate of Italian food – 

Caley Fretz  02:49

And you have to identify various shapes of pasta and things like that? And then you have to eat all of it.

Dan Cavallari  02:54

And then you have to have an Italian grandmother say, “Why are you so thin?”

Caley Fretz  02:59

My grandma does that sometimes. Anyway, the goal of today’s podcast is to take a look at the difference between food and fuel. And to cut through some of the jargon that surrounds bike or athletic nutrition. So part of the reason why Trevor is a little bit grumpy this morning, beyond the fact that we’ve made a whole bunch of podcasts this week and it’s currently quite early, is that he was sitting, before the podcast began before our recording began. Reading the back of many of the available on bike nutrition products that Dan has thoughtfully brought in and splayed out on the table in front of us. And he was generally not pleased with what he was seeing. There are definitely some great products out there. There are definitely some less great products out there. Our goal today is less to talk about which ones specifically are good and bad and more just to explain to you what you should be looking for within your on bike nutrition.

Trevor Connor  04:02

My favorite is the one that has “researched” with an asterix and then doesn’t explain the asterix.

Difference Between Food and Fuel

Caley Fretz  04:11

Yeah, this is very much in Trevor’s wheelhouse. And so we’re going to be leaning on Trevor for the science side today. And then Dan and I have have eaten most of these things. And we can tell you whether a lot of them are actually edible, which is also important because the food that you eat on the bike has to be somewhat edible. Anyway, let’s start with our big question, which is the difference between food and fuel. Dan.

Dan Cavallari  04:39

We’re cutting straight to the guy who doesn’t have the nutrition degree. So I’m gonna give this to you in my my very unqualified definition. Which to me, fuel is something that you want for short term consumption. It’s going to give you that little kick on the bike. Food is something you eat when you’re sitting at the table. It’s long term sustenance, it’s healthy, it’s what your body needs to stay healthy overtime. Fuel, think of fuel as basically the turbo boost. That’s why the primary ingredient in most of this stuff is sugar. And we’re going to be talking a lot about sugar today. So when you think fuel, yes, of course food is fuel. But we’re using it in the sense of that short term boost your body needs to keep going in the race or going on the ride.

Caley Fretz  05:28

It’s kind of like how all puppies are dogs, but not all dogs are puppies. And that all food is technically fuel. But not all of these products necessarily qualify as food. You would actually want to eat anytime when you’re not exercising.

Dan Cavallari  05:46

You don’t want to be eating any of this stuff if you’re not on the bike. Let’s just clarify right up front.

Caley Fretz  05:51

I mean, we do do that sometimes. Sometimes I’m really hungry, I miss lunch, I just walk over to Dan’s desk and steal some shop blocks. And then I immediately get sort of this weird sugar induced head rush because I’m just sitting at my desk trying to eat basically candy.

Dan Cavallari  06:05

Let me give you the disclaimer my dad always gives me, which is “Do as I say, not as I do.” We’re not exactly paragons of model behavior.

Caley Fretz  06:13

Let’s turn to Trevor, since Trevor actually knows what he’s talking about. And Dan and I don’t.

Trevor Connor  06:20

When I talk with my athletes about nutrition, I really divide the day into two parts. So there is the starting about an hour before you exercise, until about an hour after you exercise. And I’m not talking you’re going out for an easy hour recovery ride that you don’t need special nutrition for. I’m talking about a race or a good long, hard ride. Or intervals or training race, things like that. The one part of the day is that hour before to that hour after. And then there’s the rest of the day. In that exercise window you are eating for performance. You are eating to prevent fatigue. It is all about what’s going to keep you functioning on the bike. The rest of the day is about eating for health. And they’re quite distinct. And I’m going to give very different recommendations. There is a physiological basis behind this. And Caley, you just touched on it when you said well, if I’m really hungry and there’s cliff blocks or whatever lying around, I’ll eat those and I get this big sugar rush. Our bodies try to very tightly control or regulate sugar. We need to maintain a certain level of blood sugar. If it drops too far, that’s when you start going dizzy, that’s when you pass out. And if it’s really bad, you can die from it. Our brains normally function purely on sugar, so your brain needs it first. So we have this thing called insulin that regulates our sugar levels. And what happens is most of the cells in our body cannot absorb sugar without insulin. I’m going to throw out my one technical term for the day, we have what are called glute four transporters. They exist in most of your cells. Insulin causes those transporters to come to the surface of the cells. And then those transporters are what take the sugar from the blood pulled into the cells. When those transporters aren’t at the surface, we can’t absorb sugar. Insulin causes, as I said, causes them to come to the surface. Really interesting thing about exercise, is as soon as you start exercising your body shuts off the insulin response. And the exercising muscles naturally send the glute four transporters to the surface of the cell. So exercise allows cells to take up sugar. This is really important for diabetics. It’s why they recommend exercise for diabetics. Since they either don’t produce insulin or they’re insensitive to insulin, it’s a way for them to control blood sugar levels without the benefits of the insulin system. So that’s a very long way of saying how our bodies respond to sugar is fundamentally different during exercise than it is during rest.

Caley Fretz  09:11

So that’s the scientific version of what Dan and I were saying, which is that food and on bike fuel may be two different things. 

Trevor Connor  09:18

I said it better.

Eating on Bike and Off

Dan Cavallari  09:22

Okay, so we’ve basically established that there’s two different ways you should be eating. You should be eating a different way on the bike and off. So let’s start with on the bike, because the main ingredient in all these products, as I said, is sugar. And we read in the news all the time that we’re in this public health crisis where we’re consuming far too much sugar. Why wouldn’t that be a concern on the bike? What is the difference? Are there different types of sugars in these products that make one better than the other?

Trevor Connor  09:50

Well, so it goes back to what I was saying before. It’s spiking of insulin that’s causing a lot of our health issues, And there’s a ton of research, that I won’t dig too deeply in, showing that if you are constantly spiking your insulin levels A) that leads to metabolic syndrome, that leads to diabetes, it can lead to other conditions. So you want to regulate your insulin levels for health. But as soon as you are exercising, insulin doesn’t get released. So those negative health effects of sugar essentially disappeared during exercise.

Dan Cavallari  10:22

So we get a little bit of a free pass when we’re exercising to consume sugar that you shouldn’t really be consuming off the bike.

Trevor Connor  10:29

Right. It’s not 100% free pass. And I don’t want to get too deep into the science, but also consuming a lot of sugar has immunological effects on your body that can also lead to issues. But for the most part, let’s simplify it and say, when you are exercising most of the negative effects of sugar disappear.

Dan Cavallari  10:50

Okay, now that we’ve got that clarified, let’s talk about the various products. And not even limited to just products. We can talk a little bit about food, because there are different types of sugars. So on the table, you guys can’t really see this, obviously, but in front of me right now I have several types of energy products. And I think including some chocolate, yes. And I also have some dates and some dried mangoes, we have an energy drink, we’ve got all sorts of stuff on the table right here. And everybody is marketing that their product is going to give you that boost in a way that no other product can. So how do we determine what’s good sugar? And what’s bad? Are they all using the same thing? Or are they using different things? 

Caley Fretz  11:33

Well, and beyond sugars, what else are we looking for? I think, Trevor, we’re going to turn back to you on this. What are the things that consumers should be looking for? If you read the back of some of these nutrition labels, what should be on those labels in terms of a good read food?

Trevor Connor  11:50

And my question back to being early in the morning is, how grouchy am I allowed to be?

Dan Cavallari  11:54

You’ve been staring at this can the whole time.

Caley Fretz  12:01

You can be quite grouchy, we don’t mind. We don’t mind at all. 

Trevor Connor  12:04

Oh, we’ll get to that can. We’ll get to that can.

Caley Fretz  12:11

Let’s start with the positive. What are we looking for? Who’s doing who’s doing it well?

Trevor Connor  12:15

Let’s start with the sugars. We’ve talked about that. We can get to the other ingredients in a minute. But let’s just start with the sugars, because that’s one of the main things that you’re trying to get with these products is just simply that fuel. You’re gonna hear all sorts of different things about different types of sugars and different types of mixes. A lot of it is really marketing. The important thing to know is that basically, once it’s in your body and broken down, there are two types of sugars. There’s glucose and there’s fructose. Inside your gut, they have to be transported into your body. They can’t just passively go from your gut to your bloodstream. It’s matter of fact, fructose doesn’t go through your bloodstream, but I’ll save that for another time. The transporter’s in our guts. So there’s, I believe it’s glute five and SGT one. One transports glucose, the other transports fructose. We can transport, depending on the individual, about 60 to 90 grams of glucose per hour, and only about 20 to 30 grams of fructose per hour. So ultimately, what you are looking for is a large amount of glucose. So you want to get at least that 60 to 90 grams of glucose per hour. And then a little bit of fructose because it has a different transporter. So you can increase the amount of sugar you’re getting per hour. When you start reading about maltodextrin, and all these other sugars, they’re all basically just some form of either straight glucose as a polymer or a combination of glucose and fructose.

Dan Cavallari  13:54

What if I just want to take a thing of Twizzlers with me on the ride. Is a sugar different in that?

Trevor Connor  14:00

No. And that’s what I do. I like Swedish Fish. And we talked about this weekend, because everybody laughed, we’re on that a long ride up in the mountains. And being the nutritionist, being the science guy, I think everybody was watching to see what I pulled out of my pocket. And I pull out this giant bag of Swedish Fish. And one of the guys commented on it. He’s like, “Well, you eat those?” And I go, “Yeah, you know what the difference between this and half of the other products out there is?” and he goes, “Good marketing?” And I went “Yeah, and about two bucks.” That being said, there are slight differences. A lot of the candy on the shelves has a lot more fructose and glucose. And like I said, you really want that ratio of say about three to one glucose to fructose. And the candy on the shelves isn’t quite the right ratio, so it’s not as good. I’m from Canada. Glucose is our primary sugar up there. So Canadian candy actually is pretty close to being as good.

Caley Fretz  14:57

Okay, so let’s think back to right after Peter Sagan won Kuurne Brussels. His swan year, walked up and literally just poured a pile of European Haribos. And European Haribos are different than American Haribos. I think I’m right in saying that it’s more glucose and less fructose, just like in Canada. Poured a bucket of Haribos into Peter Sagan’s hand and Peter Sagan then proceeded to stick all of them in his mouth. And eat an entire bag of Haribos in one shot. Is that what you’re talking about here? Essentially, if you can find a candy with a similar ratio of glucose to fructose, then you’re 90% of the way there with most of these expensive on bike nutrition things?

Trevor Connor  15:46

So I’m gonna have to go into hiding from all these companies. All these products are seen on the table. With a bit of a qualifier, yeah I think it’s for the most part, just as good. And we’ll get into these, there are little things that make these products better. And so I will admit, I’m in a race – yeah, I like cliff blocks. They sit well with me, and they’re a little better than candy. I’m out on a training ride. No, I’m eating my Swedish Fish or whatever. And actually, I will walk into a store, I will look at the different types of candy. And I will look for glucose to be the primary ingredient. If I see that, then great.

Caley Fretz  16:25

Pro tip, go to the candy store, look for candy, where glucose is the primary ingredient, call it a day. Save yourself a bunch of money. I mean, we work for our listeners. We do not work for the nutrition industry. I think that’s actually a pretty good tip. And I’m exactly the same way. I actually buy these house brand Twizzlers from a local grocery store here in town. And that’s one of my primary ride foods. I also tend to stop and eat pie halfway through my rides, which is the other way to do it. It is significantly cheaper than going through a whole lot of something like a cliff block or glucose box, which is actually really tasty and they work really well. But it just saves you a bit of cash.

Dan Cavallari  17:10

I am actually an advocate of of gels, because you don’t really find these too often in candy form in the grocery store. So these are kind of a specialty item. And what I like about them is that it’s easy to eat, goes down quick, I don’t have to think about it. I’m not looking for a snack. I’m not looking to enjoy the process of eating, I just want some quick fuel. So the gels to me are a little bit set apart from the rest of these products because of the convenient delivery. That might just be a preference thing. I don’t know if there’s any science behind it absorbing any quicker or anything like that. But just from a pure convenience standpoint, I do like the gels.

Caley Fretz  17:51

Yeah, I often used to race with gels, but you could not pay me enough to have one of those things in training except to make sure that my stomach can handle it. That’s the only reason I would ever have one in training. Because they’re kind of gross. Trevor, what else? What else should we be looking for?

Trevor Connor  18:05

So there is another side to the science that’s really important to know about. Or two sides of the science that are really important to know about. One is osmotic pressure. And I will try to give you a simple explanation for this. If you fill a bucket with water and then you start adding things to it, like electrolytes, you start adding sugars to it. It’s going to have a concentration of the solutes. The higher the concentration, the higher it’s osmotic pressure. But what’s important, and you can do this experiment. If you take two buckets, one filled with seawater, one filled with with natural water with no salt in it. And then you connect a tube between them. And then you go away, when you come back, there are going to end up having about equal concentration of the sodium. So that’s called a concentration gradient. Where one fluid has a higher osmotic pressure than the other. This is incredibly important in our body. If there wasn’t this concentration gradient effect, we would all die because it drives most of the processes in our body. Including how our neurons work. And I’m not going to geek out on you. Why that is important is because your gut is filled with fluid, your blood is a fluid. You want to drive the water and those solutes into your blood. Water – I should have taken a step back and said this before – water is called the great follower. Water is going to follow the osmotic pressure. It’s going to follow the solute. So it’s not going to be a case where, ooh, you got all these solutes in your gut. So we’re going to pull them into the blood. That will happen slowly. If the fluid in your gut has a higher osmotic pressure, you’re going to have the opposite effect. You’re actually going to pull fluid from your blood into your gut to reduce the osmotic pressure. And so people complain about this, if you’re on a ride and you eat a ton of candy, or you take a huge thing of gels, some people will later complain of bloating. Say, this really bloats me, it makes me feel bad. Well, that’s exactly what’s happening. You suddenly have this really concentrated fluid in your gut. And you’re going to draw fluid out of your blood to dilute it. And that’s going to dehydrate you and it’s going to swell up your gut. We don’t want that. So what that means in terms of a product. If you have a product that’s heavily concentrated, you can run into problems. It’s going to increase the osmotic pressure in your gut. And then fluid is going to be pulled into your gut to bring down the concentration. So you will see a lot of sports drinks now are actually reducing the carbohydrate content and reducing the electrolyte content so that you don’t get that bloating. One of the issues with gels is because they can dissolve so rapidly in fluid, they often hit give your gut this huge osmotic hit, and cause bloating.

Trevor Connor  18:06

And I always thought it was a good idea if you are going to take a goo of some sort, you drink a bunch of water at the same time.

Trevor Connor  21:22


Dan Cavallari  21:24

This one here says no need for water. Says it right on the packet. 

Trevor Connor  21:27

Well, that’s because if you go to there – should we mention? 

Dan Cavallari  21:32

Yeah, let’s talk about it. 

Trevor Connor  21:34

So this is the science and sport, and I’m not on their website. But if I remember correctly, they’re very sensitive to the osmotic pressure. And they’ve kept that gel pretty close to the osmotic pressure of our blood.

Dan Cavallari  21:47

And it does have an interesting texture, you can you can tell that this is different from other gels, just by tasting it. It’s definitely a liquidity, taste and texture. And I’ve started to really prefer this one over other gels that tend to stick to your mouth and get that really peanut buttery honey kind of feel. This goes down easy or easier. And I don’t know if that has to do with the balance of I mean, is there just more water in this than others? Is that how they do this?

Trevor Connor  22:17

That’s if you open that up. It’s pretty liquidy.

Dan Cavallari  22:20

Right. And glucose is sort of similar. Glucose as g-l-u-k-o-s has a gel. And it’s also very, very liquidy. Almost to the point where it’s like a drink.

Trevor Connor  22:30

Admittedly, this podcast is a little more off the cuff than I normally do. So I decided to go back to an interview I did four years ago with Dr. Stacey Sims. She is arguably one of the top experts in the world in sports hydration. She’s one of the minds behind Skratch nutrition, and she’s the creator of Osmo Nutrition, scientifically two of the best sports drinks on the market. While the interview was about hydration, she had a lot to say about sugars during exercise. And if you thought I was hesitant about fructose, wait until you hear her opinion. Frankly, it’s a lot more informed then my early morning grouchiness.

Dr Stacy Simms  23:03

So the type of carbohydrate will have an impact if you’re having something that’s glucose and sucrose based. And that helps with the glucose sodium, passive transport of fluid in the intestine. But if using maltodextrin or fructose, which are your traditional sports drinks in sport nutrition, it might exit the stomach quickly with low osmolality. But when it gets to the intestines itself it changes the osmotic pressure in the first part of the small intestine, which does a reverse waterflood. So this is another indication of people who are using a lot of gels and drinks and things with maltodextrin, they start getting a little bit of bloating and discomfort. It’s the reverse water flux in the small intestine. They might not have the splashing or GI distress in the stomach because things have exited. But when it gets into the small intestines, and you have this reverse water flex, this is another contributor to some of the post race gas and discomfort that people have.

Trevor Connor  24:06

And how’s it doing that? It’s just increasing the osmotic pressure that much?

Dr Stacy Simms  24:11

Yeah. So if you’re having – I get this question all the time that Osmo has glucose and sucrose, and if you cleave a sucrose molecule then you get glucose and fructose. And I’m always telling people don’t use fructose, because your body rate limits things. So if you cleave this sucrose molecule, that glucose gets used in the intestines with the sodium. That premium glucose transport chain pulled water across, and the fructose is such a small amount that it actually does go through the hepatic portal vein to delivering its process. If you’re using something that’s maltodextrin and fructose, you end up with a “fructose dump”, or all of a sudden you have so much fructose your body can’t titrate it out fast enough through that hepatic portal vein. So it pulled water in to kind of dilute it and hold it until your body can get rid of it. And maltodextrin is very similar in the fact that your body doesn’t recognize it as part of the feedback system, or the mechanism of action of water uptake. And it pulls water in and increases the oncotic pressure in the small intestine. And when you have an increased oncotic pressure, you have more water that comes in too. It pulls things across like a magnet. And these are things that people don’t talk about when they’re like, oh, well, if he has something that has a lot of maltodextrin, then it’s low osmolality. It’s not just osmolality. It’s what it does in the small intestines where all the water uptake takes place.

Trevor Connor  25:34

I kind of classify these products into two different types. And this is where I’m not going to use names. Except I will mention this with glukos, because I think that’s a decent product, at least from the scientific standpoint. There are products out there where they have really read the science. And they only put in there what has been proven to be performance enhancing. They’re aware of osmotic pressure, they’re aware of these various issues. And they’re pretty minimal products just to give you what you need to keep you going during the activity. Then there are other products, where I call them marketing ingredients. They throw in a whole bunch of stuff to try to differentiate their product based on some iffy science saying this is somehow going to help your performance. Really all I see is a whole bunch of stuff in there that’s going to increase osmotic pressure, that’s going to put greater work on your gut and give you no gains whatsoever. As a matter of fact, it could potentially dehydrate you and starts pulling fluid into your gut. The other side of the science I was going to bring up is there’s an expression that I’m going to alter slightly, that you have a gut and a brain and not a enough blood to power both. Or at least exercise muscles.

Dan Cavallari  26:49

If I have to choose, I choose my gut every time.

Trevor Connor  26:54

So again, you have to think of we were not designed for exercise, we were designed for hunting and gathering. And when we are running or working really hard, our bodies think we are running away from a very big lion right now. And it’s not too concerned about whether we’re able to digest. So it is going to shunt blood away from your gut to your working muscles to give you the best chance of not being dinner, as opposed to digesting dinner. So when you are exercising, when you are out on the bike, especially as you go longer into a race, especially on a hot day. Your gut’s going to start shutting down. It’s not going to be as effective. So you don’t want to eat these products that are going to put this huge demand on your gut to be able to digest what you just took. You really want something quite simple. And actually, if you read a lot of the sports nutrition research, they will say, as you get later into races and your gut starts shutting down, you should just be drinking water.

Dan Cavallari  27:56

So the other big ingredient we always see on these packages – and if you look what I just did in front of me, I took my thermos full of coffee, and I stacked it with some gels that are both blaring with 32 milligrams of caffeine. I made a big caffeine tower in front of you right here. Trevor, is there benefits to having caffeine in these products? Do you need the caffeine? And what’s what’s the goal behind including caffeine in some of these products?

Trevor Connor  28:23

So I remember a while ago, and I’m sure it’s been updated since. I read a really good review on all the performance enhancing legal products. And their conclusion was there are only three things that have been proven to be definitively performance enhancing and a fourth that is conditionally performance enhancing. Number one on the list, caffeine. Number two was creatine, but that’s more for strength athletes. Number three was sodium bicarbonate. But that only really helps you for events that are under 10 minutes. The fourth that I add to the list, which we should probably talk about at another time is L glutamine. Which is an amino acid. It’s the highest quantity amino acid in your body. It is also the primary fuel of your gut, the only fuel of your immune system and when you are exercising and going really hard you tend to deplete your L glutamine because you will use it as fuel once your blood sugar levels start to deplete. Which is another reason on a really long hard ride, your gut’s gonna start shutting down and your immune system’s not going to function as well. So getting some L glutamine can really help you, especially in recovery.

Caley Fretz  29:39

 Is that why I got a cold on Monday? 

Dan Cavallari  29:42

He’s not a doctor.

Caley Fretz  29:46

I want for a big ride on Saturday and then I got a cold on Monday. Damn it.

Trevor Connor  29:50

Caffeine is performance enhancing. I used to love the days when we discovered this and everybody got big on the caffeine pills and they were taking these 1000 milligram pills. And you’d line up at the start of the race and you just see this guy beside you who is all jittery. “Hey, buddy, how you doing buddy?” He’d be like, “What? What do you want?” Fortunately, they’ve since shown that up to 200 milligrams is performance enhancing. Beyond that you get jittery, but it’s not going to help your performance anymore.

Dan Cavallari  30:18

So there is a legit claim to including this stuff in these products. It actually can help you. Well, that’s good news, because I wasn’t gonna give it up.

Trevor Connor  30:30

All right, time for a quick break. Fast Talk is sponsored by Cork, maker of next generation power meters, including the SRAM xx 1 Eagle Power Meter. The xx 1 Power Meter unites Corks D 0 platform with carbon tuned crank arms for robust, intuitive power measurement in the lightest ever mountain bike chasis. It’s compatible with all the SRAMs 1x mountain bike drive trains. Find out more at

Positive Attributes in Nutrition Products

Caley Fretz  31:00

What else are we looking at, Trevor? What other things should we be keeping an eye out for that are positive attributes of an on bike nutrition product?

Trevor Connor  31:10

Oh, you’re moving that thing towards me.

Caley Fretz  31:13

We’re not into negative attributes. 

Trevor Connor  31:18

We’re not done today until we talk about it.

Caley Fretz  31:21

There’s a can in front of Trevor right now that Trevor hates that we’re gonna talk about later. But I still want to talk about good stuff. Let’s talk about like electrolytes. Everyone’s always talking about electrolytes. Particularly with drink mixes. Even more so than the solid foods that we mostly have been talking about so far. What exactly should people be seeking in terms of their electrolyte products?

Dan Cavallari  31:45

A couple examples. If you want to look at a couple.

Caley Fretz  31:47

Yean, we’ve got stuff like Noon, we’ve got – glucose has its own tablets. We’ve got what else is called Isagenix, Asa Genex, amped something.

Trevor Connor  32:00

So this is where, when I say that candy isn’t quite as good, this is one of the places I’m talking about there is benefits to having electrolytes. When we’re talking about exercise, you do need to keep your sodium and potassium levels up. It’s just not as much as you think. For one thing, if it has that huge levels of sodium, potassium, it goes back to the osmotic pressure issue. You’re going to increase the osmotic pressure in your gut and you’re going to draw fluid out of your bloodstream. You don’t want that. The other thing is, the way you lose sodium. Potassium is in sweat. Sweat is hypo osmotic, meaning it has a lower concentration than your blood. So you don’t need to replenish a lot. Worse, because you’re losing more fluid in your sweat than sodium and potassium, your blood is going to become more concentrated as osmotic pressure is going to go up. So you need to replace proportionally more water than sodium and potassium. And there are a lot of products out there that ignore that they get into that philosophy of Moore’s better. So we’ve got twice as much sodium as the other product you want us?

Caley Fretz  33:13

Yeah, it’s like how much can we get in there without it tasting? Gross, basically, right?

Trevor Connor  33:17

And that is not the way to go. Another thing to be aware of is you lose a lot more sodium than potassium, because sodium exists primarily in your blood. Potassium exists primarily in your cells. You don’t sweat out a lot. So that’s why when you are exercising, you want a lot more sodium than you want potassium. Osmotic pressure is actually a very complex subject, and I was really just giving you the basics. This is Dr. Sims wheelhouse. So let’s hear what she has to say about the effects of electrolytes. So why, for example, the sodium, why not just take a ton?

Dr Stacy Simms  34:00

Because sodium is in different compounds. So most people associate sodium with sodium chloride. And they think about table salt and that kind of stuff. If you take too much sodium chloride, the chloride ion dissociates in the intestine and changes the membrane potential, allowing intestinal cells to open up, releasing endotoxins. And this can contribute to an increase in core temperature rise because it’s a toxin and also contribute to GI distress. And it reduces the integrity of the contractile mechanism of the intestine. The other aspect of taking in too much sodium is with water there’s sodium. So if you’re ingesting too much sodium, then water is going to come to the sodium that’s in the digestive track. So it’s a fine balance. And this is where a lot of triathlet’s kind of and to some extent, age group cyclists go awry when they start taking salt tablets. When they’re taking sodium chloride into taking high doses sodium chloride. When you start, people are trying to take one to three grams of sodium to match sweat losses. And when they start doing that it’s way too much. The upper in that you should take per hour as a heavy sweater would probably be 1000 milligrams.

Dan Cavallari  35:24

I want to ask a question that I think had never really occurred to me as a cyclist. Because from the time that I’ve started cycling in any competitive fashion or even just doing long rides, there have been these products. So it never occurred to me to ask the logical question, which is do we really need these or is the optimal fuel in food that already exists? You know, I’ve got I’ve got dried mangoes here, I’ve got dates there’s, there’s real food, that acts can act as fuel. Are they any better or worse than these products that we consume that are simple sugars?

Caley Fretz  36:01

Can I try to answer this one? Trevor? Tell me if I’m right.

Caley Fretz  36:04

So –

Trevor Connor  36:05

Clearly wrong.

Caley Fretz  36:08

I’ve been learning today. So based on what Trevor was telling us earlier about glucose fructose, I’m gonna take a stab at this one and say that a lot of those fruit items that you’re talking about is fructose. Correct? They are not going to have that optimal ratio of glucose to fructose because they are fruit. And so they will have more fructose than glucose. That’s my guess. Wait, am I right?

Dan Cavallari  36:31

Before you answer, I have a further conjecture that the digestion of these might be a little more difficult while you’re riding because of the pulp and the skins and things like that.

Caley Fretz  36:44

The fiber, yes, that is good for you.

Dan Cavallari  36:47

Is it good for you on the bike though?

Caley Fretz  36:50

Trevor, are we right?

Trevor Connor  36:53

So different fruits will have different ratios of glucose to fructose. Definitely be aware of that. I will tell you, even though I love the story of Sagan eating candy at the end of a race, and I’ve certainly done that myself, my go to food at the end of a race is dried fruit. Dried fruit is just candy with vitamins and minerals in it, essentially. But you’re spot on about the digestion. As we were saying, when you’re exercising –

Dan Cavallari  37:19

In your face, Fretz. 

Caley Fretz  37:21

Dan’s got his hands up in the air, like you just want a bike race. 

Dan Cavallari  37:25

I’m smart.

Trevor Connor  37:26

Your gut starts shutting down. It just doesn’t absorb as well. So what you don’t want to do is be putting complex foods into your system. A lot of the science, the sports nutrition research, basically says yeah, at the beginning of a race, you can eat things that are more complex. Eat your bars, you can have some dried fruit, because your guts still working well. As you get further and further into the race and it gets more and more intense, you just want to be doing simpler and simpler and simpler products. And, again, the product companies aren’t going to like me saying this. There’s a lot of research showing that at the end of the race, water, just straight water is the best thing you should be taking.

Dan Cavallari  38:11

How do you get enough calories in there?

Trevor Connor  38:17

When you’re getting into the last hour of a race, the height dehydration issues are going to be the bigger issue. Trying to get calories into your system 30 minutes before the end, you’re not really going to be able to use them before the end of the race anyway. 

Dan Cavallari  38:30

This is a triage situation.

Trevor Connor  38:31

It’s a triage situation. But you want to keep yourself hydrated and you’re probably going to just absorb the straight water better. Remember what I said before, is that sweat is proportionally more fluid. So your blood is getting hyperosmotic. It’s getting more and more concentrated. So you want just straight fluid to get the osmotic pressure of your blood down. Likewise, on a short ride, anything under an hour you don’t need anything besides water.

Caley Fretz  39:04

Yeah, I tend to try to go at least two without water. That’s some lazy though. Without anything but water.

Dan Cavallari  39:10

That brings up a pretty important point about food versus fuel. I won’t name names, because it would be embarrassing for these people.

Caley Fretz  39:21

Is it me? 

Dan Cavallari  39:24

You don’t really need a lot of this stuff if your ride is going to be short. I know a lot of people who, they will not go for a ride without first popping a gel. It’s like you just don’t need it.

Dan Cavallari  39:24


Caley Fretz  39:33


Caley Fretz  39:35

It’s definitely not me.

Dan Cavallari  39:36

No, it’s not you. I was kidding. But at that point, really all you’re doing is messing up your teeth. You just coat your teeth with with sugar for no reason. It’s important to note that these products really only are beneficial to you if you’re going to be doing a hard effort, a long race, a long ride. For short lunch rides you don’t even need this stuff. Am I right?

Caley Fretz  40:02


Trevor Connor  40:02

Yes, exactly.

Caley Fretz  40:03

I mean, you know, if you are going to if you do want to bring some food then go to cheap. Like candy or Twizzler route and have some 45 minutes in. There’s really no point in spending – I mean, this pile of stuff on the table here. Yes, they work really well. If you want to optimize your performance in a race, you should be looking at products like this. They’re also like a $30 a product. It’s like $1 or two per item, which when you add them up over the course of the season, you’re talking about a huge chunk of change there. Personally, I’m sticking with my Twizzlers for most of my bike rides.

Dan Cavallari  40:06

And I will note to cyclists, we need to brush our teeth more than most people do. And that’s a legitimate concern. I actually was talking to a dentist on a ride a couple months ago, and it was right around the time that that whole thing about flossing became a controversy. Like, oh, you don’t need to floss anymore. He said, try that, see how that works out for you. But he made a good point that we consume so many of these sugary products, that people forget that that is just attacking your teeth. So we need to brush our teeth more often than most perhaps.

Different Nutrition Products

Caley Fretz  41:11

I want to move this discussion into this little can of doom that is sitting in front of Trevor right now. So we wanted to talk about things that you should avoid doing. I will say right now that the maker of this can is not going to like us after this discussion, and I’m totally okay with that. Because we are not bought and sold here at VeloNews. We have a distinct ad edit wall. And so I apologize to our sales guys. But we’re gonna talk about this anyway. What should you avoid? And we touched on this already, actually, Trevor, because you were talking about the companies that pack their food or drink full of as many hot marketing ingredients as they can. That’s definitely something to avoid. But what are those hot market ingredients that are not actually going to be beneficial to you?

Trevor Connor  42:07

I would say is a general guideline to start with, if you start seeing all these dramatic claims on these products, where they’re using tons of words like giving you the fuel you need and power you for your ride and that sort of stuff. Be cautious. At least go their website and see if there’s actually any science behind what they’re saying. Because that’s just a big marketing sign for me.

Caley Fretz  42:38

So this can is roughly – I think what they’re trying to go after – we should say it’s called Red. Power 20 elixir is what I have. And the one that Trevor has is the power elixir. This is a company owned by Michael Ball of Rock Racing Fame and a box showed up here at the office, maybe a month and a half ago or something like that. It actually doesn’t taste that bad. I would put it in a similar category as like a Red Bull or monster energy or something like that. Where they do have a lot of claims on the front of this thing. It has red algae in it. I think that’s where the name comes from. Trevor, perhaps we can have a brief discussion of whether red algae is –

Trevor Connor  43:39

I spent 15 minutes before this podcast trying to find anything on red algae.

Dan Cavallari  43:46

I once spilled some sushi in my water.

Trevor Connor  43:49

The only thing I can think is that certainly in the nutrition world, there’s a love of seaweed and algae because they tend to be very nutrient packed. The best I can come up with and like I said, I only got 15 minutes to look I couldn’t really find anything on their website, is that it’s a lot of seaweed and algae products. You have a lot of sodium in it.

Caley Fretz  44:14

There is 115 milligrams of sodium. 5% of your daily value. We got D complex. We got electrolytes, we got aminos. We got green coffee bean extract, 180 milgrain milligrams of green coffee bean extracts. You got your caffeine in there.

Dan Cavallari  44:32

So to me, this strikes me. We could probably go all day talking about this, but I think it was Adam Craig used to say that after a long race, the first thing he wanted in his hand was a Coca Cola. So could we consider this a guilty pleasure or a post ride treat for having done a good job in a race?

Caley Fretz  44:54

Yeah, these cans are clearly not designed to be adjusted while riding. So this does fall into something of a different category from the rest of the things we’re discussing here, which is on bike nutrition. I guess you could put one in the back pocket, but it’s not going to fit in a waterfall cage that’s for sure. It’s far too narrow. It’s like I said, it’s about the same size as like a Monster. 

Trevor Connor  45:18

Let’s just go through some of the things that I’m seeing here too, to use as a idea example of issues or things to avoid. So number one, going to the ingredients list. Number one, carbonated water. Fine. I wouldn’t want to drink carbonated water in a race. Number two, crystalline fructose. So their sugar is fructose. And we already talked about that, that you want primarily glucose. So that’s an issue right there.

Caley Fretz  45:45

What’s with rietkol? What is rietkol? That’s the second thing. 

Dan Cavallari  45:51

Rietkol is a long word. 

Caley Fretz  45:54

We’re gonna Google this. Min’es got the 20. Yours is just power. I’ve got 20 rietkols.

Trevor Connor  46:09

But here’s some of the things. First of all, again, when we’re talking food versus fuel, something I see a lot is products really saying, well, ours is better because it’s all natural. So we have honey versus mixes of sugar. Honey is sugar. It might be natural, but honey is sugar. It’s got the same negative health effects if you eat it straight up. It’s got the same benefits as a sugar mix in a drink or a gel. And there’s gonna be a whole bunch of people that are going to attack me about that, but I’m going to stand behind that one. I will tell you, in my nutrition world, the website that I edit, I’m part of one of the ultimate natural diets. And I’m going to be one of the first to say natural gets tossed on things to make it sound better when it’s not. Another great example is people feel that sodium is really bad for you, but sea salt is healthy. No, they’re both sodium chloride. What’s the difference?

Caley Fretz  47:08

I found out what rietkol is. Sorry to interrupt you, but this is breaking news.

Trevor Connor  47:13

Let me get to my grouchiness.

Caley Fretz  47:20

Rietkol is a sugar alcohol that has been approved for use as a food additive the United States and throughout much of the world. It is a fake sugar. It’s a sugar substitute. So it’s got butane in it. Sugar alcohol, or polyol. 

Trevor Connor  47:40

You’re gonna see butane in it. 

Caley Fretz  47:41

Yep, butane. The industrial level is produced from glucose by fermentation with a yeast. So it’s sweetener without calories, is what they basically were saying. 

Trevor Connor  47:55

Probably gonna have a whole bunch of chemists chemists call in on this one. Because it’s been seven years since I’ve done organic chemistry, but I believe an alcohol is defined as having an abutial ring.

Caley Fretz  48:11

We have the Wikipedia page. Rietkol and human digestion enters through the small intestine. 10% enters the colon. Does not normally cause laxative effects. That’s good.

Caley Fretz  48:37

Anyway, let’s continue with our discussion of these ingredients. So we figured out rietkol is just a sweetener. Followed by crystaline fructose. Keep in mind, crystaline fructose is the second ingredient on yours here.

Trevor Connor  48:49

So let’s look at some other things. Again, I’m seeing this red marine algae, I see the green coffee bean extract. I’ve seen a whole bunch of products that have things like this. And yeah, when one of my athletes asks me I’ll dig into the science. And every once in awhile you might see something in a study that it helps performance a little bit. But for the most part, I’m going to try to avoid that stuff unless there’s a lot of science saying yeah, this stuff is beneficial. Another thing that you will see in a lot of products is they try to throw in tons of vitamins and minerals and amino acids, because they’re important for health. Yes, that’s true. So this one has all the B vitamins, it has the amino acids. You do need those. When you are vitamin D deficient, you are going to be fatigued. You’re not going to be able to perform very well. But the argument I’m going to give is, to use an analogy, stretching helps recovery. But should you be stretching in the middle of a race?

Caley Fretz  49:49

Maybe not.

Trevor Connor  49:50

Right. You’re not going to pull over and do a ton of stretching during an event, during a race. You want that simple product that your digestion can handle. And worry about getting your vitamins and minerals, worry about the health side, after the event.

Caley Fretz  50:09

Yeah, this goes back to our original discussion of the food versus fuel and sort of what you should be eating while riding and then with an hour on either end. Versus what you should be eating off the bike completely.

Dan Cavallari  50:23

Which I’d like to talk about before and after the ride, because I’ve actually had some issues before riding that I’d like to talk about.

Caley Fretz  50:32

Laxative effects?

Dan Cavallari  50:34

That’s sort of a problem for me all the time.

Trevor Connor  50:37

Before we get there, let me cover one other because there’s a lot of products out there now that love to get the branched chain amino acids into the product. They talk about, well, you need protein in your fuel during during an event. In fact, there was this product up in Canada that I have to bite my lip on a lot, but it was the ultimate marketing product ever. And they were marketing as a endurance performance drink mix. And it was zero calories. Because they were saying, well, sugars are bad for you, you don’t want calories because calories are bad for you. So here’s an endurance product that actually has zero calories. Which, why would you ever want that in a race? And they replaced all those carbohydrates with branched chains amino acids, because that’s what you need in an endurance event. 

Caley Fretz  51:32

I wish you could see Trevor’s facial expression. 

Dan Cavallari  51:37

It’s like Oscar the Grouch, combined with the Cookie Monster when you just took his cookies away.

Trevor Connor  51:44

But going to the amino acids, there were some studies back about 10-15 years ago now, where they compared a sports drink that had a four to one ratio carbohydrate to protein up against a straight carbohydrate drink mix. And you saw performance enhancement. Can’t remember if it was performance enhancement, or just a longer period of time before they fatigued, in the athletes that drink the four to one mix. So that became really, really popular. There’s a lot of products out there that use that four to one mix. I will admit I drink accelerate, which is a four to one mix. I just really like the taste.

Caley Fretz  52:23

Which is half the battle.

Trevor Connor  52:25

There’s actually there was a huge study on that, that compared to all the different sports drinks. And their conclusion was the best sports drink is the one that you like. Because if you like it, you will drink it. If you don’t like it, you will not drink it.

Caley Fretz  52:36

That’s why a lot of people are big fans of Skratch. It’s really tasty. It’s really tasty.

Trevor Connor  52:41

But everybody really landed on that research and said we need that four to one ratio. Finally, somebody looked at the research and went they’re not isocaloric. Meaning for the four to one drink, they just took the carbohydrate drink and added protein to it. So it had more calories. So they repeated the studies where they equalize the calories between the straight carbohydrate drink and the four to one drink. And all of a sudden, all the benefits of the four to one drink disappear.

Caley Fretz  53:09

So you actually just need more calories. 

Trevor Connor  53:11

You just need more calories. 

Caley Fretz  53:13

But that comes back to the careful balance between if you start putting too much stuff in your sports drink, and there are definitely sports drinks to do that, then you run into this osmotic pressure problem, right? I know science, hashtag science. That’d be science for a moment.

Trevor Connor  53:32

Well, just remember, when you are going hard, the gut doesn’t work as well. And you don’t want to be drawing fluid out of your blood. So really, I’m going to keep saying this. The best products are the ones that are simplest and have just what you need. Which is some sugars in a good ratio of glucose to fructose, and some electrolytes and not tons of electrolytes. There is an argument, super hot day if you’re doing an Ironman. Yeah, you need more electrolytes. But for most of us, no, you don’t need tons of electrolytes. Anything beyond that, probably not going to help your performance. It’s going to put a greater strain on your gut and it might put a greater strain on the osmotic pressure. Why would you want to do that to yourself?

Dan Cavallari  54:12

So I think what Trevor is saying is you should really carry Coors Light with you at all times.

Caley Fretz  54:17

Well, it’s all gummy bears at first.

Trevor Connor  54:20

I managed a cycling team and I will tell you this. If we ever showed up to a race and we didn’t have flat Coke for the last hour of the race I would’ve gotten lynched. One of my sports nutrition classes back when I was racing full time, I was the only endurance athlete in the class. Everybody else was very interested in this but they weren’t actually athletes. And they got obsessed with gastric distress. It was only a good product if it didn’t cause gastric distress. And so we were talking about what do you need in a bike race? And the people in the class are coming up with these crazy things. You go well, yes, that makes sense. Have you read the science but in practice? No, that’s, you’d never do that. Finally, the teacher looked at me and just said, well, Trevor, you are professional cyclists. What do you have at the end of a race? I just went you honestly want to know and he goes, Yeah, I go. Flat Coke. Coke Cola. Whole class flipped up. No, you’d never do that. That would cause gastric distress. That’s That’s crazy talk. And I just looked at them when you’re four hours into a race. You’re dying. You’re looking at a category one climb to the finish. All you’re trying to do is suffer to the top of that race. Do you really care if you’re a little gassy?

Caley Fretz  55:48

Yeah, I will say that I had a can of Coke save my ass last time I did Leadville. Got a can of Coke, about 10 minutes before power line, which is about probably an hour and a half from the end of the race itself. And I was probably not going to make it up powerline without that kind of coke. And I ended up finishing pretty well.

Dan Cavallari  56:10

That’s what they were handing out at the Pinarello GranFondo. You get to an aid station it’s these grandmother’s handing out orange slices and Pepsi. I was like, “You’re my hero.”

Caley Fretz  56:21

This comes back to what we were talking about earlier. Which is you can replace a lot of these fancy energy chews and energy drinks with much cheaper generic options. Yes, maybe you don’t get 100% of the same benefits. But you can get most of the way there. And sometimes if it’s tastier – I mean, that’s the big thing for Coke for me. Five hours into Leadville, that’s really all I wanted was a Coke. And then you down the whole thing and you’re better off.

Dan Cavallari  56:54

If we could switch to something that I am a champion endurance athlete in, and that’s eating off the bike. Like I said, I’ve had issues with fueling up before a ride. And the problem that I have is, it doesn’t seem to matter what food I eat before a ride, I always get that stomach stitch about 30 minutes into the ride. So what’s going on there? What should I eat before ride? And what should I eat immediately after a long ride?

Trevor Connor  57:26

Now, is this an all events? Or is it ones that start hard?

Dan Cavallari  57:32

We’re talking about performance. So we’ll say a racing situation.

Trevor Connor  57:36

I’m not sure. This is mostly going to be guessing. Because I’m not sure exactly what causes that stitch that people get. I used to get those. Fortunately I don’t get them anymore. And I’ve never understood why. My guess is that it’s what I was talking about. Blood is being shunted away from your gut. But your gut still has a lot of food that it needs to process. And that causes you pain and distress. You don’t actually have pain sensors in your gut, they connect to the pain sensors on your skin. And that’s why when your gut is in pain, you feel it on the surface. That’s why you get those stitches. So before a race that’s one really important thing to know, is if you put a ton of food in and then the race starts really hard and your gut shuts down. Yeah, that’s going to cause the issue. So you might want to avoid eating the hour before an event. Another reason you want to be careful about eating before an event is what we were talking about before. The two different ways that you can get those glute four transporters to the surface of your cells, to get your your cells to absorb sugar. If you eat before a race, you’re going to get an increase in insulin. Your insulin levels are going to go up and that’s going to promote your cells to take up sugar. Then if you start exercising, you’re going to get a double whammy. That’s also going to promote glute four. And you can get what’s called reactive hypoglycemia. All of a sudden, the floodgates have been opened. All the blood sugars are being pulled out of your blood, and your blood sugar levels drop. And then you get lightheaded. Then you feel like your energy goes away and suddenly you’re out of the race 15 minutes in.

Dan Cavallari 57:50

What about after the ride? When I get off the bike? Should I be devouring something the way Sagan did immediately after I get off the bike? Should I be waiting? And what should I be eating?

Trevor Connor  59:32

So remember, because you are exercising, you still have all those glute four transporters at the surface of your cells. Your cells are very primed to take in sugars. You want to restock your glycogen. That is an optimal time to do it. So right after exercise, you want to take in some more simple sugars. So basically what I do is whatever’s in my pocket I just wolf it down because the nutrition that’s right for racing is also the nutrition that’s right 15 minutes right after the race.

Caley Fretz  1:00:02

Which is why Sagan ate the gummy bears. 

Dan Cavallari  1:00:04

And I crave a gel immediately after I get off the bike. It’s strange.

Caley Fretz  1:00:08

What about adding a bit of protein? How soon should you add protein into that recovery base?

Trevor Connor  1:00:13

My general recommendation is in the first 15 minutes, wolf down a bunch of sugar. After you’ve had that hit of sugar immediately after exercise, I’d say about 15-20 minutes afterwards is where I’m going to try to have something that has both sugar and protein in it to help with tissue repair. And it’s actually really critical to make sure now you’re getting the electrolytes. Replenishing your electrolytes after exercise is actually more important than during exercise. And I won’t go into the science, but that’s also going to help your body rehydrate. So that becomes critical. So that’s where a smoothie will help. That’s where one of these recovery drink mixes can really help. Some people just like chocolate milk, but something that’s got that mix of carbohydrates, protein, and electrolytes. Once you start getting an hour away from exercise, that’s where you just go back to eating a healthy diet. So before we taste test a few of these products, let’s check back one more time with what Dr. Sims had to say about what you should be eating during endurance sports.

Dr Stacy Simms  1:01:17

And then the foods that you eat will also impact how the fluid is absorbed. So you want to not contribute to GI distress or reverse mater flux by not ingesting maltodextrin and not ingesting fructose. Definitely don’t want to do liquid calorie concentrates, which would be gels or liquid shots. And then I’m always on the adages, if you’re using real food, you can really tailor your nutrition to who you are, what your training history is, what environment you’re getting ready to get training in or race in. If it’s altitude, if it’s hot, if it’s low intensity, high intensity with short duration, high duration. So all these things you can tailor with your food and fuel. I think that the two biggest things, if people would change just two things, they would have so much more out of their training and racing. And first thing is eliminating gels and things that have maltodextrin and fructose base. And then second thing would be eliminating sodium chloride tablets.

Trying Nutrition Gels

Dan Cavallari  1:02:30

Well, bottoms up boys. Let’s open –

Caley Fretz  1:02:35

To finish off today’s episode, Dan has handed us each a gel. I have a honey stinger vanilla. What do you have Dan?

Dan Cavallari  1:02:44

I have the science and sport tropical flavor go energy. What about you Trevor?

Trevor Connor  1:02:49

I have amped fuel apple that says what the other ingredients are. But nowhere does it list the primary ingredient.

Caley Fretz  1:02:59

My honey stinger contains organic tapioca syrup, organic honey, water, potassium, vanilla, citric acid sodium chloride.

Dan Cavallari  1:03:13

So in one word when you finish, just one word description of your experience with this gel.

Caley Fretz  1:03:18


Dan Cavallari  1:03:25

Caley, go.

Caley Fretz  1:03:29

That’s actually pretty good. Yeah, good job honey stinger. It’s not gross. 

Dan Cavallari  1:03:37


Caley Fretz  1:03:38

Trevor’s making his Oscar the Grouch face.

Trevor Connor  1:03:42

I can feel the apple.

Dan Cavallari  1:03:49

You made that sound really creepy.

Caley Fretz  1:03:51

I mean, these things are really not good off the bike. But this was actually – mine’s not bad. It’s not bad, I will say.

Dan Cavallari  1:03:57

The science and sport, I give it a medium bueno.

Caley Fretz  1:04:02

A medium bueno.

Dan Cavallari  1:04:04

I wouldn’t want to just eat it. 

Caley Fretz  1:04:05

So that’s the one that’s kind of like liquidy right? It’s got robotic pressure optimized?

Dan Cavallari  1:04:10

Yeah, it says it right on there. No need for water. Ever. You don’t ever have to drink water again.

Caley Fretz  1:04:15

Okay, well, that was another episode of Fast Talk. As always, we love your feedback. You can email us at You can subscribe to Fast Talk on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play. And be sure to leave us a rating and a comment while you’re there. Also, while you’re there, check out our sister podcast, the VeloNews podcast. Which covers news about the week in cycling. You can hear me- actually yeah, I’m  the only one in this room that’s on that one. You can hear me share my thoughts during that podcast as well. Become a fan of Fast Talk on Facebook at and on Twitter at Also exciting news, we now have Trevor on Twitter. So you can follow Trevor on Twitter at @coach_tconnor. That’s t-c-o-n-n-o-r. You should all follow Trevor on Twitter. He doesn’t really know how to use it, but we’re working on it. Fast Talk is produced by VeloNews which is owned by a competitor group. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual. For Trevor Connor and Dan Cavallari. I am Caley Fretz. Thank you for listening.

Trevor Connor  1:05:31

Cue music.