Are Energy Chews Good for You?

In my Christmas stocking, I received a bunch of energy chews, energy gels and even an energy waffle.

The products all claim to give you a burst of energy without any caffeine – and many even position themselves as organic. The packaging makes the products appear healthy, even going so far as to feature a biker racing uphill.

To the average health-conscious consumer, these energy foods look like they’d be good for you. But are they really healthy?

Much like Gatorade and sports drinks, energy chews and gels have their place. They’re for individuals who are engaged in sustained physical activity for a prolonged period of time. These energy products can give endurance athletes a powerful boost when it’s needed most.

The boost comes from simple carbohydrates (i.e., the bad carbs), often in the form of sugar. For instance, the first three ingredients in the ‘Clif Shot Bloks’ are all sugar – but cleverly disguised as organic brown rice syrup, organic dried cane syrup and organic brown rice syrup solids. Consumers might glance at the ingredients and see words like ‘organic’ and ‘brown rice’ and assume that the product is healthy for everyday consumption.

They’re not.

The truth is, most consumers aren’t running marathons or biking the Tour de France. When these energy chews and gels are consumed as snacks, you’re really just loading your body with simple, unhealthy carbs. It’s akin to eating candy. Excuse me, organic candy.

The lesson in all of this is not just the importance of reading a label, but understanding what the ingredients really mean. In the ‘Honey Stinger Waffle’, for instance, the first ingredient is organic wheat flour. While whole wheat flour is a complex carb, wheat flour is not. Wheat flour is just a sneaky and misleading way for saying white flour. You must do your homework.

Read the label – and know what it means. And don’t judge a product by its cover.

About Davey Wavey

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Comments

  1. I think this article makes a very good point that people really do need to be aware of what they’re taking when it comes to nutritional supplements or performance enhancers.
    Some of these products are AMAZING for certain people, and might work just as well for others, although, like this example shows, things like gels might give you a boost when you’re doing a half hour workout at the gym, that’s really not their intended purpose.

    Be an informed consumer, and be aware of what you’re putting in your body people !

  2. Very good and elucidative post.

  3. christopher says:

    so ok-what the difference between these chews and energy bars?

  4. Honestly, the FDA needs to get some teeth put back into it and make the labels readable to the average person, WITHOUT having to google every single ingredient on the package to tell what it really is…

    …that and make the cardiac arresting ingredients labeled in red. Seeing the cross-section of a blood vessel clogged with trans-fats is one of the reasons why I can see a heart-muscle blowing a valve or having a nervous break-down.

    Peace!

  5. It is pretty much candy with a little extra electrolytes in them! I can say, I have trouble eating first thing in the morning. I usually wait a couple hours for my body to kind of wake up. During my first sprint triathlon, I went as far as packing 3 different breakfasts for early the next morning so that I could decide at the time what was easiest to get down. I couldnt more than a couple bites of a cliff bar. Eggs and bacon as well as a pastry all went in the trash. By the time I was biking, I was hungry and ready to eat. Thankfully I stuck an energy gel in my pocket and it gave me the boost I needed to finish the run. I was researching these for a few reasons and came across this website. What I was also told yesterday during a 40 mile bike ride where I had not ate enough (breakfast in the morning is a killer for me) is that you need to KEEP eating them often to keep your blood sugar level elevated. I started to crash around 30 miles in when my cliff bar had worn off. I tried some energy chews and it did help at least ward off some hunger. I think I would rather eat foods at intervals for sustained energy. Not sure these work much better than my anne’s organic bunny fruit snacks 🙂

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