The trick to eating right is knowing how to make any food, including pizza(!) work for you, not against you.
- By Marianne McGinnis
As cyclists, were pretty picky about what we put into our bodies. But while it’s easy to differentiate good (veggies) from bad (slap chips), it’s not so easy to discern how a food can be your best friend one day and your worst enemy the next. Leslie Bonci, RD, points out that what you choose to eat and when you choose to eat it should depend on your metabolism, digestion capabilities and activity level. So while a mid-ride Coca-Cola can boost energy and stave off the dreaded bonk, its effects are quite the opposite on a Sunday sofa surf, cyclist or not. In that vein, we examined five foods that have a place in your diet if you know how to use them wisely.
Best Friend: Bars are formulated to digest easily during exercise and provide a steady stream of carbs (you want about 30 grams per hour). For rides lasting 3 or more hours, energy bars can stabilise levels of glycogen, your main fuel source.
Worst Enemy: Bars are too heavy to eat immediately before a ride, says Bonci. They’re also a poor everyday snack choice— some top out at 1,500kJ and are high in sugar and low in fiber.
Use Wisely: Choose a low-fibre bar (2 grams is plenty) with more carbs than protein (about 40 grams of carbohydrates and no more than 15 grams of protein) and cut it into quarters, says Bonci. Put the pieces into a ziplock bag and, starting with hour 2 and every hour after that, eat one piece and wash it down with some sports drink.