Confused about calorie calculation of energy gels/sugars

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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by Stitchking

From a holistic pov this fueling approach is going to be horrid on your teeth.

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by Shrike

Better than eating fruit no, in terms of tooth health? And eating fruit is usually considered 'holistic', though don't get me started on the use of that term in general :lol:

Fruit contains sugars and acids. Needs chewed and can be deposited in tricky areas between teeth and gums.

Sugar filled water can be squirted down without much contact.

Anyway. Just brush your teeth a lot and you'll be alright either way.

by Weenie

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by joejack951

Nefarious86 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:29 am
From memory Trevor Connor was saying they believe that your insulin response turns off during exercise to an extent meaning you dont have the usual insulin response and are able to process the simple sugars.
My understanding is that your body requires less insulin during exercise to process simple sugars. It still needs some, just not the same spike like it would require if doing nothing. Apparently, this effect can last for many hours after exercise as well according to this article:

According to this graph, moderately intense exercise is when you are most insulin sensitive, though even at VO2 max you are still doing far better than when sitting on your bum:


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by eforce123

Shrike wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:12 am
eforce123 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:28 am
I am very new to the cycling world and the endurance world as well. I know a lot about dieting and getting lean. I have stepped on stage at single digits. It is no fun, but you definitely learn your body and want works and what doesn't.
Your post caught my attention.

what do you mean you "because from experience I know it's a massive fail trying to fuel with solid food on the same day as a hard interval session". solid foods cant work on heavy training days? anyone else can help me understand this as well.

Yes good question :)

Solid foods are always going to be best hands down. Healthy, low GI, well balanced and varied foods. But if you're constantly glycogen depleted and sometimes short on time (occasionally my workouts are only 14 to 16 hours apart), as is my situation, then your body just doesn't have time to load up on enough energy to hit your numbers/durations.

Take for example a tough sweet spot training plan like on TrainerRoad. Those workouts start to burn 1400 to 1800 cals. You wake up glycogen depleted as you've had a hard workout the day before and have been calorie restricting. Then you've got to eat for your daily requirements and stuff yourself with enough cals to blast through that workout. Pretty tough high end sweetspot intervals, 3 or even 4 x 20 mins. Your stomach is full of all that solid food and that takes energy away from you as you really want blood to flow freely around your body, not feel like a stuffed pig with a heavy gut :P The higher the intensity, the worse this effect is. Take a 5 minute maximal aerobic power interval done on a bloated stomach. Feels like torture.

Even if you have the time to load up, ie your workout is later in the evening and you're picking fast digestible food choices, there is still a type of fatigue that comes from calorie restriction. Muscle endurance, mental fatigue etc all get grinded down. Using sugary foods seems to help temporarily alleviate that, but now you're also risking insulin spikes when you're sitting on your arse stuffing yourself with high GI foods all day. Easy to get your cals in on pizza dinners. Pastries for breakfast. All that. Been there, but it's not for me anymore. I didn't find it sustainable and I wasn't feeling healthy or hitting my goals.

And that can set you off on a binge or overeating.

It's just so much easier when you're doing a pretty hard body recomp to fuel with energy products just before and during the ride. I'll start drinking about 10 to 15mins pre ride and all the way up until the last 20mins.

Get off the bike feeling great, hit my numbers and eat a healthy balanced small 500 to 600 cal meal. Maybe have a protein shake before bed if starting to feel hungry again. Breakfast is around 600 to 650 cals (small bowl of overnight oats in skimmed milk, strawberries and a 3 egg omelette), lunch around 650 cals too. If it's a workout day, then I'll up cals a bit, maybe have a piece of fruit in between breakfast and lunch and a couple of hours after lunch I'll have maybe a 250cal snack, muesli or something like that. Really depends on the workout, can vary wildly, especially at weekends, but there's no way my eating habits currently could support the type of workouts I'm doing to build power at the moment. It's high intensity right now.
What a great write up! I truly appreciate it. A lot more classy people in the cycling world then some other sports/hobbies I have participated in. It makes a lot of sense how much easier it can be on your body to fuel or refuel with simple carbs, given your workouts might be to close together. I need to start eating more calories to build some power, but its summer and the wife isn't complaining when I take off my shirt so I guess I will wait till winter time. Besides, upping the calories is definitely more fun.

I will take your word for it on the "Take a 5-minute maximal aerobic power interval done on a bloated stomach. Feels like torture". I am not sure I could do maximum power for 5 minutes. Seems like I would die out at about 50 seconds. Is this something you just work towards, or does maximum power just gradually decline as you get closer to the 5 min mark?

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by eforce123

Knowing what to eat and staying lean has been the easiest transition for me into this cycling world. Actually riding at a decent pace and being able to climb hills in another story.
I have enjoyed the process so far and looking ahead towards the progression (hopefully forward progression) haha

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by TheKaiser

Hi carb, hi GI/L solid food before an intense morning ride would be suboptimal, both because it will likely not have had time to significantly replenish liver/muscle glycogen for the early part of the ride (and possibly the latter part, given the reduced gastric emptying rate that intense exercise causes) , and because of the aforementioned insulin spike. The exact mix of upsides/downsides will vary depending on timing, how insulin sensitive you are, and how glycogen depleted you are. Those downsides can be avoided if you ingest a similar amount of faster digesting liquid carbs after the exercise has begun, which will increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the spike, but, assuming the concentration is not too high, can still be absorbed relatively quickly.

A point that no one has mentioned is the improved exercise performance that simply having carbs touch your mouth can bring during exercise. Even if you have no time to digest and use the carbs, and your endogenous carb stores are replete, there seems to be a neurological effect from receptors in the mouth that alters one's capacity for high intensity exercise. Perhaps this is related to Noakes' central governor theory. ... mechanisms In simplistic and intuitive terms, you could think of it as a little sweetness lifts your spirits and puts more spring in your step, but studies have actually demonstrated that it only occurs with a true carb source, not non-nutritive sweeteners, and it still works with liquid carbs that our taste buds don't percieve to be there is more to it than simple sweetness tasting good.

Back to Shrike's original question about gel calories vs. real food calories, we've now established that there was a little math error in the original post and they are both 4cal per gram of carbs, so, while the GI and speed of availability may be different, the end result on glycogen replenishment should be similar (as long as you are willing to wait and don't need the energy immediately). One thing to keep in mind though is that isn't necessarily true for some other real food products that are harder to classify. Examples are sugar alcohols like xylitol, which was originally thought to essentially calorie free, but now is assigned a value between 1-2cal per gram, if memory serves. More significantly are resistant starches, which appear as carbs on most labels, and are present in many starches when raw, like potatoes or grains, and re-appear in foods that have been cooked and then cooled (when the resistant starch structures reform). Resistant starches (and some sugar alcohols) are not digested until they hit the large intestine, where they are actually converted into fatty acids by the gut bugs that live in all of us, so while they are carbs going in one end, they end up as fatty acids by the time they are absorbed. This isn't to say that you should avoid foods of that type by any means. Actually, to the contrary, they can have many health benefits. My point is simply that when you see a label that says "30g carbohydrate" it may not truly reflect the amount of glycogen that you will extract from the consumption of that food. This point is relevant for people like my friend, who often brings previously cooked then refrigerated potatoes on rides, or people who eat cold, leftover pasta. Those foods will not actually provide the carb content that the label indicates, and the GI will be greatly reduced (which is both a good thing, and a bad thing, depending on the situation).

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