Energy Bars

The fluids required during exercise will depend on the intensity of the sport regarding replacement of water and fuel for example in strenuous activity lasting for long periods of time an isotonic drink is most appropriate as it contains moderate levels of carbohydrates yet its osmolality remains around blood plasma level. Hypotonic drinks would have a lower osmolality than isotonic drinks and hypertonic drinks have a greater osmolality than isotonic drinks.

Isotonic drinks replace fluids lost by sweating and supply the body with carbohydrates to produce energy. This drink is most suitable for endurance athletes and intermittent sports as glucose is the predominant source for energy production in the body and their carbohydrate source is glucose. Isotonic drinks include – Lucozade, Powerade etc. Hypotonic drinks also quickly replace fluids but do not provide the body with any extra nutrients and are therefore suitable for athletes that experience less strenuous exercise such as gymnasts or darts players. They are also suitable for consumption during participation in sports in high temperature environments as increased consumption of high osmolality fluids can be dangerous. Hypertonic drinks contain large amounts of carbohydrates and are most suitable for very strenuous activity for prolonged periods of time.

High energy levels are required for sports such as the 5000m or marathons etc, which is why hypertonic drinks are suitable for these types of events. Hypertonic solutions are also suitable for increasing glycogen stores in the muscles. In all sports carbohydrates are generally in the source of glucose as this minimizes the osmolality preventing any negative influences on gastric emptying. Sodium is also usually present for several reasons.

Energy Bars

Sports energy bars can be beneficial to an athlete providing they are consumed at the correct time and quantity. These nutritional supplements are convenient, easily consumed, taste good and often provide enough carbohydrates to restore glycogen depletion in the muscles following training or to provide additional energy if consumed before training. However sports bars should not play a major role in an athlete’s diet because the same energy can also be gained from regular foods that we consume everyday. These bars contain major sources of carbohydrates, carbohydrate content, protein content, fat content, sodium content and potassium content. There are thousands of different brands and types of these bars all varying much like the sports drinks.

Most energy bars are aimed at athletes or people following diets or weight loss programs. Due to the fact that these bars are low in fat yet high in carbohydrates they do offer some advantages for athletes or people trying to lose weight and also for the fact that their portions are limited discouraging over eating. Most nutritional bars have nutritional fortification in order to provide the body with its requirements, which is where energy bars differ from sweets or chocolate bars such as galaxy, snickers bars etc. Although this would seem a much healthier option in comparison to chocolate bars over consumption of these bars could cause more damage than good.

Energy bars contain extra vitamins and minerals so it is important that we monitor our vitamin and mineral intake before consuming any energy bars in order to avoid exceeding the recommended daily value for any minerals or vitamins as this could cause health problems. Although these bars contain high quantities of minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates etc the quality of the nutrition may not be as good as to that of a real meal for example a bar may contain high portions of protein, however this protein would not be as rich as the protein we would receive through eating red meat. Athletes should be careful in which bars they select as some contain stimulants such as caffeine, ginseng, guarana etc that can be dangerous if they suffer from any health conditions.

Nutritional bars are not adequate for replacing meals during the day but however would play a much better role in the diet in comparison to sweets, chocolate or crisps. So instead of eating unhealthy snacks between meals, especially if an athlete, a nutritional energy bar would be recommended. Although these bars contain the majority of athlete’s nutritional requirements they contain little calories, which is why it is important that they do not replace proper meals. Energy bars are most suitable for a small snack before training to give them a small boost of energy, and also after training to help replace the body’s energy sources. Class Notes Books Sport and PE, Advanced level study. Published 1998, Kevin Wesson, Nesta Wiggins, Graham Thompson, Sure Hartigan. London

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