When An Energy Bar Is Not A Bar

There are so many energy products out there it's refreshing when a business produces something truly different.

Secret Training has done just that, not once, but with several different products.

I'll take a look at some of these in future posts which you can find using the #SecretTraining label.

First is their Juice Bar.  Which is not a bar.  At least, not like any other I've ever tried.  Frankly, I'm not sure whether I like it.  It was launched earlier this month and I've been using them for a couple of weeks.

"Our bars are not confectionary in disguise", says the founder of Secret Training, Tim Lawson.  He used to be the man behind Science in Sport.  After he sold that business, and once his three-year no compete clause was over, Tim started Secret Training.  He's also a former European Champion track cyclist and works with professional teams, so he understands the requirements of endurance sports.
Opens easily on the bike

"The pros told us they found it hard to eat a bar and breath at the same time, so we made something they could get down easily" he told us in a talk organised by Madison UK as part of our induction to the Pearl Izumi Champion scheme.

I'm not sure I share that opinion.  I rather like a good, solid bar and never have any problem breathing while eating one.

In fact, I carry a variety for different mouth-feel at different stages of a race.  But then, I'm no pro!  Anyway, back to the non-bar bar...

The photos show its unique, er, characteristic which is its consistency.  It feels more like a gel that has partly solidified than an actual bar.

It's compact and easy to get into, the top partly tearing open just like a gel.  Each bar delivers 27g of carbs, 16g from sugars, "but they're special sugars", insisted Tim.

[Edit - having used these for a while, I've decided I do like them.  The flavour is excellent.  You can extract half a bar from the torn top with one good suck, and then tuck the bottom half away for later - it doesn't leak.  When you want that bottom half, the wrapper easily tears again above where the bar starts, and out it comes].

Apparently, Isomaltulose is a relatively rare sugar that occurs in small amounts in honey and sugar cane.

Its key feature for endurance athletes is that it is processed by the body more slowly, he says, avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels.

To quote from their info sheet:

"In a recent study researchers concluded that Isomaltulose maintained a more stable blood glucose profile and higher fat oxidation during exercise which resulted in improved cycling performance compared with maltodextrin. (K├Ânig et al 2016)." 

In other words, you get less of a sugar 'hit', and consequently less of a 'dip' immediately after.

Isomaltulose is not new, having been allowed in EU food since 2005.  However, it seems to be the last decade which has seen a rise in its use.  Oh, and there appears to be another benefit, which Secret Training don't mention, and that is it is kinder to teeth that regular sugar drinks, so should mean less tooth decay.   Secret training explain more about this sugar, which is sold under the trade name Palatinose in their info sheet.  Download their info sheet here.


Isomaltulose is also the type of sugar used in one of their drink-products that is specifically designed for fasted or low-carb training.  I've been experimenting with this (mixed results) and once I've used it for a little longer I'll write about it.  In the meantime, if you'd like to watch Tim Lawson talk about the bar there's a video on Dropbox.

No comments: