Energy-bars & proteins-shakes

One would think we have an energy crisis in the field of sports judging by the number of energy bars and protein milk shakes being promoted to athletes. One would think that the majority of athletes participating in sports are handicapped, injured not able to walk, run or jog without drinking or eating a high calorie food. Is the crisis in the sporting world due to a deficiency of chocolate bars in our bodies? In North America alone, more than US $5 billion is spent on sports nutrition and the numbers are increasing. But does anyone benefit from these high protein foods, besides the manufacturers?

For some unknown reason, athletes seem to think they must buy something to eat to perform well. How this myth started and why it has persisted is a mystery. There is not one study which has revealed that eating such foods does anything for performance. Tiger Woods always carries energy drinks and snacks with him because he is paid millions and even he chokes at the occasional golf tournament.

Most athletes today carry their own favorite energy bar or protein shake. Many of these products have exotic names, wrapped beautifully, and come in various colors. Nevertheless, are these foods just a gimmick or do they actually provide energy?

All athletes should understand that by not eating an energy bar or a protein milk shake will not in anyway diminish their performance and likewise, by eating an energy bar, the performance will not be enhanced. Even though manufacturers of these energy bars and protein shakes hype benefits about these products, the majority of these foods are just water, with lots of sugar, flavoring, and a lot of coloring. Whether these foods are real is debatable.

There are hundreds of energy bars, candies an slurpys, and each one is said to be better than other similar products. The sports nutrition industry has gone bonkers- now there are organic foods, cappuccinos, fudges, poppy seeds, etc. Vendors claim that by eating these products, one can jog around the earth and still not feel tired. In reality, these are false claims with no scientific back up.

The chief problem with sports nutrition industry is that many manufacturers never actually reveal what is inside the food. In each and every case, the basic label will claim the usual carbohydrate, protein, sugar, salt, water, or some fatty acid. There is nothing special about any of these chemicals.

One does not question the value of vitamins or minerals in the diet, but these are definitely not required during exercise. In fact, the majority of these high calories drinks are more likely to a heartburn; stomach upset or give you diarrhea.

We live in a society where everything is hyped. The line between truth and fallacy is often merged and everyone is trying to win at all costs. The majority of these energy foods are expensive and, do nothing for the body. No doubt, these foods have calories, but one can get the same energy by eating a banana or nuts.

In sports, if you lack talent to begin with, no type energy bar is going to turn you into a superstar. Sometimes, one may get hungry prior to a race and in such a case, one can eat an energy bar, but this can never replace a decent nutritious meal.

Some athletes may benefit from these jazzed up high energy sport foods but for the majority, these foods do very little except empty your pockets. Athletes seem to forget that foods and beverages were made to be eaten in the comforts of a dining room, not while jogging or building muscles.