Gear Review Sierra Rec, December 2015 – Are you part of that elite athlete crowd that looks at a 50-mile run and says let’s do it? Or Maybe your part of that “training to be elite” cycling group that is set to take on the Death Ride in High Sierra or just loves to feel the burn of climbing several thousand feet a day as part of your adventure passions. By elite I mean, someone willing to put your body through the pain and fatigue of an event like this for the mere satisfaction of pushing the human spirit or proving to yourself that it can be done. If you are then you know all to well the importance of good nutrition, pre-event fuel, post event fuels and active fuels that that your body needs and craves during your events. Well in today’s gear review I bring you a new alternative to that sugary sports drinks or sticky gels for our next endurance event.
Fuel 100 Electro-Bites are designed specifically for endurance athletes to help extend training and improve race performance. Designed as an alternative to the sweet and sticky products currently on the market each 100 calorie pack contains bite sized snacks that are slightly salty in taste. Electro-Bites contain only the best all-natural ingredients including coconut oil and agave syrup.
Now to be abundantly clear here, I have not trained for what I would call an endurance event for well over 20 years, my pace today is more in line with a 6-15 mile hike in the high Sierra or a day adventure with friends snowshoeing near Lake Tahoe. However, I took on this product review because nutrition for athletes & endurance is definitely needed when hiking in Yosemite high country or making a three-day trek on the PCT. And when I go out on these adventures, energy, food and cravings are still all too real, so it seemed like a great opportunity to look into a new product that might replace the often sugary snacks in my pack with healthy alternatives that are easy to pack and have the right nutritional value to keep my body performing at its best during my excursions. Often after a long hike I crave protein and salt products just like a high endurance athlete. Fuel 100 Electro-Bites not only offered a salty solution, but they are also Gluten Free and Soy Free, which is something my wife and I have been exploring in our diets, even though we don’t have any apparent allergies to Gluten.
The Pros to Fuel 100 Electro-bites:
- Package Size – Great individual serving size. I could easily pack multiple bags with me if needed.
- Positive Ingredients – No Gluten, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Agave Syrup, Sodium (190mg) , Magnesium (46mg), Potassium (55mg) the goal is to be nutrition for athletes.
- Salty Solution to Cravings
- Multiple Flavors – Salty Vinegar, Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin Spice, Salty Vanilla and Simply Salty
- Easily Dissolves in your Mouth – No Sticky or gooey residue left in your mouth
- Energy Boost
The Fuel 100 Electro-Bites come in a convenient individual serving size pouch that is light weight and easily stashed in a pocket, daypack or held in your hand. For my test of this product, I headed out on a day excursion, snowshoeing with friends south of Lake Tahoe in Alpine County. I easily packed 6 individual packages in my day pack along with 2 liters of water and other trail essentials.
Several of my guests today are avid adventure and fitness individuals that I know train hard for their chosen adventure/endurance events. I was thrilled they could join me because between us all we cover multiple endurance type events including several 50-mile races, trail running workouts and long distance hiking each year in our fitness/adventure routine. I was hoping to get their feedback on the product as well while we were out enjoying the new snow pack in the Sierra.
I choose to test the Fuel 100 product after several miles of snowshoeing uphill in about a foot of new snow. We had climbed up out of the Hope Valley region to a nice vista point and worked up a nice body temperature and thirst.
The Fuel 100 Tablets are about the size of a large pea & earthy in appearance. I asked my trail mates for the day if they would like to try this new energy product I was testing and they all agreed to give it a shot. We all agreed that the Salty flavor made our mouth water a bit, we also liked the crunch and quick dissolving factor of each pellet. The flavors sounded better on the packaging however as the salty texture of the pellet really made it difficult to taste any apple or vanilla flavoring. We tried all five flavors and they honestly tasted pretty much the same.
A couple items that I liked most. The dissolving factor of the product was great. I have tried the gels before and the sticky sweet taste left in
my mouth was always lingering. These pellets provided a little crunch, gave me a much-needed salt fix and later a feeling like I had kept my energy levels at a good spot for the day. And like the owner of Fuel 100, which created this product after losing a crown to a chewy sports product, the gummy sports products don’t agree with my dental work.
Cons to Fuel 100 Electro-bites:
- 100 Calorie 1 packet serving size is not easily taken all at one time. Best if you just shake a couple out at a time, but if you are in the middle of an event this will not be a quick process.
- A bit gritty – All though the product is gone quickly, there is a gritty feeling left in your mouth for several minutes. I suggest eating these with a bottle of water.
- Flavor Profile masked – The salty profile does a great job of calming the salt cravings, however if you hoping to taste a little apple when you eat the apple cinnamon, it just does not fill that craving.
To say this product perfect, would not do you justice. I was happy to see on the fuel 100 website that they seem to understand that this product is not perfect yet and that they are continually working to improve it for the public.
Although we think the packaging and convenient serving size are a great benefit to this product, the actual serving size of the product is a bit too large. I would find it a challenge to eat this while still participating in my activity. The number of pellets in the package filled the palm of my hand, and though there was added benefit from eating more than one pellet at a time (added saliva activity) there is little chance anyone would enjoy the entire package all at once. So the easiest way is to stop take a break and partake in the snack pack. It is also suggested that you give yourself time to digest / dissolve the product thoroughly, as the initial product is a dry powdery substance that as it moistens and begins to dissolve also creates a paste type substance for a few seconds which would be hard to handle if your running or cycling. This was confirmed by one of my colleges who said ” I hate gels, but if I ate this while running it would piss me off” It should be noted however that after a minute and a swig of water he said those are not to bad.
Seems like this product would benefit from a better flavor profile as well. All Natural, Soy Free, Gluten Free, does not have to mean there is no flavor. I enjoyed the salty texture of this product, but would love to see them improve the profile of flavor to have more depth.
Fuel 100 was born from the desire of the company founders to fuel their runs with something other than gels and sweet products (nutrition for athletes). Both are self-described as sugar freaks, yet crave salt while exercising and racing. An ultra-runner for many years, Michelle Halsne was used to ingesting gels and sodium replacement capsules regularly during workouts and races. After a particularly hot and humid training run (and losing a crown to a chewy sports product) she thought there must be an another way to get all the calories and nutrients needed for success. No doubt other endurance athletes crave choices and variety when training and racing for multiple hours.
One important element was to use all natural ingredients with the highest nutritional value possible. Although they love the final formulation they plan to continually play with the recipe, working with new flavors, ingredients and nutrients.
Each 100 CALORIE SERVING contains –
- Organic Coconut Oil
- Organic Agave Syrup
- Potato Starch
- Sodium (190mg) , Magnesium (46mg), Potassium (55mg)
Nutrition Facts Serv. Size: 23 grams (23g), Servings: 1, Amount Per Serving: Calories 100, Fat Cal. 40, Total Fat 4.5g (7% DV), Sat. Fat 4g (20% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Sodium 190mg (8% DV), Potassium 55mg (2% DV), Magnesium 46mg (10%DV) Total Carb. 14g (5% DV), Sugars 2g, Protein 0g, Calcium (2% DV), Vitamin D (25% DV), Vitamin E (15% DV), Vitamin B6 (10% DV), Vitamin B12 (30% DV). Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Calories per gram: Fat 9 • Carbohydrate 4 • Protein 4
Ingredients: POTATO STARCH, ORGANIC COCONUT OIL, ORGANIC AGAVE SYRUP, SODIUM BICARBONATE, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF THE FOLLOWING: CHOLECALCIFEROL (VIT D3), DL-ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE (VIT E), CYANOBALAMIN (VIT B12), PYRIDOXINE HCL (VIT B6), POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, MAGNESIUM CITRATE, CITRIC ACID, FRUIT PECTIN, NATURAL FLAVORS, DEXTROSE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE Contains: Coconut Oil
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Fuel 100 Electro-bite for free from Fuel 100 as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.