The Mystery of Energy Bars and Drinks

  • Why is “athletic food” held in such unquestioned esteem?
  • Why is it assumed that people who engage in athletic activity will and must eat energy bars and drinks?
  • Why is sports “nutrition” mostly about performance enhancing combinations of supplements, drinks, goos and bars?
  • The one word answer:  Marketing.
  • More specifically:  Highly masterful marketing that employs the authority of “science.”

Bar Vs. Kale Picture

Bar Debate

We were featured in a Daily Camera article last week that raised interesting questions like those above.  I got to talk with one of the athletes interviewed for the article, who had some good insights:  “Makers of athletic food products have brought science to bear in promoting their products.  Since athletic training is focused on science-based research, it’s only natural that athletes will respond favorably to scientific-type research on the superiority of manufactured energy products.”

Indeed, look at any sports site, flip through sports magazines or talk to fitness folks and you’ll discover a wellspring of enthusiastic banter about energy foods and drinks–and it is all “based on science.”

What Science Really Says

It’s curious how marketers can claim the mantel of scientific sanctity for products that often list “corn syrup” as the first ingredient.  What’s more, if we’re talking real “scientific research,” there are at least a few studies confirming the powerful benefits of food–numbering maybe in the thousands!  Why don’t these studies carry much weight in fitness circles and gyms?  Maybe because there’s a lot more money poured into advertising energy bars than what’s spent to promote broccoli florets and butter beans!

A Real Balance

Balance is such a key concept in every walk of life.  How do we profit ourselves with incredible fitness if the body is robbed of nature-given nutrients needed for true health?  That’s why I liked the title of Sarah Kuta’s Camera article: “Keeping it Real.”  Good motto for a new year.

The Real Problem:  Time, priorities and inspiration

Why can’t athletes just eat vegetables, fruit, meat, beans, etc. i.e., food?  As athlete Corey Steimel pointed out, “I struggle finding creative recipes that are not only healthy, but you can make in a timely manner.”  He and his friends get tired of eating the same things over and over.

The Real Solution

Join one of our classes and learn to cook healthful, tasty meals.  It’s easy.  You’ll be amazed at how skillful you become, even after just two or three classes.  Sports nutritionist Curt Thompson put it this way: “When people say I don’t have time to eat well, what that tells me is you’ve got your priorities wrong.”

It’s a new year, and a perfect time to work on the good eating part of your fitness equation.  We have three sessions to choose from.  Come join us, learn a few key skills–and have some fun!

What athletes are saying about our classes:

“Great hands on class!  Very informative.  Yummy healthy meals without the complications.  Thank you so much.”  –Corey Steimel:  Triathlete

“Great class!  Excellent hands on experience as well as visual experience.  Answered all questions perfectly and helped us learn in a way we understood.  Amazing class!  — Meghann Castillo:   Triathlete

Athlete's Class Photo

Happy athletes after a class learning to make kale salad, eggplant with tomatoes, and Japanese tofu.

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