Bag of Chips as fuel

Whenever I stop at a gas station I usually grab a mars chocolate bar which has 42g of carbohydrates and 230 calories. I recently tried a 300 calorie bag of lays chips which has about 50g of carbohydrates and I felt fueled and was able to pedal for a while afterwards. I also like the fact that it is crispy so that makes it addictive! I wanted some variety as I was bored with clif and chocolate bars.

Are there any downsides in eating a bag of chips compared to a chocolate bar when it comes to fueling especially a long ride (4-5 hours)?

Probably nothing wrong with mixing it up, especially with something that isn’t sweet. Depending on the flavour you might benefit from the extra sodium too. :grinning:

When I’m buying food on a ride I’m generally looking for something that is more solid but doesn’t pack well. Chips would be too light and airy for that. My favorite is packaged thick cookie of whatever flavor catches my eye. And a Gatorade that I drink a ton of them top off my bottles with the remains.

Doesn’t the world ultra-endurance champion stuff her top tube bag with French fries (with extra salt)?

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Fat digests slower than something like a simple carbohydrate. So that is definitely a downside if you are in a situation where you are trying to maximize caloric intake such as attempting to intake and convert to fuel 100g of carbs per hour during a race. If you took in the same 100g but all in fat, you wouldn’t process the fuel source into energy as quickly and you could also suffer some GI distress.

But, for the ride it sounds like you did, it shouldn’t hurt a thing.



Honestly…both aren’t great, because of the amount of fat in them. Try to find something with less fat.

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I never fancy eating when riding so my theory is getting fuel in, no matter what the form is better than none and is easier when it’s something you fancy eating. Believe the body craves what it needs, get it in and get on pedalling.

I watched that WHERE DREAMS GO TO DIE - Gary Robbins and The Barkley Marathons
YouTube · TheGingerRunner, and to see what he was eating during the event when he pitted, I’m sure plenty would criticise and be shocked but believe it’s what he knew he could eat, what he fancied eating, and knew it was good fuel for him from his experience.

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During long slow distance rides anything goes. But not too much protein, it makes you thirsty (requires more water to digest).

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This depends on the intensity of the effort after your stop

As others have said - neither choice is optimal for harder efforts as both have significant fat content which pushes that carb ratio down. If you’re going to go hard then you are better off with something that is pure sugar (jelly beans, etc.) but if you’re out for a leisurely cruise then just buy whatever sounds most appetizing

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Not really. Depending on how many chips (“crisps” in my country) you eat, you might need a bowel movement sooner :slight_smile:

You’re probably enjoying the additional salt, so next time you dont have chips/crisps think about taking some more electrolytes another way.

Where I come from whenever someone goes to the store someone else will always request “pop, chips, and a bar.” I always go with this trifecta on a store stop during a long ride.


The only problem with chips is the omega 6 fats used and the problems associated with them. Personally I don’t like chips, they just get stuck in my teeth.

A favourite of mine on brevets is a bottle of pepsi and a small bag of doritos. I usually only eat half the bag since they are so salty but they’ve also some potassium, calcium, and magnesium so I find them to be a solid fuel. I usually get a bag of gummy candies too, like fuzzy peaches or something, they travel a bit easier than the chips do and are mostly sugar with some corn starch added.

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Did a 5 hour ride today. Stopped to eat a bag of lays chips and also drank a small can of pepsi. I felt so good especially in the last few kms of the ride! my RPE was reduced even though my heart rate was higher due to cardiac drift.

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As others already alluded too it’s the difference between fast or slow absorption fuel.

For long rides you will need a mixture of absorption rates.

At the end of the day it’s what you percive that makes you feel good That is important.

If it matters to you, you could try healthier options (most of them home made).

It does not really matter to me. I consume a lot of unhealthy stuffs when I am out on a long ride. This includes sodas, lots of chocolate bars, chips and more unhealthy stuffs which I usually don’t consume everyday

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Can I get the summary/spoiler here or do I have to watch?

Would strongly recommend watching it, not to see what he eats, which is a wide range of food/products but the entire focus for an event from one amazing endurance athlete. It’s a very well made film, an amazing story produced by following him for two years. The training, running hill repeats, alone are impressive.

Here’s one quote when he finished a lap “I want the burger with ketchup and three slices of bacon”

If he moves over to cycling, I’d put money on he’d be the type to start his journey at 4.5w/kg :slight_smile: though I’m sure he’ll lose a bit of Aero with that impressive beard.

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Youll get far more from watching it than reading a one line quote. Good documentary. :+1:

Finding Traction is another one, and her diet is also inelegant :slight_smile: