Beet Juice vs Caffeine What has more benefits?

For those pre loading beetroot juice. It appears the peak effects are between 2-4 hours after drinking, and that the effects are gone within 12 hours. So by all means a few hours before or during an event. But expecting something 24-48 hrs later is hope over reality.

Thanks. 2hrs before was my understanding. Figured I’d go for 6oz of juice first thing every morning for the next few months until my big race, at least. It’s going to be expensive (about $50/month) so I’ll probably quit after that until my next big pre-race training block.

An issue that you may run into is the soil the beets are grown in matters. So buying your own beets you really have no idea about their nitrate content. Best ive seen that has the best control of nitrate content are the beet it shots. Although they are expensive.

I’m guessing anectdotal responses vary greatly on the effectiveness of beets because of this.

@megkelley do you know the source for this?

“Research shows that taking caffeine with beetroot supplements cancels out the benefits of beetroot juice.“

From your article on beet supplementation here:
Nitrates for Cyclists: Does Beetroot Make you Faster? - TrainerRoad Blog


I’m not well-read on this niche topic specifically but I suspect it falls into the same category as other “X cancels Y” in nutrition, which is, there is some reduction in effect, most or all of which can be overcome by increasing the dose of the thing being canceled. Caffeine inhibiting creatine is another example.

If caffeine does inhibit beet root, I’d bet it’s as simple as taking a higher beet dose.


People react differently to the foods they eat. You have to find out what works for you.

I used to use beet juice occasionally and I even felt like it benefited me in at least one race, definitely lower RPE and just felt like it was easier to breath. I wish that sensation lasted longer than a few times, now the only thing beet juice does to me is guarantee excessive bath room visits which are counter productive on training or racing days.

I’ll stick to coffee now.

During a recent ride I took in a 150 mg caffeine SiS gel and that was like a second set of legs for about 30-40 minutes, although there was a slight crash, more fuel (non-caffeinated) fixed it. Clearly I respond better to caffeine at this point.

Can someone provide the actual primary literature for this? The blog and references provided do not show this. I think TR had a misunderstanding of the data. My understanding is not that caffeine cancels out the benefit of beetroot juice(nitrates) but rather that the ergogenic effects of caffeine are greater and that the two do not stack. You won’t be slower with caffeine+beetroot, you’ll just be better off taking the caffeine alone as it provides a bigger benefit



I don’t think you can even say this. All I get from your linked study is that beetroot probably doesn’t help with a 20k time trial.

Yea I should amend that to say that there is no consensus on ergogenic effects of beetroot juice compared to the known ergogenic effects of caffeine since the nitrate group time was only marginally faster than the placebo.

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I would have to be paid to drink beet juice. Coffee on the other hand… it’s a no-contest for me personally.

Maybe if beet juice raised my FTP by 50W I might just suffer it. But I’m not going there for some questionable marginal gain.

I can’t go without caffeine because I’ve been drinking it too long. But I can’t drink juices, especially since they usually have a lot of sugar in them, and that’s more harmful than caffeine.