Hot Take Cycling nutrition

Cycling nutrition is over complicated and expensive for no reason. Table sugar is 46 times cheaper and works just as well.



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With table sugar, do you just keep shaking your bottle before you drink, or boil the sugar in water first? In other words, how do you prevent it from just sinking to the bottom? Or are you just hitting spoonfuls and chasing it with water?

I’m not the original poster, but I’d just mix table sugar and maltodextrin, 2:1 ratio, in a big tub. Then I’d just do a few scoops into my water bottle and shake. I’ve since swapped the table sugar for Gatorade powder but it works all the same. Never had an issue with it not dissolving. I’ve used this mix for all my workouts and events for the past couple years with no issues.

I buy bulk sour patch kids or gummy worms. I stopped eating bars and GUs a while ago. They are mostly sugar and the sour taste keeps it interesting. The cycling specific nutrition is so expensive. I can get a giant bag of gummy candy (off-brand knock off if I can find it) for so much cheaper.

Obviously I’m not the first person to do this - but saves me so much money, also WAY less waste. I just have a top tube mounted “bag” and just keep them in a ziploc bag to eat while I ride.

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Agreed! Table sugar + pinch of salt - Done!

Sugar dissolves just fine in cold water! at least up to about 100gram per bottle in my experience.


You don’t need to keep shaking the bottle - once sugar is dissolved it stays dissolved. I easily dissolve 250 grams of sugar in 500ml of cold water. I can’t imagine anyone needing to dissolve more than that per bottle since that’s already 1,000 calories/500ml, but if you do, just use room temperature water; or in extreme cases - boiling water. That would pretty much only be necessary if you’re literally making your own gel.

The solubility of sugar in water is about 200 grams per 100 mL, so you should have no issue with the sugar dissolving.

Typically the night before I will mix my bottle with 60 grams of sugar and hot water, I will also add some Gatorade mix for flavor and electrolytes.

I run this mix in both my bottles, but you can also run a bottle of double the concentration of sugar and water if the sugar drys out your mouth.


100% agree. I take in 90-100g/hr of carbohydrate just through sugar water for every ride and have done so for a long time. If anything, it causes me much LESS stomach issues than gels and drink mixes.


re: dissolving sugar (or any drink mix really)…if you prepare your bottles in advance, you can use 1/4 to 1/2 bottle of warm water to start and then shake to better dissolve the mix.

Fill the remainder with cold water and leave in the fridge overnight…or use ice / cold water to top off and use immediately.


It does not work as well, stomach discomfort is real!

I think this is on a person to person basis. I have not experienced the stomach discomfort. It could also be using to much sugar per bottle.

The other thing I have noticed since using sugar as my nutrition is that I use it more often, because it is cheaper. Prior to using sugar I would only drink my liquid nutrition on long rides because I wanted to conserve my expensive drink mix. This obviously had draw backs as I was never fueling properly or preparing my gut for the amount of carbs I needed to consume on race day.


Why do you mix with maltodextrin? Table sugar is already 1:1 glucose to sucrose.


This thread/comment. 2:1 is what I’m targeting.


it is, but I prefer the taste of fructose+maltodextrin+stuff

plus I like the zen vibe of a little Steely Dan Kid Charlemagne / Breaking Bad time in the kitchen with a scale and mixing up 10 bags of white powder :rofl: No hazmat suit :biohazard: in this kitchen, good clean fun for all ages!


Yeah, I can’t do just table sugar. It turns my stomach. Especially when it’s hot. Maltodextrin cuts down on the sweetness.


No clue of the fructose/glucose composition, but if a less sweet and more interesting (at least to me) flavor profile is desired. Swap table sugar for brown sugar!

I have way more issues with different drink mixes and stomach and GI distress then I ever had with sugar… but this is a personal thing and changes for everyone.

I like to ad a bit of lemon/lime juice to the mix, then I actually enjoy the taste somewhat even if it’s like 120g in a bottle.


Notwithstanding this being a cheaper, and viable option to more expensive drink mixes, it always surprises me that nobody’s mentioned how sticky sugar can feel in the mouth. For me, it’s entirely too syrupy and I can’t stand having my mouth feel sticky on rides - especially when it’s hot. It often feels like my mouth gets dry and tacky.

Maltodextrin/fructose mixture don’t get as sticky for me and are entirely more tolerable.

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