Sugar for fueling rides

So lately I’ve been using regular sugar for fuel. I mix in a 22oz bottle, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and top with water. I can easily tolerate 1 bottle / hr, giving me 96g of carbs /hr.
Any reason why this would be a bad idea? The podcasts always mentions sucrose and fructose mix and using maltodextrin etc.
Isn’t sugar a mix of glucose and fructose?
Thanks for all input!


Should be just fine. And there are a couple of other threads about making your own mix that advocate for using regular sugar.

You can probably just boil water and mix the sugar on it… That way it’s mixed properly…like doing a lemonade…

Great, thanks!

It actually mixes quite well without boiling. It’s totally saturated though so any less water I’d probably have to boil it. And yes it does taste like a mild lemonade, delicious!

1 Like

Taken from Google because there’s a lot of confusion out there…White sugar , composed of 50% glucose and 50% fructose

I use plain white sugar in my bottles and it serves me perfectly.


I dont know how people can stomach drinking it though - its like drinking syrup and obviously the sugar water is sooooooo sweet. Tried it the other day on an indoor ride and really couldnt stomach it. Added a load of lime juice to try and balance the sweetness but didn’t help much…

Any ideas how to make this less sweet and drinkable while maintaining the sugar content?

I’ve done something similar in the past but used diluted juice. I would put a teaspoon of salt in though. It’s not enough to change the taste but it’ll go someway to replacing the salts you lose in exercising.

1 Like

That’s the problem with the 1:1 ratio. It’s just too sweet because of the fructose.

You can mix fructose with maltodextrin separately at 1:1 and it’ll be very slightly less sweet, but still likely too sweet for normal people.

Only real solution is to go 2:1 glucose to fructose, or whatever you can tolerate. Maybe 1.75:1 or 1.5:1.

I believe when people previously talked about the max 90g/hr carb absorption rate, it was at 2:1 anyway. Going to 1:1 increases the absorption rate all the way up to 140g/hr for some people, which really isn’t necessary unless you’re doing IM or 200mi rides.


Paging @Dr_Alex_Harrison


Not too sweet for me, I can eat sugar all day, lol. You’ll get used to it I guess, or you’d have to go a different route.

1 Like

It’s probably performance-enhancing for even ~3-4hr efforts. Certainly 100-120g/hr is better than 90g/hr for most people when done well, for 2.5-6-hr events.

Yes, 1.5:1 is almost certainly better than 2:1, and you can use maltodextrin, sucrose and fructose to get there.

Adding salt / sodium citrate blunts the sweetness effect too.

Chase with water when possible.


I’m trying that this morning - used sugar and some maltodex - with lemon juice.

I have been looking at the use of sugar simply out of cost as TBH I never manage to fuel at anything like the numbers always discussed on here. Currently | take 2x 750ml bottles with about 75-80g of maltex in each for a 3-4hr endurance ride. Its cool weather currently and the aim of these rides is pretty much steady z2, so thirst isnt an issue and this seems to work fine, but I am wondering if increased fuelling would be worthwhile and soon these rides will start to be 5-6 hrs. I still have a huge cheap bulk bag of maltex to work through and a little fructose that I bought to experiment with a couple of years ago. I like the idea of transitioning to sugar if I can make it work though.

My big question with all this is on my GF events though, when you have no control over what is available at the feed stops, and inevitably its some form of over diluted energy drink or water is all that’s provided by the organiser apart from solid sources. I’ve experimented with carrying mini baggies of maltex in the past, but there comes a point where you just can’t carry everything in your pockets!


Pardon my ignorance, but if this is the recommendation, wouldn’t it be easier to alter the mix ratio with more water in the first place?

Or is there a benefit to the heavier mix some of the time and the extra water is optional?

Yes, totally.

Dental health is the reason to chase with water. And it allows more flexibility of front bottle concentration, and refilling stops for plain water.

Yep! I make an ultra-concentrate front bottle and refill other bottle(s) with just water at any stops. I’ve often put 500-600g of sugar in a Zefal Magnum Bottle (32oz)


thanks - just bought 2 of those and will be using them for this event - its uber hilly and I’d rather not carry the extra weight but frankly at my level of performance I bet being better fuelled for the first third of the event will make more difference! :rofl:

100% yes, you will.

1 Like

I’m thinking about making titanium grillz.

Lightweight and inert. And Ti can be anodized in almost any color (except white) to match your bike.

If anyone else here wants in, the company is tentatively going to be called “Racing Teef”.


I’m in.

Depends how many teeth are on your crankset :wink: