Summary – Electro-Bites are the most innovative, non-sugary, calorie source for any athlete looking for an alternative (or complement) to gels
I first came across Electro-Bites at the Zion 100k. I grabbed a few packs and then completely forgot about them until I was gearing up for a long run. I thought they looked interesting based on the ingredients and figured I’d try them out. Gels are great and they work for most of us, but I think every ultrarunner gets sick of them at some point during a long run or race – I know I do.
About midway through a 100 mile race I often crave salty foods – mostly potatoes with a lot of salt. That works, but potatoes are bulky and don’t have enough calories relative to the volume of food you have to eat. I’ve made my own salty/savory potato/rice flour/MCT oil mixture before, but it’s always messy and the consistency was something I couldn’t quite nail down.
During my run I finally cracked open the Electro-Bites and was completely surprised! I thought they were going to be another sweet solid fuel, maybe something like a GU Chomp, but they were salty, had a subtle flavor (I opened an Apple Cinnamon), and unlike anything else I have ever tried. Finally a salty fuel that had 100 calories and wasn’t impossible to chew!
I instantly thought how well these would work in combination with gels. So for the rest of my run I would alternate every 30 minutes with a package of Electro-Bites and then a gel. They go down really easily and if you have a little saliva (or water) in your mouth, they almost dissolve into nothing. They are nothing like Gu Chomps, Sport Beans, or any other solid fuel on the market. They are round (about the size of 2-3 stacked Cheerios – similar texture as well, but not hard or crunchy) and an entire pack can be eaten easily in a few bites. One package is 100 calories (23g compared to a gel at ~40g) and has 190mg of sodium.
It seemed like I finally found a fueling plan that could work for an entire 100 mile race!
After a few training runs I decided that I was going to use Electro-Bites (along with gels) as my main fuel at the Hardrock 100 (race report). My fueling plan worked well and the Electro-Bites went down really well. I never got sick of gels and was able to eat (mostly!) every 25-30 minutes. The Electro-Bite/gel combo will definitely be my main fueling strategy for races!
So what’s the secret? A combination of potato starch, coconut oil, a touch of agave syrup, and salt. The coconut oil, which is a MCT, make up almost half the calories (about 40 out of the 100) and is used directly as an energy source by the body. The potato starch gives them the slight crunch and makes up most of the volume. The agave syrup gives the Electro-Bites an ever-so-subtle hint of sweetness that balances the saltiness.
So, is there anything I don’t like about Electro-Bites? Not much. I found out that they are going to make the bites a little bit bigger, which will be nice. You have to be careful not to crush them or they’ll end up all smashed up – not necessarily a bad thing as they are still easy to eat. I personally like to get in 250-300 calories an hour. I’d like to see a few more calories in the Electro-Bites - maybe another gram of coconut oil and a gram or 2 of agave syrup. I don’t think this would change the flavor all that much. Finally, although they work well for me most of the day, Electro-Bites were a bit hard to get down in the heat of the day. I might just have to stick to gels for the hot stretches. Other than that, they are truly an innovative product worth trying out on your next long run.
If you’re interested in trying Electro-Bites use the coupon code ‘MICKTOLDME’ for a 20% discount on your order at the Electro-Bites page.