Your average energy gel isn't an ideal food source, says Sims. While they’re easy to slurp down at the end of a race or during a fast portion of a training ride, densely sugared foods can dehydrate the body and facilitate overheating, she says.
Gels are often comprised of maltodextrin, a longer molecule that requires final processing in the liver, which releases more heat. Surprised? Just check out your gel’s wrapper. It recommends you take in 8 to 10 ounces of water per serving to prevent dehydration, which is nearly impossible during a training ride.
A handful of Hot Tamales, on the other hand, are made of sucrose, a sugar that’s easier to digest and less likely to lead to overheating or a bloated stomach, Sims says. Popping a handful of Hot Tamales, glucose tablets, or Jelly Beans gives you the sugar rush you need without sending you to the port-a-potty mid-race.