Ironman Nutrition: The Best Carb Mixes of 2024

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Updated 4 May 2024

I’m going to give you an in-depth guide to the best endurance mixes and powders.

These are based on personal experience through years of testing in many half and full Ironman races.

This review just covers the carbs and calories that you mix in bottles – not gels or salts.

Why drinks? Because most triathletes prefer to drink their carbs, whether for a half or a full Ironman.

Gels, chews, and other fuels can work, too, but they tend to be less convenient.

andrew sitting with various carb mixes / products on a table in front of him

Before we get into the list of products, let’s just be clear that this doesn’t have to be super complicated.

Just think of carbs as sugar.

So, theoretically, you could just mix sugar into water and have an endurance fuel.

Add salt if you want sodium.

But you’d lack flavor, convenient packaging, and some would even be drawn to big-brand products for their name.

Also, other ingredients like caffeine, electrolytes, and fairy-dustings of pseudo-scientific things that make you spend more money.

Some may be valid, some may not be.

Another thing I want to note is that pretty much all (or most) brands say the same things to sell their products, which to me, kind of cancel themselves out. When everybody’s got the same selling points, they’re hardly unique:

  • Won’t hurt your stomach / no GI distress
  • No sugar crash
  • All-natural
  • Gluten free / non-GMO / vegan / soy and dairy free / etc

So don’t get tricked / sold by such claims. They’re common.

Anyway, I’ll get right into the products that I recommend, ranked.

Jump to table summarizing all key specs.


I looked at a number of things, and while some are subjective (taste) others are more objective (carb : sodium ratios).

They’re listed in my order of preference, based on the following:

  • Ratio of carbs to sodium – higher is better for hot and humid climates; low may be ideal for cooler or less demanding conditions
  • Flavors – both how they taste, the range, and if there’s a neutral or unflavored option
  • Characteristics of the powder – how well it dissolves, if it clumps, if it’s sticky, if it’s chalky, etc
  • And of course price, and I’ve even broken it down by price per gram

I have tried and tested all of the products here except one, Skratch Labs, but I’ve done extensive research on it.

Most of my reviews are with respect to using the products in the most demanding conditions – the hot tropical climates of SE Asia, so I put a lot of bias on those with high sodium, which may not be so critical if you are in cooler weather.

So, take all my comments about sodium and electrolytes with a pinch of salt 😐, especially if you’re a light sweater or are not in a hot climate.

Also, we’re all different, and what worked for me may not work for you.

Finally, the actual prices may differ a bit from what’s listed if they change over time, but what you see here should be very close.

Let’s go.

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The Best Carb Mixes

#1. Precision Fuel and Hydration PF 60 Energy Drink Mix

Ideal for heavy sweaters in hot / humid environments.

With 500 mg of sodium per serving of 30 g of carbs, you’re getting a spectacular 17 : 1 ratio of sodium to carbs.

This is the highest ratio on our list.

  • Monster sodium : carb ratio of 17 : 1
  • Light citrus flavor easy to handle
  • Price is reasonable
  • Brand has a great reputation
  • May be overkill for cooler environments
  • 1 serving = 30 g carbs; but it’s marketed as 60
  • Package doesn’t state the flavor
  • Serving size:2 scoops / 34 g
  • Carbs:30
  • Calories:120
  • Sodium:500
  • Sodium : carb ratio:16.7 : 1
  • Price (USD):$24.99, 510 g
  • Price per gram (USD):$0.05
YouTube player
Review of PF60

Of all the products on the list, this is #1 for me. My top pick.

No product I’ve found has such a high ratio of sodium to carbs as this.

Precision Hydration, now Precision Fuel and Hydration, is a product I have trusted for years to get me through the toughest, hottest, hardest, humidest (?) half and full Ironmans.

Normally, I’d concoct a sludge of Hammer Perpetuem and PH 1500 into a single 6-hour bottle which would be enough to sustain my carb and electrolyte needs on the bike.

It tasted horrible but it worked.

Now, that same company has combined the carbs and sodium into one single potent formula:

30 g of carbs + 500 mg of sodium = 1 serving (two scoops).

So, for a 72 kg guy like me that likes lots of carbs and sodium, 3.5 servings per hour = 105 g carbs + 1,750 mg of sodium is perfect.

As both a heavy sweater and a salty sweater (1,425 mg of sodium per litre of sweat), this is perfect.

No need to buy additional electrolytes.

No need to cook up a batch of product in my hotel room anymore before a race.

Now, what do I not like about this so much?

I don’t really love about how Precision Fuel markets their products using nutritional info of two servings.

On the package it says 60 g of carbs and 1000 mg of sodium, which is misleading.

That’s for two servings.

So, if you mistake that as being a per-serving measurement, you may accidentally give yourself half the needed nutrition.

I also don’t like how it doesn’t mention the flavor. When I first saw this, I thought it was unflavored.

But in reality, it’s a light citrus-like taste. Why don’t they say that on the bag?

In summary, this is the king of carb + sodium products out there, and it’s from a brand I totally trust.

And the 16.7 mg of sodium per gram of carb is as high as any other on this list.

So, if you are racing in the heat, and you demand big carbs and big electrolytes, this product has you covered.

It’s convenient, tastes light so you can even concentrate it, and you likely won’t need any other product alongside it.

#2. Tailwind Endurance Fuel

Tailwind seems to be designed for the athlete that wants a respectable amount of sodium with their carbs.

With a 12 : 1 ratio of sodium to carbs, it is race-ready for demanding environments.

  • Good amount of sodium included
  • Both sucrose and dextrose for faster absorption
  • Other electrolytes besides just sodium
  • Light, non-sweet flavors
  • Caffeine!
  • Excellent value
  • If it had a bit more sodium, it would be my top pick
  • Serving Size:27 g / 1 scoop
  • Carbs:25 g
  • Calories:100
  • Sodium:310
  • Sodium : carb ratio:12.4 : 1
  • Price:$39.99 for 1,360 g
  • Price per g (USD):$0.03

I just finished a 27 km trail run in Singapore powered by 6 scoops of Tailwind in 2 litres of water.

With each scoop at 25 g of carbs and 100 calories along with 310 mg of sodium and 35 g of caffeine, it was all I needed.

I brought four gels as backup, but didn’t need to open them.

I only got more water along the way.

Tailwind’s product approach is to include lots of sodium and other electrolytes so that you don’t need any other fuels. No need to mix in any extra sodium.

In theory, this is a good idea, and other products do the same, but in reality, your carb and electrolyte (mainly sodium) ratios may vary.

But it worked for me.

Let’s say you’re a high carb athlete and you want 90-100 g an hour. Tailwind makes it simple: You’d need 4 scoops of the stuff, and along the way, you’d be getting more than 1,200 mg of sodium per hour.

That makes this almost the perfect ratio for many athletes in hot and humid climates, especially if they like all those carbs.

If you can indeed find a product that has that optimum ratio it will absolutely simplify your nutrition, come race day.

Tailwind Endurance Fuel comes in Berry, Lemon, Mandarin Orange, and Naked (unflavored).

And it doesn’t hurt that they have an option with 35 g of caffeine per 100 calories.

The flavors are light, and Tailwind says they keep getting better over time – which I’ve never actually experienced – but try it and judge it for yourself.

The only reason I have Tailwind at #2 and not #1 is due to its lower sodium content, which is critical to me.

#3. Active Vita

Optimized for hot weather racing with high sodium, meaning most people can take this single product without worrying about electrolytes.

Super mild taste for high concentration potential.

  • Excellent ratio of carbs to sodium
  • They are continuously taking on feedback and improving the product
  • Mild flavors lend themselves well to being concentrated
  • Although from Singapore, they ship internationally
  • Some people don’t love the flavors
  • The product may clump up in humid climates (after being stored) but it still will mix
  • Not the cheapest
  • Serving size:37 g / 2 scoops
  • Carbs:31 g
  • Calories:133
  • Sodium:500 mg
  • Sodium : carb ratio:16.1 : 1
  • Price (USD):$32, 500 g
  • Price per gram (USD):$0.06

A relatively new brand, ActiveVita, out of Singapore has a great ratio of carbs to sodium.

Two scoops have 37 g of carbs and also 500 mg of sodium.

So, for many, this is the ideal all-in-one product.

You could take 2 servings of this (4 scoops) and you’d get 74 g of carbs and 1,000 mg of sodium. That’s like just about perfect for most athletes.

Want a bit more sodium? Choose the Active Vita neutral flavor and dump a sachet of UCAN Hydrate or Precision Hydration 1500 in there.

So, for many, this is the ideal all-in-one product which satisfies both the carb and the salt needs.

From Active Vita, “We went with four types of carbs unlike everyone else’s two.

We did this due to absorption rates on the GI scale. For example, fructose is the slowest, with a GI of about 25, sucrose about 65, glucose 100, and maltodextrin the fastest at around 115.

Some peeps may digest some sugars better than others. Therefore, with this approach you get a load of sugar regardless of which sugar your stomach prefers.

Using these four facilitates three things:

  • Different absorption rates
  • Meets immediate or slightly delayed energy needs
  • ⁠Supports athletes who need the fuel but may not digest one of those sugars as well as they’d hope to. They can therefore get it from one of the other sources. Yes, sucrose is glucose and fructose, but some may digest this easier than say fructose on its own.

Also using different types of sugars covers energy needs from instant to slightly slower released (although they are all quickish but at least not all at the same time).”

Another thing worth noting is that the flavors are pretty mild, so it wouldn’t be too intense if you wanted to double, triple, quadruple-up.

Meaning you could mix up a thick sludge of this stuff that would see you through a full Ironman and the concentrate wouldn’t taste too overwhelming.

The Ziplock type resealable pack is really good, too.

Also, I do like that the owner listens to feedback from customers and keeps making improvements, so I can only assume Active Vita will only get better in time.

For example, there used to be a bit of an aftertaste, which I wasn’t crazy about, but in the most recent batch it’s been fixed.

Also, it’s not the most cost-effective product here, but if that awesome amount of sodium is what you need, I think it’s worth it.

The other thing I observed is that the product seemed to clump up pretty quickly once it had been opened (only referring to the large bag, of course).

I do live in the humid climate of Singapore, but other products don’t seem to have this problem, or not as much.

Last time I used it I had to break it up a bit before putting it in my bottle. Then it worked fine, and dissolved completely.

That said, I just met the owner on a long ride, and he mentioned that you can put it in the fridge or freezer to avoid this; furthermore he’s aware of it and is working on a solution.

Here’s an unsponsored review I did of Active Vita.

YouTube player

#4. Precision Fuel Carb Only Drink Mix

Just what it says on the tin: Carbs only. I love the simplicity of this and the fact that you can add your own sodium, to your exacting needs.

However, beginner athletes may not know how and may risk using it on its own, with no electrolytes.

Ideal for the more experienced athletes or nutrition nerd who wants to formulate their own carb & sodium drink.

  • Very simple, straightforward product
  • A proven and time-tested brand
  • Light, mild, citrus taste
  • Totally dissolves, no sediment
  • You’ll need to find your own sodium
  • The packaging doesn’t state the flavor (it’s a mild citrus)
  • The Ziplock part of my package instantly self-destructed
  • Serving size:31 g / 2 scoops
  • Carbs:30 g
  • Calories:120
  • Sodium:0
  • Sodium : carb ratio:0
  • Price, USD:$49.99, 930 g
  • Price per g (USD):$0.05

I used to turn to PH for all things sodium, but what’s funny is that this product is now the opposite: No sodium or electrolytes, hence the carb-only title.

On one hand, I love the simplicity of this. Just carbs. Since most of our sodium needs are unique, it makes a lot of sense to separate carbs and sodium.

The risk of using a product that has them already combined is that the ratios are not well suited to everybody’s individual needs, racing conditions, climates, etc.

On the other hand, it means you have to worry about sodium now too, and calculate it separately, then add it in.

But since they know you’ll be mixing it with another product, I was hoping they would have left the flavor neutral, so if you want to dump some LMNT or UCAN Hydrate in there, you won’t have any flavor clash.

In fact, that’s what I thought when I first saw it. I thought the flavor was neutral. The packaging doesn’t state the flavor.

I’d characterize the flavor as a mild citrus, not bad, but not what I was expecting. Two servings in a 650 ml bottle was still very light.

With every two scoops delivering 30 g of carbs, I’d go for 3-4 servings of this (6-8 scoops for 90-120 g) for my hourly dosage.

I’d dump another 1,000 – 1,400 mg of sodium in there per hour.

The problem here is that many athletes that don’t have the knowledge or experience in endurance nutrition may not know that they should add electrolytes, or how much to add.

So, like I said, this product may be for the more advanced athlete / nutrition nerd.

I liked that the scoop in the pack is small enough to fit into the bottle – nice design there.

The powder itself is quite fine and mixed easily for me. It totally dissolved in the bottle, which was nice.

But the supposedly-resealable package uses a Ziploc-type seal, which, when I opened it was not intact. It could not be resealed.

Nevertheless, I’ve relied on Precision Hydration’s sodiums for so many years in 70.3s, full Ironmans, and ultramarathons so much that I would to totally trust it to perform as promised.

YouTube player
6-min review on Precision Fuel

#5. Fixx Fuel X

  • Nice, mild, unusual flavors
  • Caffeine option
  • Great prices
  • May not be available worldwide
  • Serving size:55 g / 1 packet
  • Carbs:47.6 g
  • Calories:200
  • Sodium:460 mg
  • Sodium : carb ratio:9.7 : 1
  • Price (USD):$33, 840 g
  • Price per gram (USD):$0.04

When I was doing the Melbourne 70.3 in March 2022, I met the owner of Fixx at a booth at the race expo. Pretty cool that the owner himself was selling the products retail.

I bought a few of these sachets and really liked them.

With 200 calories per 55 g serving, you’re getting almost 48 g of carbs along with 460 mg of sodium. That’s pretty decent.

When you buy it in the bag, you get a nice round 100 calories per scoop.

I totally enjoyed the unusual pear flavor; the lemon lime was fine, but it’s just super common.

The matcha green tea has 11 mg of caffeine per scoop. Not major, but I’ll take it.

It’s worth noting that Fuel X Pro also comes in a neutral (sorry, nude) variant, which tastes a bit sweet, but doesn’t have any aftertaste.

With respectable sodium and competitive pricing you’re getting a great deal with this product – if you can find it.

#6. Styrkr MIX90+ Caffeine Dual-Carb Energy Drink Mix

These large packets contain respectable sodium and carbs, but are a bit hard to mix and don’t have any flavor options – just a single sweetish one.

Nice that it has caffeine, but I don’t trust the PlasmaTECH marketing.

  • Great prices
  • Has caffeine
  • Only 1 flavor option
  • A bit hard to mix
  • Serving size:95 g / 1 packet
  • Carbs:90 g
  • Calories:372
  • Sodium:775 mg
  • Sodium : carb ratio:8.6 : 1
  • Price (USD):$39.99, 1,140 g
  • Price per gram (USD):$0.04

#6 on my list has to be Styrkr.

I first heard of them in 2023 when the UK-based brand sent me a few packs of this to try.

They also included some gels, electrolytes, and bars. They have a nice product range.

This product comes in two variants – the 90 g and the 60 g of carb concentration.

I believe only the 90 has caffeine.

These things are pretty big. 95 g of product per serving. Compare that with the standard of around 30-40 g.

It makes sense, though, as 1 serving = 90 g of carbs and a nice 775 mg of sodium.

There’s no real flavor to this stuff, besides being a bit sweet.

That could either be seen as bland, or if you’re like me, versatile. It just means it’ll mix nicely with some sodium product.

Also, not sure I buy the PlasmaTECH marketing.

To know a bit more, check out these two videos I did two videos of Strykr. The first one features the Mix90+.

YouTube player
YouTube player

#7. PURE

A good choice for high sodium, light taste, and real fruit ingredients, but not the cheapest or easiest to find in some markets.

  • Good sodium amount
  • Excellent taste and range of flavors
  • Uses real fruit
  • May be hard to find outside of AU/NZ/Southeast Asia
  • A bit pricey
  • Serving size:28 g / 2 scoops
  • Carbs:20.8 g
  • Calories:107
  • Sodium:200 mg
  • Sodium : carb ratio:9.6 : 1
  • Price (USD):$40, 500 g
  • Price per gram (USD):$0.08

PURE is a brand out of New Zealand that is very popular here in Singapore.

I’ve used it a lot, especially at local races where it’s often given out on courses.

I’ve always liked it and have bought it a few times, too.

What sets PURE apart from others is that they use real fruit in their products.

You can actually see it.

The orange and raspberry flavors are mild, and can easily be concentrated for a stronger solution.

At first, it seems like PURE doesn’t have that much carbs or sodium, but once you realize the serving size is only 28 g, you see that each serving’s 21 g of carbs and 200 mg of sodium are actually respectable.

With a sodium : carb ratio of 9.6 : 1, this is almost the same as FIXX, and the fifth-best in this list.

It comes in a resealable package.

The only thing that really lets it down is the price.

#8. Skratch Labs Super High-Carb Hydration Drink Mix

For sure this is a solid product with a great reputation, and the price is reasonable.

Despite the odd serving size (7 scoops), a serving is a nice round 100 g of carbs (400 calories) and 400 mg of sodium. Easy to remember and calculate.

The product guarantee is awesome.

  • Reasonably priced
  • A nice 150 mg of caffeine
  • Skratch has a great reputation
  • Product guarantee
  • Mild sodium : carb ratio
  • I’m not sold on the “Cluster Dextrin” gimmick
  • Serving size:105 g / 7 scoops
  • Carbs:100 g
  • Calories:400
  • Sodium:400 mg
  • Sodium : carb ratio:4 : 1
  • Price (USD):$41.95, 840 g
  • Price per gram (USD):$0.05

This is the one product in this list that I haven’t tried yet. Hard to find in my neck of the woods, but I know it’s popular, so after a lot of research, here’s my verdict.

To start, I think it’s weird how Skratch Labs decided to define one serving as a whopping 105 g or 7 scoops, when most brands’ servings are closer to 30 g.

7 scoops coincidentally have 400 calories and also 400 mg of sodium; this is 100 g of carbs.

Like any good endurance fuel, Skratch uses a combo of dextrose and fructose.

Not crazy about how they came up with their own term, “Cluster Dextrin” as if they’ve innovated something totally unique.

It’s not wrong, but it’s probably no different than any other product with dextrin.

It’s only available in two flavors, raspberry and lemon + lime. The flavors are said to be pretty mild, and as the package suggests, they’re made with real fruit.

And I love how they have a product guarantee – if it doesn’t work for you they’ll find you something else or refund it.

#9. UCAN Energy Powder

10% off – click on button below

Great taste and good sodium, and if you’re a nutrition nerd you can go with the neutral option and add your own flavor.

Milky solution is surprisingly satiating.

  • Unflavored variant available
  • Raspberry tastes amazing
  • Nice range of flavors
  • Powder is so fine it’s messy
  • Not available worldwide
  • Can be chalky
  • Not cheap
  • Serving size:37 g / 1 packet
  • Carbs:31 g
  • Calories:120
  • Sodium:240 mg
  • Sodium : carb ratio:7.7 : 1
  • Price, USD:$69.95, 750 g
  • Price per g (USD):$0.09

UCAN is known for their SuperStarch, which is said to not have any crashing effect, post-consumption.

I am not sure of the science behind it, but I definitely liked UCAN and it easily did the job for me when I tried it on a few long rides.

What’s really different about UCAN is that it’s sugar free; instead the carbs come from corn starch.

They have a range of products, including the unflavored option, which I’m always a fan of, as it can be easily mixed with pretty much any other product – an energy drink, an electrolyte sachet, or even another brand’s energy mix.

As you can see in the images, I also tried the cranberry raspberry and it tasted great.

The powdery mix results in a really milky solution which to me is somehow more satiating or satisfying than others.

It comes in Tropical Orange, which I liked, too, Lemon, and Cocoa Delite which sounds interesting.

You can buy this in tubs that have 30 servings in them or individual packets.

Although the prices are a bit higher for UCAN, you can get a deal if you buy a subscription, and the fact that they have a wide variety of bars, protein products, gels, electrolytes, and more could really just make it all worth it.

#10. Secret Training Stealth Big Energy Drink Mix

Refreshingly unconventional brand.

Lower on the sodium scale, but awesome flavors.

  • Great lineup of unusual flavors
  • Awesome tasting
  • Reasonably priced
  • Confusing product range
  • Lower sodium
  • Product in the pack is a bit sticky and may not last super long in humid climates
  • Serving size:30 g / 3 scoops
  • Carbs:28 g
  • Calories:113
  • Sodium:140 mg
  • Sodium : carb ratio:5 : 1
  • Price (USD):$37, 700 g
  • Price per gram (USD):$0.05

Secret training is different. Different flavors, packaging, and product lineup. I like that.

Founded by European Champion Track Cyclist Tim Lawson in the UK, Secret Training has a range of innovative and different products: Gels, bars, electrolytes, and this: Stealth Big Energy Drink Mix.

It tastes great and comes in unusual flavors: Pineapple, watermelon, and peppermint!

This great lineup of flavors in itself is exciting – I’m getting tired of the orange and lemon / lime stuff.

With 28 g of carbs and just 140 mg of sodium, we’re on the low side for electrolytes, but it’s all relative: If you’re a light sweater or in a cool climate – or if you like to take your sodium separately – this may be just fine.

What I didn’t love about this was the confusing lineup of products.

First, the brand is Secret Training but nowhere does it mention the brand on the product. It just says “Stealth” – so already I’m lost.

Next, within the energy drink mixes, you may expend a lot of effort deciphering what product does what. There are so many with similar names and it’s complex.

Finally, you need a microscope to read the labels – the print is so fine that I had to take a pic with my phone and then zoom in on my phone to read it.

The chip-clip like closure to seal the bag was unusual and innovative.

I did a YouTube review of Secret Training which you can watch below.

YouTube player

#11. Hammer Perpetuem

I’ve tested this in many half and full Ironmans and it has always performed.

It does require you to add sodium if you are a heavy sweater or in a hot climate, however.

Caffeine in the caffé latte flavor is awesome.

While this used to be my go-to mix, there are now better products out there.

  • Time-tested formula
  • Awesome flavors
  • Stores well, even in humidity
  • Caffé latte flavor has caffeine
  • Great value
  • Full-bodied flavors which get intense
  • You’ll need to add sodium if you are in a hot climate
  • Serving size:46 g / 2 scoops
  • Cabs:34 g
  • Calories:180
  • Sodium:170
  • Sodium : carb ratio:5 : 1
  • Price (USD):$39.95, 1,470 g
  • Price per g (USD):$0.03

Like the name implies, you can go for perpetuity with this product.

Based in Montana, USA, Hammer has been around a long time, and there’s a reason why.

For years, this was my go-to Ironman mix. I first used it in a 12-hour mountain bike race, and then I used it in many 70.3 and full Ironmans.

But its low sodium : carb ratio of 5 to 1 is just too mild for my hot and sweaty racing.

If you’re in cooler climates or have no problem supplementing this with lots more electrolytes, no problem.

But still, when I did, I would mix Precision Hydration 1500 into it and the flavor was a bit gnarly, but it preformed.

I always knew I could rely on it to get me through the hardest efforts. Whenever I took this stuff, I never felt anything.

No hunger, but no fullness, either.

Just a neutral feeling in my stomach, which is what you want when you are racing.

I like the caffé latte flavor, especially since it has 30mg of caffeine per serving.

It also comes in strawberry (this one is awesome), orange, and chocolate.

Note that recently, they came out with a new, tapioca-based formula (the other was made from corn) which is supposedly superior. The nutritional values are the same, though.

Two scoops is 34 grams of carbs. I will usually go for X scoops in a single bottle for a 2.5-hour bottle.

This is enough for me on the bike leg of a 70.3.

#12. GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink Mix

GU is a popular brand and it’s easy to see why with their wide range of products and great marketing.

However, the low sodium and fairy-dusting of amino acids kind of let this product down, in my opinion.

  • Tastes great
  • Flavor is light, so you can double it up
  • Caffeine option
  • Has amino acids, if you think that helps
  • Reasonably priced
  • Low sodium : carb ratio
  • Serving size:65 g / 1 packet
  • Carbs:60 g
  • Calories:250
  • Sodium:320 mg
  • Sodium : carb ratio:5.3 : 1
  • Price (USD):$30, 720 g
  • Price per gram (USD):$0.04

I’ve always loved the GU gels and have used them in many races, so I thought it would be apt to test their endurance mix.

What GU has done to set them apart from most of the competition is to add amino acids.

Personally, I regard this as a way for GU to charge significantly more money, as I am not convinced it’s worth it.

That said, they do have a great product which I’ve had good success with.

The Grape tastes awesome, and it’s not too intense. Also comes in Lemon berry, Summit Tea, and Tropical Fruit.

The grape is the only one without any caffeine; the others have a bit, 35 mg.

Each 65 g packet has 60 g of carbs, 250 mg of sodium and those amino acids (ahem).

I’d say this is a decent ratio for athletes that don’t sweat much or that are in cooler climates. Or for athletes whose sweat is not too salty (more info on that here).

But for me here in the tropics, if I took two of these for 1 hour or maybe 90 minutes, it may be light on the salt.

I’ll never forget the long ride in did alone in the searing Malaysian sun, blood sugar sustained by only GU Roctane and gels, with hardly any towns or shops along the way. Lucky this stuff worked! (Images above).

#13. SIS Beta Fuel

Lots of press, lots of marketing, but weak electrolytes and too much hype about its optimum ratio of 1 : 0.8 maltodextrin to fructose (table sugar is about the same)! May be best suited for cool-weather training and racing.

  • A range of flavors
  • Good brand reputation
  • Tasted horrible to me
  • Low sodium
  • Serving size:80 g / 1 packet
  • Carbs:80 g
  • Calories:320
  • Sodium:222 mg
  • Sodium : carb ratio:2.8 : 1
  • Price (USD):$45, 1,200 g
  • Price per gram (USD):$0.04

This one has done really well in marketing and has had a fair bit of good press due to its optimum ratio of 1 : 0.8 maltodextrin to fructose.

Problem is, it tastes horrible, at least in my opinion.

And it has low levels of sodium / electrolytes so it’s not well suited for hot and humid climates.

But taste is subjective, so if the flavor works for you and you don’t really need the sodium, it may do the trick for you.

One 82 g serving has 80 g of carbs, 320 calories, and 222 mg of sodium.

Available flavors are orange, red berry, and lemon & lime (avoid this one)!

Summary & Breakdown of Specs

Top PicksServing SizeCarbsCaloriesSodiumSodium : carb ratioPrice & Size (US$)Price / gNotes
#1Precision Fuel and Hydration
PF 60 Drink Mix
34 g / 2 scoops30 g120500 mg16.7 : 1$24.99, 510 g$0.05Massive sodium : carb ratio
Endurance Fuel
27 g / 1 scoop25 g100310 mg12.4 : 1$39.99, 1,360 g$0.03High sodium : carb ratio
#3ActiveVita37 g / 2 scoops31 g133500 mg16.1 : 1$32, 500 g$0.06Great ratio carbs : sodium; neutral flavor option
#4Precision Fuel
Carb Only Drink Mix
31 g / 2 scoops30 g1200NA$49.99, 930 g$0.05For the athlete who will add sodium separately
Fuel X Pro
55 g / 1 packet47.6 g200460 mg9.7 : 1$33, 840 g$0.04Neutral flavor option
MIX90 Caffeine Dual-Carb Energy Drink Mix
95 g / 1 packet90 g372775 mg8.6 : 1$39.99, 1,140 g$0.04Caffeine!
Endurance Formula
28 g / 2 scoops20.8 g107200 mg9.6 : 1$40, 500 g$0.08Uses real fruit
#8Skratch Labs
Super High-Carb Sport Drink Mix
105 g / 7 scoops100 g400400 mg4 : 1$41.95, 840 g$0.05150 mg caffeine
Energy Powder
37 g / 1 packet31 g120240 mg7.7 : 1$69.95, 750 g$0.09Can be chalky; neutral flavor option
46 g / 2 scoops34 g180170 mg5 : 1$39.95, 1,470 g$0.0330 mg caffeine
Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink Mix
65 g / 1 packet60 g250320 mg5.3 : 1$30, 720 g$0.04Has amino acids and 35 mg caffeine
#12Secret Training
Stealth Big Energy Drink Mix
30 g / 3 scoops28 g113140 mg5 : 1$37, 700 g$0.05Can be a bit sticky; unique flavors
Beta Fuel
80 g / 1 packet80 g320222 mg2.8 : 1$45, 1,200 g$0.04Low sodium, questionable taste
Some of these products are only available in certain regions, and prices may vary

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