With the kind of money some triathletes spend on equipment, races, and nutrition, it’s natural for them to be skeptical when they see inexpensive products on the market.

Me included.

It’s easy to look down upon those brands and not take them seriously. Really, however, this is just a means to justify their own overpriced ‘investments’ and feel better about themselves.

Or is it? Or are those suspicions valid?

So when French sports giant Decathalon released its triathlon line of products, Aptonia, most of us were skeptical, me included.

I was especially interested in their nutrition. I picked up a few boxes of their cereal bars, soy bars, fruit puree, and electrolytes.

Cereal and Soy

Here’s what I think.

Cereal Bars: Chocolate and Strawberry

At a mere $3.20 SGD (about $2.30 USD) for 4 bars, you’re getting each for for a mere $0.80 ($0.58 USD).

They are small, only 23g. Compare this to the 50g of a Runivore, for example, or 58g of a GNC Climb Recovery bar. I guess their small sizes must makes them easier to carry.

I found them to be a bit sticky and almost oily and pretty light – not dense like any granola bar or the aforementioned Runivore. They’re basically mainly puffed rice and sugar.

I swear those kernels are just full of air. I bet these things would float.

They taste good, and my kids love them. But they are not what I’d consider a performance food, packed with nutrition, whole grains, protein, or much substance.

Soy Bars: Chocolate and Strawberry

These things are even smaller in size, but the same weight (23g). They also share the same two flavours as the cereal bars, chocolate and strawberry.

Small, light, and hard to open

While denser than the cereal bars, they are also fairly light and empty. They didn’t pass the taste test with my kids, ages 10 and 12.

I didn’t mind the flavours, but I’ll eat cardboard if I’m hungry. I wouldn’t take them with me on any triathlon.

Here’s a nutrition breakdown of both the the bars, per 100g for easier comparison. Divide by about 4 for each bar’s actual content.

Cereal Bar (choc)Cereal bar (strawberry)Soy Bar (choc)Soy Bar (strawberry)
Calories415396460450
Protein (g)4.33.916.515.7
Fat (g)2.81029.127
Carbs (g)70703336.1
Sodium (mg)109916161
Summary: Cereal = carbs, Soy = protein

Aptonia Electrolytes

Ahh, electrolytes, my favourite topic. Let’s see what Aptonia delivers.

This is just a review of the Aptonia Electrolyte Sport Solid Drink not the tablets, as I haven’t tried those yet.

I’m not sure what they mean by “solid,” because this stuff is just a powder that you put into water.

The one I tried was peach, and I have to say, it tasted great.

With 146 calories (610kJ), 34g of carbs, and 293mg of sodium per serving it has some substance.

But how is it that Precision Hydration can pack 750mg of sodium into only 20g of powder or UCAN can stuff a massive 310mg into a microscopic 3g?

Aptonia takes 38g of product just for 293mg of sodium.

So if you need major sodium quantities, this product is not for you – you just need too much of the damn stuff.

However, at $6 SGD ($4.36 USD) each, you’re only paying $1.20 per serving. This is value. Real value.

This is a product I would actually use if I didn’t have such a high sweat and sodium loss rate. It has a respectable amount of sodium in it (no other electrolytes to speak of, despite what the name implies) and tastes great.

I do have to take issue with the name, “Electrolyte Sport Drink Solid” and the description on the website which claims it is “…packed with electrolytes…” which is either untrue or they didn’t list whatever other electrolytes it supposedly contains on the label.

At the very least, it’s misleading (there is one electrolyte in it, sodium); at the worst a false claim.

For me, it’s ideal for an everyday (cheap) post- or pre-workout load of sodium. Thumbs up.

Aptonia Apple Puree

Apple sauce + plastic pouch = Aptonia Apple Puree. Seems more appropriate for a toddler than someone doing a triathlon.

They tasted ok but were quite underwhelming. They are huge and totally impractical to carry during training and certainly not during a race. I ate these while on the trainer.

Thumbs down.

Each is 90g, and a box has 4.

Apple Puree
Calories62
Protein (g)0
Fat (g)0
Carbs (g)13.5
Sodium (mg)15
A few calories, a few carbs, but in short, a waste of time

Summary

Price: Can’t be beat. If you know Decathlon or Aptonia, you know it’s cheap.

Taste: Nothing great. The bars are nothing special. The apple puree is like any plain apple sauce you’d get in a can. The electrolyte stuff was actually good.

Nutrition: Not that compelling. There’s nothing wrong with these products as snacks, but I would not use them in a race.

I may use the electrolyte as a recovery drink after training. In fact, these products fill the training gap where you may not want to eat a $4 bar each time you are done with a long run or ride – instead go for these maybe.

Overall: I would not use these really, but I guess you get what you pay for. They may be good for light snacks during neighborhood rides with my kids.

I guess my, and many other triathletes’ cynical opinions about cheap products being a waste of time kind of had a bit of merit this time.

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