USN Delite Bar
Heavier on the stomach than a sledgehammer to the midriff, USN's latest monster protein product, the Delite Bar, certainly packs a punch. Each bar contains a not insubstantial 30g of protein and comes in two flavours - Cookies and Cream (76g/315kcals) and Toffee Almond (96g/412kcals). The latter is the richer of the two, with more weight, more fat (16g against 11g) and more carbs (37g against 24g).
We found the chocolate and toffee certainly helps with palatability but there's still that non-specific protein taste once you get further into the bar. If you were hungry before eating one, you won't be for a while afterwards. But if you struggle to get your daily requirement of protein in, then these could help you.
They're not so light on your wallet, either. They come in boxes of 12 direct from USN for £41.88 (Cookies and Cream) and £45 (Toffee Almond), meaning each bar costs a maximum of £3.75. If we weren't feeling queasy before, we are now. www.usn.co.uk
This Irish firm's latest energy gel off the production line, Fuel Gel, is packed with several ingredients that claim to boost physical and mental performance. Each 35ml serving (110kcal), is filled with 27g of carbohydrates (Glucose, Fructose, Maltodextrin), L Carnitine (to help convert fat into energy), L Tyrosine (mental alertness and focus) and a reasonably high 81mg of caffeine.
It comes in Strawberry Zing and Fruit Punch flavours, and both had a medicine-like taste which wasn't such an issue when the hunger pangs came a knocking. We had some of our best rides of the spring with these stuffed in our pockets, which is pretty much all you can ask for from a gel. They are available in packs of 24 from Kinetica's website for £36. www.kineticasports.com
Although 35mL is about the standard serving size for a gel, it's sometimes good to have a little bit extra. Step forward Maxim's whopping 100ml gel pouches, which has a screw cap in case you want to take it in doses. If not, each sachet contains 300kcal and 74.3g of carbohydrates, along with stimulants guarana and caffeine. As well as the orange here, they come in four other flavours (citrus fruits, grapefruit and orange, passion fruit and orange and strawberry). www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk
Swiss firm Sponser are still relatively new to the UK, but are better known on the continent with their association to star athletes such as former mountain biking cross-country world champion Christoph Sauser. Their Recovery Drink (Strawberry-Banana), which comes in the sachets above (box of 6, £11.99) or a 1,200g tub (£34.99), contains casein and whey proteins (10g per sachet) and 39g carbs (218kcal). As with many drinks of this type, you're supposed to add water but we've always found that milk tastes much better. This drink is no exception. www.sponseruk.com