Have a Coca-Cola

Like many cyclists, I generally carry a few packets of GU Energy Gel in case I bonk.  Bonking is when a cyclist drains blood glucose levels resulting in fatigue and light-headedness.  These 100-calorie packet contain carbohydrates to fuel muscles, sodium to replace electrolytes lost in sweat, and caffeine to improve alertness and reduce a feeling of tiredness.

However, sometimes I forget to throw a GU packet in my jersey pocket or run out on long rides. Unfortunately, corner stores rarely carry energy gels.  Luckily,  I’ve found a secret substitute that can be readily found everywhere and that works just as well for me.  My secret?  Coca-Cola!

Compare for yourself.

Amount Per ServingGU ESPRESSO LOVECoca-Cola Soft Drink
Total Fat0g0g
Total Carbohydrates23g 39g
Caffeine 40mg34mg
Note: I use Gu Espresso Love gel because I like the flavor and it contains a higher level of caffeine. Most GU gels with caffeine only contain 20mg.

An additional benefit of caffeinated sugary soft drinks like Coca-Cola is that they also contain water to help with hydration. However, this can also become a disadvantage and cause a bloated feeling if drank to quickly.

I’ve found that in a pinch Coca-Cola does live up to its 1905 slogan Coca-Cola revives and sustains as well as an energy gel.

Ken Whittaker