These are “nutrition products” so they must be healthy, right? Not so fast, says Jessica Herschberg, a certified personal trainer in Nashville. Sports nutrition products -- like gels, energy bars, even jelly beans with extra electrolytes -- aren’t meant to tide you over between meals. They’re meant to keep elite athletes going during intense workouts. “People think of these things as `health foods,’ but they’re actually very concentrated sources of sugar and carbohydrates. They’re not meant to be nutritious. They’re meant to be fast-burning fuel for the long, intense training sessions needed to prepare for marathons,” she explains. When those carbs aren’t burned during a workout, she adds, “They get stored as fat.”
Fast Fix: Reach for snacks with a healthier balance of protein, healthy fat and carbs, like nuts and raisins, apple and cheese slices. Snacks like these, says Herschberg, are digested more slowly so they’ll hold you between meals and won’t get stored as fat like excess carbs.