clif shot bloks

Gaining in popularity, energy chews produce less gooey mess and offer better portion control, compared to energy gels. And really, they are just plain fun to eat!

Here are the best energy chews for cyclists, runners, and all endurance athletes.

Best Overall Energy Chews

The best energy chews are the ones that premiered with a margarita flavor – Clif Bloks.

The Clif Bloks have a good ingredients list, are available in a wide variety of flavors, and those flavors are delicious. You can get them with caffeine if you want (black cherry has 50 mg), or with a triple dose of sodium (the aforementioned margarita flavor).

The stick-shaped packaging is very nice. It’s easy to tear the corner and squeeze the chews into your mouth, one at a time.

Learn more about Clif Shot Bloks at the Clif Bar website, or read my full review here.

Ready to buy? It’s available on Amazon.

Best Tasting Energy Chews

Creating a delicious energy chew requires mastering both the flavor and the texture. And GU Chews (formerly GU Chomps) did it.

Really, the watermelon flavor did it for me! It’s sooooo good. But, the other flavors are good, too. Especially blueberry pomegranate.

And GU has improved their packaging at least two times since they first released energy chews. So they get a few bonus points for that.

But honestly, I could eat energy chews all day. Best taste is a toss up between GU, Clif, Skratch Labs, ProBar Bolt, and Honey Stinger.

Learn more about GU Chews at the GU Energy website, or read my full review here.

Best for Long-Distance Events

You know how a can of Coca Cola just hits the spot sometimes when nothing else can?

Well, a pouch of cola-flavored Powerbar Powergel Shots is kinda like that. (And much easier to carry with you.)

powerbar gel blasts

They are absolutely delicious, and the cola flavor packs in 75 mg caffeine per pouch. I like to always have a pouch of these available in reserve if I’m putting in some big miles.

Also available in raspberry and orange flavors without caffeine.

(Note that these were formerly named “PowerBar Gel Blasts” and I prefer that name.)

Learn more about Powergel Shots at the Powerbar website, or read my full review here.

Ready to buy? It’s available on Amazon.

Best Electrolyte Replenishment

Most energy chews are all about the sugar. Some offer extra sodium. But only SaltStick Fastchews feature a scientifically-derived, proprietary high-performance formulation that provides a balanced supply of bioavailable sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The formulation mirrors the electrolyte profile lost in sweat, in a form and quantity the body can absorb.

Its non-GMO ingredients are all natural, gluten-free, vegetarian, and without artificial sweeteners or colors.

Learn more about SaltStick Fastchews at the SaltStick website.

Ready to buy? It’s available on Amazon.

Best Nutrition (Most Natural Ingredients)

Creating sports supplements that are basically gummy candy seems tough to do if you keep the ingredients natural. But Skratch Labs Energy Chews seem to have done it.

Just check out the ingredients in the Matcha Green Tea & Lemon flavor:

Tapioca Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Pectin, Lemon Powder, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Sea Salt, Matcha Green Tea.

*Other flavors have the same ingredients, with exception of the green tea.

Skratch Labs is just the bare essentials, so they nudged Honey Stinger out of their top spot here. (Honey Stinger chews contain carnauba wax.)

Learn more about Skratch Labs Energy Chews at the Skratch Labs website.

Ready to buy? It’s available on Amazon.

Honorable Mentions

These energy chews didn’t make it into the top rankings, but they’re still interesting.

BEET’Ums
Created by PureClean Performance, BEET’Ums are beet-based chews. The first ingredient is fermented beet juice powder! But here’s the catch – you don’t use these like regular energy chews. Instead, you take one per day, 30-60 minutes before exercise. They’re a source of dietary nitrates, which have been shown to boost athletic performance by converting to nitric oxide in the body, which allows you to work at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before fatiguing.
purecleanperformance.com

Bonk Breaker Chews
These are good chews but the selection is limited (only two flavors).
bonkbreaker.com

Gatorade Prime Energy Chews
Affordable, tasty, easy to find at Walmart. But the first ingredient is corn syrup. These also contain artificial flavors and colors.
gatorade.com.

Honey Stinger Energy Chews
Formulated specifically for health-conscious athletes, these bite-sized chews provide natural energy from honey, and they’re organic. Available in multiple flavors, some with caffeine and some without. They’re a great choice. Also available as “Performance Chews” which contain extra electrolytes and 75mg of caffeine to help you push harder and go farther.
honeystinger.com

Jelly Belly Sport Beans
Though I’m a fan of regular Jelly Bellys, I consider these a novelty item. They’re just regular jelly beans (sugar and corn syrup) with added electrolytes. They are too chewy to eat while riding, and they’re more likely to stick to your teeth. Not to mention, too easy to drop on the ground or spill out into your jersey pocket. And you lose out on the best part of Jelly Belly – the crazy flavors.
jellybelly.com.

ProBar Bolt Chews
Organic energy chews with electrolytes, B vitamins, and carbohydrates for quick energy, they provide fast fuel-ups that last. Some flavors are caffeinated for that extra BOLT when you need it most. Good consistency. Excellent in cold weather.
theprobar.com

Science in Sport Beta Fuel Energy Chew
The Beta Fuel Dual Source Energy Chews deliver scientifically superior fuel (a 1:0.8 ratio of glucose to fructose) in unique and satisfying chews. Unfortunately I have not yet tested these myself.
scienceinsport.com.

How to Choose a Good Energy Chew That’s Right for You

This is what you should consider when picking out an energy chew:

Ability to digest it

As with energy gels, you need to find something that agrees with your digestive system. If it causes you any gastric distress or upset stomach, it’s going to ruin your ride or race.

Similarly, always read the ingredients list to be sure it is free of allergens.

Does it stick to your teeth?

Energy chews will go down easy, but they can be sticky and messy. These things can make your hands sticky, and worse, they can stick to your teeth. If that happens, it’s really annoying. Not something you want to deal with when biking.

So find ones that don’t make your hands sticky, or better yet, ones with packaging that doesn’t require you to touch them!

Some have better consistencies in terms of being less likely to stick to your teeth.

Taste / Flavor / Texture / Enjoyment

If you’re like me, you might justify using energy chews because they’re less messy and offer easy portion control, but the real reason is the pleasure you get from eating them!

Definitely choose an energy chew that you enjoy eating. And make sure there are plenty of different flavors available. This way you have options and you’re less likely to get sick of it because you ate the exact same flavor every single day of the week. It can also be nice to switch things up during-ride if you’re doing really long endurance events.

As usual, you want to make sure that you like it during exercise. Your palate is often more sensitive during exercise, so light, subtle flavors at rest can be potent and rather strong during your rides and races.

Quality of ingredients

All else being equal, I prefer natural ingredients in my energy chews. Natural sweeteners, natural flavors, natural colors, etc. Non-GMO if possible. Organic if possible.

And if I can avoid oils and waxes, even better.

Calories

The calorie content is important, because you need the chews to work for whatever type of workouts or events you are doing.

Fortunately, most chews come in pouches that provide about the same number of calories as an energy bar would. And you have the ability to consume as many or as few as you would like at any given time.

Price

Expect to pay around $2 per pouch for energy chews. Sometimes more. So the cost is going to add up.

Remember, the calorie content is similar to that of an energy bar, so the price will reflect that. Energy chews will certainly be more expensive than a single-serving energy gel.

Why trust Coach Levi?

I’ve been using energy chews since they were invented. And I’ve been pretty much addicted to gummy candy since I was a little kid. (I still eat gummy bears and peach rings as my post-race guilty pleasure.) So I’m a bit of a connoisseur in this area!

Unlike some “reviewers” that create these lists, I’m actually out there breaking a sweat and burning calories to where I really need to use energy gels and energy chews. And I’m taste testing each and every flavor.

I’m also a certified nutrition coach (Precision Nutrition Level 1) so I like to combine my practical experience with scientific evidence.

Crafting Your Own Sports Nutrition Plan

A proper fueling strategy is more than choosing the best energy chew. You need to eat properly before your rides and during your rides. And stay hydrated.

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