Dietitian versus a "nutritionist," Gatorade Vs. Nuun Vs. Roctane, and Is rice "unclean"?

Great question via email from an athlete that I wanted to share!

The athlete said:

“For hydration , do you recommend gatorade or nuun?
Also, I went with a nutritionist last week , and she told me all the rice is not clean, I was confused since I started to eat it. She recommend me quinoa”


It depends, gatorade has a little bit of carbs which would be good for providing you some fuel for those 1.5 hour moderate intensity workouts. However it is much lower in sodium by volume than most drinks targeted towards endurance athletes which can be an issue if you are a heavy sweater or training in a very hot environment. Now the nuun has more sodium but lacks the carbohydrates. So if it is hot outside you could pair that with another source of carbs, such as gu chews or a bar to meet your carb needs. You can also opt for a different drink mix such as Gu Roctane which contains ample sodium & carbohydrates as well as some BCAA’s which are great for those long, hard efforts.

Also, do you mind me asking if this nutritionist was a dietitian? I ask because nutritionist is not a regulated title in most countries/states. In a lot of cases (but not all), “nutritionists” only complete a short course online course (which is rarely focused on athletes) or have no nutrition specific education at all. On the other hand, to become a dietitian an individual must complete a 4 year Bachelor or Masters Degree in Dietetics and a dietetic internship (which are very competitive and the acceptance rate is <50%), then they have to pass the board exam and do continuing education in order to maintain that license.

And while yes, rice can contain arsenic (which is why I presume she said it is unclean) this is not a huge issue unless you are consuming it as your primary source of carbohydrates. If you are concerned, you can look for Basmati rice sourced from California, Pakistan and India or Jasmine rice from Thailand as these have been shown to have the lowest levels of inorganic arsenic. Quinoa, millet and grits can also be used as substitutes for rice, and in general I encourage athletes to change up their sources of carbohydrate. Not only does this mean you will be getting a wider variety of nutrients, but it also helps you to not get bored from eating the same things all the time.

To be clear there are many unhealthy substances in “healthy” foods as a result of pollution and you would drive yourself mad trying to eliminate them all. So it is best to be informed, but not fixate on ensuring everything you eat is perfectly “clean.” Rather, keep your focus on including a variety of foods in your diet and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods :slight_smile:


Wow, this is an A+ post!

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Great advice Lacey.
While your on the subject is it better that a recovery drink contain fructose or is it sucrose that’s half fructose?
One more question, what’s your thoughts on maltodextrin as I’ve read somewhere (might of been on the tailwind website) that it was recommended not to use it for endurance drinks and it might be bad for you.

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Wow! a trove of good info. Thank you

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Outstanding responses @Lacey_Rivette . Fascat is fortunate to have you on staff!


@Lacey_Rivette Top notch post. Thank you for all the info Lacey.
Gonna take the oportunity to ask you what do you feel about Torq products? Namely the gels and the energy drink…

Energy Drink

Energy Gel

This is actually something I plan to talk about in my next nutrition video which will be on fueling for recovery.

It depends, because recovery drinks are not always necessary. If you are finishing a really hard ride (we are talking 3+ hours or say 250+ TSS) that completely depletes your glycogen stores then yes a recovery drink is a good choice as you will need to consume a large amount of carbs within the first few hours. Based on current research the recommendations are 1.2g per kg of carbs per hour for 2-4 hours. That amount of carbs can exceed 60g per hour depending on your body weight (e.g. for a 175lb athlete that is ~80g of carbs). If you were to consume all of those carbs from glucose you’d likely end up with a stomach ache as the transporters in your small intestine that absorb glucose can only handle ~60g per hour. The transporter for fructose can absorb ~30g per hour. Thus, if you need more that 60g per hour you will want about a 2:1 ratio of glucose to fructose. Good news is that nearly all recovery drink mixes these days contain that ratio.

For reference, sucrose (table sugar) is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Here is a graphic about that 2:1 ratio too that you may find helpful:

Now in reference to maltodextrin… It is basically a chain of glucose molecules linked together (the amount in each chain varies). This composition makes it have a lower osmolality, which is good for athletes who need to fuel long, hard workouts.

Now when I say that, most athletes think I am speaking in jibberish ha. So to explain osmolality: consider you have 2- 16 oz bottles of water that have 30g of carbs mixed in, one contains glucose (so there will be 30 of those little molecules floating in the bottle) and the other has maltodextrin . Because maltodextrin is a chain of glucose, there will be less maltodextrin molecules in second bottle… thus it will have a lower osmolality.

Why does osmolality matter? Because the lower the osmolality of a drink, the faster it will empty from your stomach to your small intestine, be absorbed into your bloodstream and then delivered to your working muscles so you can keep riding fast!

Here is a visual representation of osmolality that may help you grasp that nerdy junk I just said (lower osmolality to the left):

Now a lot of people dog on maltodextrin because it is so rapidly absorbed. This is not good for the average person who is eating foods while sitting at their desk working because it can cause a rapid rise in insulin, blood sugar spikes and ultimately a sugar crash… all things that can contribute to metabolic syndrome and other health conditions like diabetes… However as just noted above, this rapid absorption is crucial for endurance athletes in order to maintain optimal performance. If an athlete choose fuel sources that are absorbed slower, then they risk depleting their glycogen stores quicker than their competitor and thus, losing a race because they cannot maintain their power output due to depleted energy stores.

Also want to note that in individuals with IBS and even a lot of females, high amounts of maltodextrin can cause stomach discomfort. Which is just one of the mannnny reasons I encourage athletes to test their fueling strategy during training and have it nailed down so that they don’t experience gut rot or bonking on race day.


Hey Bruno!

Overall the Torq products are good choice (they use a combo of fructose and maltodextrin which is ideal as I just noted above :wink:). My only thing is that most of their gels only contain about 50mg of sodium, so if you are going for a very long time in the heat or if you are naturally a salty sweater, its unlikely that you could meet the sodium intake you need to offset how much you are losing. They also do not contain the BCAA’s like Gu’s roctane line does which research shows can help to blunt fatigue.


Thx for the answer @Lacey_Rivette

@Lacey_Rivette So i was browsing through the Gu website…
Quick question, since Gu Roctane has carbs, sodium and BCAA’s all mixed up, how does one properly fuel up on a ride? Exclusively by using the Roctane Energy Drink? Or do i mix it up with the Roctane Gels/Chews?
As in, 1 chew serving, then 45 mins in, 1 chew gel, and in between i just sip the energy drink? Or just take the energy drink and use that for the whole duration of the ride?

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Thank you so much Lacey for the detailed explanation, that was really good.
I will look forward to your post recovery video and I notice that with recovery drinks there’s less to choose from for vegans, especially those without soya. Ironically there’s plenty of plant based protein and energy drinks to choose from and home made recovery drinks might be the alternative answer.
Thanks again.

Hi - where do we find your videos? I’d like to take a look at previous ones - thanks!

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@brunocfeijao If you watch my most recent video, I cover this:

But to summarize, it depends on how many carbs you can tolerate per hour and how hard/long you are going.

A serving of the roctane is 60g of carbs, so if you are doing 3-4 hours of endurance you could use just that.

If you are going hard, say 3-4 hr group ride you could do a bottle of roctane + 1/2 a bottle of plan water and 1/2 a pack of chews or 1 Gu gel each hour. That will put you at about 80g per hour.

Aim to drink ~1/4 of the bottle every 15 minutes and then at the 45 min mark of each hour, do the chews or gel. Note: If doing endurance then in the first hour you could do just a pack of chews at the 30 & 45 min mark and then start the Roctane at the end of the first hour. :slight_smile:


Thank you for that detailed explanation. Extremely valuable info.
Thx a lot Lacey.

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Love that answer, you are really help us. In the past I just was thinking that if I wanted ride fast I has to ride more and more , now I Know that food, rest, strenght,yoga,meditation and coaching IT is very important.


This is great info, Lacey. Thank you so much! Do you find that age plays a role in nutrition mix or frequency in the 2+ hour efforts?