Stomach troubles derailing your marathon fueling? Then this UCAN review might just make your day with how it works and could solve your dilemma.
Bonus points because I have a UCAN discount if you want to test it out!
As always, we could go deep on some science here, but I’m going to try to simply focus on what the effect will be for you as a runner in using UCAN.
Let’s start with what makes UCAN stand out from all the other running fuels on the market.
It’s their SuperStarch.
Which is the key to preventing the stomach aches many get from too many gels or sports drinks. And it provides a stable energy source, rather than the spikes and crashes of sugar.
A great visual from UCAN shows what happens when you use typical sports drinks vs SuperStarch. That big spike is where most people run into gut issues due to what’s called osmolality.
Here’s a quick rundown of that what means:
- SuperStarch has 0
- SuperStarch is a form of cooked corn starch
- It’s quickly absorbed in the intestine
- Then released slow and steady in to the blood stream
- Eliminates the blood sugar spikes and crashes
- Studies show this increases fat utilization (great for distance runners)
- Eliminates the gut bloating and distress many experience
I don’t look at this SuperStarch as a magic pill to increase performance, but instead as a magic powder to fuel my runs without needing to worry about nearby porta potties!
Imagine on a marathon run if instead of taking 5+ gels that leave you feeling icky and done with sugar, you could keep sipping UCAN and use a UCAN gel or two. Less VOLUME in the stomach is a win during those long runs.
Why do we need sports drinks?
Sports drinks were created because carbohydrate usage increases during workouts then blood sugar starts to crash and the drinks give a quick hit of sugar to raise it back up.
Of course, since then we’ve also added things like salt and minerals, which help to speed up the rehydration of your body due to the level of osmolality — which means that your stomach starts to pull in water to try and dilute it.
A few issues with sports drinks for many:
- That constant sugar flow inhibits fat usage
- High osmolality means the gut start retaining water and we feel bloated
- High osmolality means an increase in gut discomfort for many (runners diarrhea, nausea)
- Often super high in sugar, so drinking them outside of a workout just means sugar is being stored in the body, not put to use
How does UCAN compare to other products?
Bob Seebohar is the expert I did my metabolic efficiency testing with a few years ago and this is his area of expertise…he loves how UCAN works for athletes. Which immediately gets my buy in because he’s so smart and knowledgeable.
But there are of course studies too.
A 2019 study on 3 hour runs, showed that UCAN vs a typical sports drink resulted in less carbohydrate usage and thus more fat burned for fuel. That means steadier energy and running more efficiently.
As distance runners if we can use more fat, then we don’t have to cram so much food in our mouth while running!
UCAN Products Review
As you know, I give you my honest feedback on all products. So my UCAN review is a thumbs up. While I have not been running as long since my ultra training, their electrolyte drink has been in heavy rotation and I’m ready to dive in to using the bars again on my long runs!
Some Denver friends captured this shot and I’m basically jealous I didn’t, so had to use it!
What’s in UCAN?
If there’s no sugar, how is it sweet? Monk fruit extract, stevia extract, allulose and erythritol are the natural sweeteners in UCAN’s products.
Everything has a short ingredient list and it’s all focused on fueling you in a way that doesn’t load you down or overwhelm your stomach with things to breakdown.
How does UCAN taste?
Personally, I’m a fan. I didn’t find it to be too bland or too sweet.
The reason we want a little sweetness is that it encourages us to continue drinking when we might not feel like it. But without being intense or just too much.
- Unflavored option means you can add it to anything you might already like using
- Energy also comes in tropical, cran raz, lemon and cocoa
- Hydrate comes in Lemon-Lime, Watermelon, Kiwi- Strawberry, Berry and Orange Citrus
- Energy Bars in Chocolate Almond Butter, Salted Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Cherry Berry Almond
- Edge is available in Orange and other flavors will be available soon
Which UCAN Product Should You Use?
They’ve created a full line of products that will handle pretty much all of your training and racing needs.
— Fueling during long runs or a pre-run fuel
Especially for those with issues eating during the run this is the winner. You’ll mix with water and now have a steady energy source to drink throughout your run.
And it’s important to note that when I say pre-run, I don’t mean a crazy boost like something with caffeine. I mean it has 28 grams of carbohydrates and some sodium to help get you fueled up.
Because UCAN delivers energy over many hours, rather than sugary sports nutrition that is in and out of your system in an hour, you can “pre-load” with UCAN Energy and not have to fuel during your runs, or as much as before.
UCAN Energy Bar
— Pre-run snack or long run fuel
I’m one of those folks who really likes breaking up bars and eating them on long runs, so this is a win for me. I think during ultra training I realized that need that combo of fat, carbs and protein to keep rolling.
— During run hydration or post run hydration
I’ve already said this is the electrolyte mix I’m using all the time. Especially during the summer!
UCAN Energy + Protein
— Post Run Refuel or Pre-run afternoon snack
For those who have learned my favorite trick of drinking 12 oz of water with protein as soon as I wake up to hydrate and get some immediately fuel for my workouts…this is even better. You’re getting both the protein and the SuperStarch to provide you with the energy for a run.
The protein is available in Whey and Pea protein. Offering roughly 20 grams of protein and 22 grams of carbohydrates, this mix is perfect for runners who need a combo to optimize muscle recovery.
Does UCAN have gels?
They do now! Just released in 2021 they wanted to provide the format that many runners are used to using, but without the gut distress.
–– Long run fuel
70 calories (less than half of most gels) with 19 grams of carbohydrates and 55mg of sodium. They recommend one every 60 minutes. It does contain erythritol as a sweetener, so be sure to know how that effects your digestive system.
Ready to try it??
✅UCAN Discount Code: RUNTOTHEFINISH for 20% off.
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