When most people think of a pre-workout snack, they envision a banana, a smoothie or a protein bar. They get energy-boosting nutrients into your system so you don't tire out mid-sweat session. However, a new fitness trend has taken hold of influencers and regular folks alike on TikTok: eating sour candy before hitting the gym.
The real question is: Are there any actual benefits to eating sour candy as a pre-workout snack?
Just because you see people doing it on the internet doesn't mean it's a good idea. (The "blackout challenge" and the "one chip challenge" are perfect examples of things to avoid.) Although the stakes are much lower when pounding Sour Patch Kids before heading out for a run, it's still worth investigating.
Bustle recently spoke with Kelly Slovin, a sports dietician, to take a closer look at the sour candy trend taking over #FitTok — and her thoughts are encouraging for folks with a penchant for tart treats.
“When thinking about a pre-workout snack that can give you quick energy, you want to look for something that is mostly made of simple carbs,” Slovin told the publication, noting that sour candy fits the description.
Rachel Trotta, a certified personal trainer, agreed that sour candy before exercising has benefits — although she noted it's not necessarily a new method among athletes.
“In terms of sports nutrition, this trend is absolutely valid,” she told Well+Good. "Candies like gummy bears have been longtime staples of distance athletes.”
Simple carbs enter the bloodstream almost immediately, making them a good source of fast energy — unlike protein, fiber and fatty foods that offer a more sustained release of energy. This makes sour candy an ideal (and convenient!) option.
"The reason sour candy in particular has gotten attention is that it is practically fat-free, which means that the sugar can be rapidly converted into glucose for energy without fat (or protein) content to slow it down,” Trotta explained.
Slovin recommended eating a few gummy worms (30 to 90 grams of carbs) between 15 and 30 minutes before exercising. “Since it’s a quick form of energy, it will not last all that long, especially when working out," she noted.
Meanwhile, Alex Larson, a sports dietitian who specializing in endurance, told Well+Good that consuming 20 to 40 grams of carbs between 15 and 45 minutes before a workout is ideal.
(Do with that information what you may; every body is different and has varying needs.)
Eating sour candy mid-workout can also serve as a quick form of energy, especially if you exercise for more than an hour. Once your energy stores deplete, you will start to feel sluggish — and fast carbs can help you finish strong.
“The body receives energy from the carbohydrates in the candy, which can quickly be utilized during the workout,” Slovin explained.
What do you think about the sour candy pre-workout trend? Have you tried it?