I am a distance cyclist and usually consume 250 to 300 calories per hour while cycling (and burn around 1,100 calories an hour). The food products I take with me on rides have to be compact and taste good. I also like to have a bit of variety in my food and therefore I use products from several different companies. A few years ago Jelly Belly, the world-famous manufacturer of jelly beans, came out with Jelly Belly Sport Beans, a nutritional product for athletes. When the product was introduced it contained high fructose corn syrup so I didn’t even try it. However, once Jelly Belly switched to all natural ingredients I tried them out and am glad I did! While Jelly Belly Sport Beans will never be the only carbohydrate product I consume, I now take a package with me on just about every ride.
If you have never tried Jelly Belly Sport Beans then you are missing a real treat! I rotate through a dozen or so carbohydrate products while cycling (not all at the same time), and I can tell you that Jelly Belly Sport Beans have the most robust flavor of any of the products I use.
Jelly Belly Sport Beans come in six flavors (Orange, Berry, Lemon Lime, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Cherry). Two of the flavors (Watermelon and Cherry) contain caffeine. Anytime I review nutritional products I like to list the ingredients, and since the Cherry flavor is my favorite I’ll give you the ingredients list for it: Evaporated cane juice, tapioca syrup, and cherry juice from concentrate. It also contains 2% or less of the following ingredients: natural flavor, thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacinamide (vitamin B3), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid, citrus pectin, potassium citrate, sodium citrate, sodium lactate, black carrot (color), black currant (color), grape skin extract (color), apple (color), purple carrot (color), hibiscus (color), beeswax, carnauba wax, confectioner’s glaze, salt, and caffeine.
Each one-ounce package of Jelly Belly Sport Beans has 100 calories. Every serving also provides 25 grams of carbohydrates, 80mg of sodium, 40mg of potassium, along with a small dose of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C. This product is also Certified Kosher (Orthodox Union).
At one time Jelly Belly Sport Beans were made with corn syrup, but that has been replaced with evaporated cane juice. For me this is a big deal—I refuse to buy any product that contains high fructose corn syrup. Jelly Belly has also switched to all natural ingredients for the coloring used in these beans. These beans are coated with beeswax and carnauba wax. You might think these waxes are just for making with beans shine (which they do), but the advantage is that your fingers will not get sticky while eating these beans even on a hot day (due to the high melting point of carnauba wax).
The only thing I do not like about Jelly Belly Sport Beans is the packaging—they are very difficult to open while on the bike. These packages come with a resealable top and to me this is totally unnecessary since they only contain 100 calories per package.
Jelly Belly Sport Beans retail for around $1.25 per package, but you can usually save a lot of money by buying them in bulk (24 packages). If your local bike shop does not give you a discount for buying in quantity then you should shop for them on Amazon.com.