CarboPro has been / was a 'go to' fuel for many endurance athletes in triathlon, cycling & running. Since 2020, though, it's availability has been limited to non-existant. Some athletes are still looking for it, though, and some coaches continue to recommend it. However, there is no need to despair - there are still plenty of comparable and even identical products.
In this article, we'll outline some of the alternatives for you. And since variety and options are never a bad thing once you learn the formulations, you might want to try more than just one. Practice variety so availability of any one specific product doesn't make or break your race.
It is so simple and once you know and understand the product, it is easier to proceed with alternatives with confidence.
The manufacturer's label describes CarboPro as "glucose polymers extracted from . . . corn" One serving is described as 2 scoops which yields 200 calories and, nutritionally, 50g of carbohydrates. In other words, CarboPro is 100% maltodextrin. Now, maltodextrin is typically sourced from either potato or corn so this product is clearly derived from corn. Regardless, it is simply maltodextrin which is simply a long-chain glucose polymer. Whether derived from corn or potato sources, whether packaged by CarboPro or someone else, it breaks down nutritionally into glucose. When ingested, our digestive system cannot differentiate between any branded product. Maltodextrin is maltodextrin and it delivers energy in the form of glucose. The brand on the package simply does not matter.
There was a time when CarboPro was one of the very few sport nutrition products that delivered a carbohydrate rather than simple sugars. Some of the benefits of CarboPro stemmed from what it didn't have as compared to most other sport drinks:
- It had no discernable flavour. You're less likely to tire of the taste of something that has little flavour.
- It wasn't super sweet. Again, you were less likely to tire of the sweetness.
- It had no electrolytes, allowing the user to customize their electrolyte intake. (This, of course, presumes users are able to sort that out on their own).
- For many years, it had no notable competitors. They had this market cornered for a long time.
As more a more sport fuel companies included maltodextrin in their formulas, CarboPro eventually had many competitors and was no longer a unique product.
Once you know what it is, you likely feel more comfortable selecting alternatives. Here are some options for you.
(2023 Update: Previously named "Superfuel", this product has been re-named. The new name, 'Super High-Carb Sport Drink Mix', doesn't quite have the cache of a word like 'superfuel' nor does the name roll off the tongue as easily. What matters is the formula, the contents, and that remains unchanged.)
This is the new clusterdextrin-based fuel from Skratch. Like all other Skratch products, is flavoured with real fruit. We have been using the lemon-lime flavour here at Element and it is a very crisp, light and slightly tart flavour. We're really liking it here. Superfuel has 100mg of sodium for every 100 calories.
This one is probably the easiest one to switch to right now and we have it in stock right now. This one is just maltodextrin with nothing added - no flavours, no electrolytes - just like the CarboPro many of you have used before.
- 454g package contains nine servings* of 200 calories each.
- 907g packages contains 18 servings* of 200 calories each.
* The 200 calorie "serving" size is per the nutrition description on the package. Your own serving size needs may be different.
(2023 Update - This one is no longer available or in stock.)
Fly is a dextrose & maltodextrin blend with 35g of sodium per 120 calorie (2 scoop) serving. Fly also has added potassium in a 4:1 sodium to potassium blend for optimum absorption and balance. Fly is unflavoured.
2023 Update: First Endurance worked on reformulations of it's hydration drinks this past year and they are starting to ship to Canada now so we hope to see them in stock with our Canadian distributor. The new drink mix formula seems to stay true to its predecessors by continuing to include branch chain amino acids (BCAA's) and it is one of the few hydration drinks that does so. The new formula does feature a blend of sugars and maltodextrin for both quick release and slow release carbohydrate sourcing. Not in stock yet with our distributor but we'll keep monitoring its availability.
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