nutrition: jam & water vs. brand energy drink

by James Machin

I’ve been experimenting with different fuels on my ride and after looking at gels, powders and mixes I thought ‘hang on a bloody minute! Most of these drink supplements are boasting 2:1 fructose mixes or other “Fruit” sugar mixes, what would happen if I just mixed jam with 750ml of water?’

If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know I love home cooking and recently I made a massive batch of home grown blackberry jam and decided to see what it was like mixed with water. The Blackberries were passed through my juicer 5-6 times to remove every last seed and liquid from the pulp that made a very thick concentrated blackberry juice which was then added to organic demerara sugar and lemon juice, very simple, very healthy and bloody delicious!


Once mixed with water you don’t lose the flavour of the berries and it has a nice sharp after taste that leaves you refreshed when out on the road, especially in this heat.

So how does it nutritionally stand against the big names?

Homemade Blackberry Isotonic Energy Drink

  • 47g of homemade organic blackberry jam (no seeds or pulp)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Water

Estimated nutritional value

  • Calories: 114kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 30.5g
  • Sugars: 28.2g


HIGH5 Energy Source

  • 47g
  • Water

Listed Nutritional Value

  • Calories: 180 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Sugars: 16.0g


Nectar Sports Fuel Isotonic Concentrate (blackcurrant)

  •  50g
  • Water

Listed Nutritional Value

  • Calories: 120 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Sugars: 20.0g

As you can see there is very little difference between them, the HIGH5 powder is actually a carb drink and thus naturally has a higher carb %age. My jam on the other hand has a higher sugar content although I would argue that it’s all organic, homemade and doesn’t have any preservatives or other chemical enhancers, but like I said they are all pretty close.

On today’s ride and even at 6am the temperature hit 34°c. I used the homemade mix, it was easy to drink and had a nice sweet but sharp taste that didn’t leave a gritty or dry after taste in the mouth. More importantly it was easily digested and didn’t unsettle my stomach or digestive system.

The only down side I can see with using jam is basically it’s a premix that you leave the house with as there really isn’t a viable solution for taking it out on the road and then mixing.

Although this is homemade I looked at other jams and they are very close to mine regarding nutritional values. So I don’t see why others can’t experiment with this!

Get jamming!



Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

3 thoughts

    1. Thanks for posting Chris, one of the biggest marketing coups was convincing everyone that the mighty electrolyte is all important.

      Actually you get all the electrolytes you need from a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice and tgats enough to last you more than a day.

      In fact the food you eat durring the day on a ride, be it a banana, snickers bar or bowl of pasta will more than replenish your electrolyte levels.

  1. Use a little squeezy bottle to bring some on the road. Like those bottles you can buy for bringing travel shower gel and shampoo onboard a plane. Squirt it directly into your gob to use it as a gel, or dilute it with a bottle for isotonic.

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