Runner's World UK Sports Nutrition Awards for 2022 – runnersworld.com

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From energy gels to protein powders, and everything in between, these are best sports nutrition products to fuel your runs and recovery, as judged by the Runner’s World Lab
Perfecting your nutrition can make a huge difference to your running performance and long-term progress, adding precision to your fuelling and hydration, as well as enhancing your recovery and adaptation between runs. But with hundreds of products on the market, from liquids, chews and gels to energy bars and protein powders, it can be tricky to know where to start.
To guide you through this maze, we enlisted a 200-strong panel – made up of a wide range of runners and experts – to put more than 100 of the best sports nutrition products on the market through their paces. We sent each volunteer a selection of items (without any branding to eliminate bias) to trial over a four-week period.
They judged the products on flavour, aroma, texture, ease of use, nutritional value and, of course, how they performed in practice. Their feedback was analysed by the Runner’s World Lab team and overall scores were awarded.
Scroll on to discover our winners for 2022…

Score: 9/10

Per serving: 125 cals; 20g protein; 4g carbs; 2.6g fat; suitable for vegetarians
With a milkshake-like texture, Hermosa’s protein powder won plenty of plaudits for its taste, ease of use and smooth, creamy texture. Per 30g serving, the chocolate powder contains 20g of muscle-rebuilding, high-quality whey protein, sourced from grass-fed cows – and the taste was compared to Cadbury Dairy Milk. One tester added that they ‘absolutely loved the product’, and it was great for someone new to the world of protein powders.
Score: 8.5/10
Per serving: 110 cals; 20g protein; 5g carbs; 1.5g fat; suitable for vegetarians

This shake went down smoothly, with testers praising its ‘natural, subtle, chocolatey taste’ and ‘rich, malty aspect reminiscent of malted drinking chocolate’. As a result, it was easy to drink post-workout, and the testers reported that the protein hit helped aid muscle recovery.
Score: 7.1/10
Per serving: 226 cals; 13.1g protein; 39.3g carbs; 0.3g fat; suitable for vegetarians
According to our testers, Vita gets the berry taste of its super shake just right: ‘The sweetness is well-balanced with the other flavours and [is] a refreshing drink post-exercise.’ There’s 23g of protein when mixed with milk, plus a big hit of carbs and electrolytes to top up your glycogen stores and help you rehydrate, too.
The best plant-based protein powders
Score: 8.9/10

Per serving: 182 cals; 25g protein; 18.6g carbs; 0.5g fat; suitable for vegans
Designed to help muscle repair following a period of intense activity, Ote’s soya protein provides 25g of the macronutrient in one easy-to-mix sachet. The shake is lactose- and gluten-free, and the chocolate flavour mixes well with both water and milk. A bonus is that it contributes towards replacing electrolytes and lost carbs, aiding your post-run recovery.
Score: 8.2/10
Per serving: 145 cals; 30g protein; 1.7g carbs; 2.4g fat; suitable for vegans
A smooth texture and good blending made this chocolate-hazelnut powder, made from an organic blend of pea, brown rice and pumpkin seed protein, a hit. ‘A good product for those who are new to a plant-based diet, this had a pleasant taste without the chalky aftertaste sometimes associated with similar products,’ one tester noted.
Score: 7.4/10
Per serving: 145 cals; 20g protein; 15g carbs; 2g fat; suitable for vegans

This raw cacao and banana-flavoured powder delivers 20g of plant-based protein per serving. Testers liked its light texture and how easy it was to mix into smoothies. Unlike many protein powders, one serving also packs a hefty hit of carbs to restore glycogen stores. ‘The nutritional make-up of the product was excellent so it’s great for post-workout recovery,’ a tester said.

Score: 8.5/10
Per serving: 8 cals; 0.6g carbs; 0.8g salt

Designed to be consumed before and during exercise, these tablets keep you hydrated by providing 300mg of electrolytes. As the tablets are contained in a tube, testers felt they were easy to transport and use – simply pop a tablet into your water bottle when required. The grapefruit flavour was praised as being ‘fruity, a little acidic and not very sweet or sickly’.

Score: 7.9/10
Per serving: 20 cals; 5g carbs; 350mg sodium; 240mg potassium; 9mg magnesium
The first thing to note is the packaging – this powder comes in single servings, so there are no plastic tubes and very little waste, which testers gave a big thumbs up. The all-natural golden apricot and sage flavour was compared to iced tea by one, while the coconut water taste also proved popular, giving the drink a ‘slightly tropical edge’.
Score: 7.2/10
Per serving: 10 cals; 3g carbs; 320mg sodium; 55mg potassium

The tri-berry flavour tested was said to be ‘mild’ with a ‘rich, tangy berry aroma’. Users found it hydrating during exercise, and said that it was both ‘easy to use [and] drink’. One tester was a big fan of the fact that the tabs are caffeine-free, which meant ‘no buzz after drinking – a positive’, though others who enjoy a caffeine boost before or during their run may be less impressed.

Score: 8.4/10
Per tab: 10 cals; 1.2g carbs; 319mg sodium; 115mg potassium; 56mg magnesium
Our testers found that these orange-flavoured tablets had a refreshing citrus taste and dissolved rapidly in water with no powdery residue, resulting in a ‘light and airy texture’ that was ‘pleasing to drink’. In terms of performance, it was immediately hydrating, with one user saying, ‘I felt energised after drinking it.’
Score: 7.7/10
Per serving: 131 cals; 33g carbs; 1g salt; 300mg potassium; 56.5mg magnesium

Designed for exercise lasting over three hours, Iso+ is perfect for marathons or ultras. Testers loved that the powder dissolved quickly and easily. The lemon flavour was described as ‘sharp – enough to make your mouth pucker’, while not being too sickly, and the consistency wasn’t too heavy – ideal when you’re on the move.

Score: 8.2/10
Per serving: 8.6 cals; 0.58g carbs; 0.26g sodium; 0.66g salt; 22mg potassium

Pop one of these tablets into your water before or during your training and it’ll dissolve quickly. The result? A light, fresh orange flavour that was said to be ‘gentle on the stomach’, ‘delicious’, ‘balanced’ and ‘tangy’. One tester found it particularly beneficial after an intense workout, saying that it made them feel hydrated throughout the day.
Score: 8.7/10
Per serving: 209 cals; 14g carbs; 20g protein; 9.3g fat

One bar provides enough protein to give your battered muscles the building blocks they need to kick-start the repair process. Testers noted it was easy to digest and tasted like a ‘white chocolate Snickers’ without the sweetness being overpowering. They also found it filling, so they weren’t searching out a sugary snack soon after eating.

Score: 7.5/10
Per serving: 192 cals; 14g carbs; 20g protein; 6.7g fat

Not only does this bar contain 20g of protein and a 14g top-up of carbs, there’s a blend of nine vitamins to kick-start your post-run recovery. Each bar has less than half a teaspoon of sugar, too – but that doesn’t take away from the taste. If anything, refuelling will feel like a reward. Our testers praised the chocolate and caramel flavour tested for its ‘indulgent taste’.

Score: 7.5/10
Per serving: 209 cals; 14g carbs; 20g protein; 9.3g fat

One bar provides enough protein to give your battered muscles the building blocks they need to kick-start the repair process. Testers noted it was easy to digest and tasted like a ‘white chocolate Snickers’ without the sweetness being overpowering. They also found it filling, so they weren’t searching out a sugary snack soon after eating.
Score: 8.3/10
Per serving: 310 cals; 37.2g carbs; 10.3g protein; 14g fat; gluten-free; suitable for vegans

Veloforte’s bars proved particularly popular with our testers, thanks to their delicious all-natural ingredients. The Mocha is a vegan refuelling bar balanced towards providing and restoring energy, with its 4:1 carbs to protein ratio. Made with hazelnuts, cocoa and coffee, the taste was praised universally, with comments including: ‘it has a soft and dense texture with little pockets of crunchy [nuts]’.

Score: 8.2/10
Per serving: 214 cals; 26.8g carbs; 11.6g protein; 7g fat; gluten-free; suitable for vegetarians

This flapjack-like bar provides enough recovery-boosting protein and carbs to replenish fuel stores post-run, or top up an hour or so before you set off. The mint chocolate flavour tasted ‘fresh, delicious and not too strong’, and one tester compared the aroma with an Aero Peppermint. It’s versatile, too – you can use it for different purposes throughout the day, depending on what you need.

Score: 8.2/10
Per serving: 189 cals; 27.6g carbs; 10.2g protein; 3.7g fat; gluten-free; suitable for vegans
Packed with carbs, oats and peanuts, this bar boosts your energy to get you through a long run. It’s also a good choice for post-run refuelling, with more than 10g of protein to help repair your muscles and get them on the road to recovery. The texture delighted one user, who said it had ‘a nice crunch like a biscuit’. And it snaps easily into three sections – handy if you want to have a chunk pre- run and save the rest for later.

When you’re running for a long period of time, aim to consume between 40g and 90g of carbs an hour, to keep your body supplied with energy and avoid hitting the wall. Gels and chews deliver those crucial carbs in differing amounts, so take note of the grams of carbs per product.
Score: 8.5/10
Per serving: 88 cals; 22g carbs; 0.3g protein; <0.5g fat

Aptonia’s energy gels came out on top for our testers, thanks largely to their ‘long-lasting effect’ and ‘impressive endurance’, meaning they didn’t need as many to remain fuelled. The gels worked quickly, left users feeling satisfied and were high- performing, delivering a substantial, quickly digested hit of carbs when needed most. And, as with all products from Decathlon, which always manages to deliver high performance at excellent value, the price is definitely a plus point.

Score: 8.4/10
Per serving: 100 cals; 25g carbs; 50mg salt; suitable for vegans
Maurten is favoured by many elites, including the great Eliud Kipchoge, so it’s no surprise it scored highly with testers. The first thing to note, aside from the hefty 25g of carbs, is that it’s a thicker consistency than most gels. Don’t let that put you off, though – it’s water-based, so it melts in your mouth. One tester was particularly enamoured by the neutral flavour, saying, ‘The mild taste suited me, the formula didn’t upset my sensitive stomach and it worked well as a booster on my longer runs.’
Score: 7.2/10
Per serving: 190 cals; 46g carbs; suitable for vegans

SiS’s Beta Energy Chew Bar is a small jelly bar that melts in your mouth, according to testers. The consistency is like a firm, set jelly, which received mixed reviews, but the sweet taste and aroma was welcomed by our testers, as was the boost of carbs – a total hit of 46g split into distinct chunks, so you can drip-feed your system as needed – which testers said was ‘uplifting’. A mighty boost of carbs and energy that’s easily broken down into manageable bites.

Score: 7.2/100
Per serving: 82 cals; 20.5g carbs; 11.2mg sodium; 0.79mg magnesium; gluten- free; suitable for vegans

These gels are made with real fruit concentrates, with the blackcurrant flavour reminding our testers of Ribena. Always a good thing. The packaging is easy to open while on the run, and gives a good energy boost via the 20g carbs hit, as well as being ‘super hydrating’ – ideal on long runs when you don’t want to carry water. Another positive was its light, almost runny texture, making it easy to swallow while running.

Score: 8/10
Per serving: 167 cals; 41.5g carbs; 95mg sodium; 50mg potassium; gluten-free; suitable for vegans

Not a fan of gels? You might consider these all-natural energy chews as your race running fuel in future – they’re just like chewy sweets. Just pop them in your mouth one at a time, then suck or chew on them. Unlike many gels, they aren’t sticky either. The lemon and cool mint flavour was praised by our testers for being ‘refreshing and zingy’, and for delivering a ‘lovely burst of energy’ when needed.

Score: 7.9/10
Per serving: 158 cals; 40g carbs; 300mg sodium; suitable for vegetarians and vegans

Providing a huge 40g of carbs and a slow, consistent release of energy, Science in Sport’s Beta Fuel gels went over well with our testers. One said that the lemon flavour was ‘sweet and punchy like a Sprite – the flavour is delicious’. The gel’s texture was said to be easy to consume and digest on the move, so it was gentle on the stomach – exactly what you want when you’re in the middle of a workout, one tester commented.

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