Loving the BITE: Halloween-Candy-Stock-Up….Loving the Bite Style

licoricefuel (4)

Dress Up like a Cartoon Character and Head to the Neighbors.

For over 5000 years, there’s been a unique ingredient, known to the Chinese as a endurance-improving, stamina-enhancing, healing herb.  Believe it or not, it’s widely available to you.  And this month, you may even score some for free.  If…

If your willing to dress up, go door to door, and humbly ask your neighbors to fill your bucket (sack, pillow case, etc.) with candy.  It’s almost Halloween, so cross your fingers and hope your neighbors bought some all-natural licorice.  Right.

This month, I thought I’d spotlight this popular candy, and discuss how it can actually be used as a good fuel option on the bike.  I was turned onto it by an awesome pro mountain bike client a few years back.  She loved using it and never had any issues with it, stomach or otherwise.  Here’s my take on it, my addition, and some warnings about the potential side effects of this yummy treat and natural herb.

Recipe of the week: Salted Natural Licorice Bites for Cycling Fuel


  • 10 piece bite-size licorice (all-natural, containing licorice extract) (~27 grams)
  • ~1/12 tsp sea salt (~0.5 grams)


  1. Chop licorice bites in half (this gives the salt something to stick to).
  2. Roll bites in salt or place in baggie and shake well with salt to coat.
  3. Place in small baggie for travel.
  4. Eat as fuel for pre-training, during training, or with an added protein source, recovery.
  5. Limit to 2 servings (20 pieces) on any one ride.

Makes 1 serving.  Nutrition information: Approx. 87 calories, 20 grams carbs, 0 grams fat, 12 gm sugar, 200 mg sodium.

licoricefuel (1)Comments:

Last month, it was September and we took our typical healthy fuel route with a natural source: Salted Dates.  This month, it’s October.  Halloween. Time to talk candy, right?  While in general I reserve candy as an occasional treat, and steer any clients looking to lose fat towards very high percentage cocoa for most treats,  sometimes you can “fudge.”  Or, in this case, you can “licorice.”

There’s a lot to all-natural licorice.  So much so, I hesitated in presenting it as a fuel option in this blog  (natural herbs come with great benefits, but also some side effects).  But, since I know athletes who already use it, I thought I present it:

  • Natural licorice extract, or specifically the natural Glycyrrhizic acid component within it,  can soothe your stomach…it’s been widely used and prescribed by natural healers for heart-burn, ulcers, and overall sour stomach-hole story.  First, there’s some great properties that can have positive effects on the bike:
  • Natural licorice extract can break up mucus in the respiratory system (perfect for those days when you feel congested while trying to get enough oxygen to pedal effectively) and reduce respiratory bacteria
  • Natural licorice root/extract can encourage improved adrenal gland function, possibly reducing chronic fatigue
  • Natural licorice candy is a great source of carbohydrates (2 grams per bite) from molasses with a small amount of protein – great fuel during the ride.  Molasses is a great carb option that contains many minerals including iron.  Paired with a sports drink or other fuel option, it can help you achieve 60 grams carbs per hour,
  • When salted, our natural licorice bites can provide 50% of my recommend sodium intake per hour when riding, or 200 mg sodium
  • Natural licorice candy provides an alternative to many “engineered” fuel options that use questionable ingredients and refined sugars

Sounds great, right? Well I agree. However, it’s not for everyone and comes with some side effects, especially in individuals over 40 years:

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