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Verdict: 
Not quite the key to the 'Ultimate Sports Drink', but as a tool for drink customisation it's useful
Weight: 
84g
Plus for Nuun
6 10

Plus for Nuun, also known as Nuun Plus (I'll go with 'Plus' from now on), is an 'additional product', designed to bulk up the content of your Nuun Active drink (tested previously). I like the theory and execution, but it's not quite as easy as it looks. I'll explain...

Theoretically, Plus could be used on its own. Each two-tablet serving contains 50mg of sodium, 100mg potassium, 50mg calcium and 50mg magnesium, and 10g of carbohydrates in a flavourless – and yes, it is 99.9% flavourless rather than a sour approximation – solution. That helps you to meet your electrolyte and some of your carbohydrate needs.

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It's a drink on its own, but Nuun intends you to use it in tandem with one flavoured Active tablet within a 475ml serving. That gives you a claimed total of 410mg of sodium, 201mg potassium, 75mg magnesium, 63mg calcium, and 11g of carbohydrates from a blend of dextrose and sucrose.

Each Plus container gives you 12 tabs, which equates to six servings. Annoyingly, this doesn't match up to the 10 tabs you get in a container of Nuun Active (you'll always be left with one serving of Plus). Wouldn't it make sense to make the Active two tabs bigger and have a neatly fitting double pack with the Plus? I digress.

Nuun claims that the Plus used with the Active is the 'Ultimate Sports Drink', but I'm not so sure. With three tablets going into each bottle, you'd have thought it could have managed to fit more carbohydrates in so it wouldn't be necessary to consume an extra 15-20g carbohydrates per hour from food or gels, or double the intake of Plus to reach your recommended carb intake.

It's here when things get slightly complicated, because while Nuun recommends 30g, 30-60g, 60-90g and up to 90g carbohydrate per hour of exercise for 1-2, 2-3, 3-4 and 4+ hours of exercise, the 'Ultimate Sports Drink' can only fuel you, best case scenario, for that need if you stick four Plus tablets in. And, even then, Nuun points out that you'll need to train yourself to consume the high 60-90g and 90g+ per hour intakes too. I don't doubt it.

If you're confused – and I was at first – the usage guidelines that explain all this in a table can be found on the official page (in fluid ounces, naturally...) here.

The fact is, there's a lot of estimation and variances at play here, making exact individual dosings along with other food intake rather difficult to nail down. That's not Nuun's fault necessarily – we're all different and have different needs – but you're left to stick with the recommended dosings, and experiment accordingly with your other food. In fact, Nuun states you should experiment to find the right dose for you in a given scenario, so with that in mind I'm left to my own experiences.

On the road, there's no doubt the Plus tabs are effective (used on their own or in tandem with the Nuun Active base product). The extra salt is especially useful if you're running hot or if the conditions are warm, while the carbohydrates do keep your motor running for a little longer, especially if you max out the serving to four Plus tablets (as Nuun say you can), although you definitely don't want to neglect other food to get your carbohydrate intake up unless you're only after an extra 30 or so minutes of riding time, in which case the Plus should plaster the gap.

> Read more road.cc reviews of energy and recovery drinks here

What may sway you, though, is the cost. The Plus tabs cost the same as the Active tabs at £6.99 per tube, working out at £1.17 per serving (double this if you max out the dosings to four Plus tablets), in addition to the 70p per serving of Active – a total of £1.87 (or £3.04) per serving. Ouch. Especially including the fact that you'll probably need to spend even more on other food too for a longer ride.

The Plus tabs are a great idea for customising your ride nutrition to conditions, duration and intensity, and a very effective way of getting additional electrolytes and (some) carbohydrates into your system. But be warned: if you stick to two tablets as a recommended dose it's not even close to an all-in-one solution for calorie intake, and it's not cheap either if you max it out to the four Plus tablets in addition to the one Energy tab.

Verdict

Not quite the key to the 'Ultimate Sports Drink', but as a tool for drink customisation it's useful

road.cc test report

Make and model: Plus for Nuun

Size tested: 6 Servings 66g

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Nuun says: "You push yourself - Plus for Nuun fuels you faster; a unique blend of performance carbohydrates and electrolytes hydrate the body quickly and delivers fast energy."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Nuun says:

"During intense and endurance exercise it can be challenging for your body to absorb nutrients as quickly as you lose them. Plus for Nuun, when added to Nuun Active, creates the ultimate sports drink."

- Performance blend of fast absorbing carbohydrates (dextrose + sucrose) and electrolytes

- Use during endurance activities to increase nutrient and fluid absorption, and perform better

- Customise dosage based on exercise demands, same great tablet form as other nuun products

Each serving contains (includes 2 tablets of Plus and 1 tablet of Active):

- Sodium: 410 mg

- Potassium: 201 mg

- Magnesium: 75 mg

- Calcium: 63 mg

- 48 calories

- 11g carbs

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

The tube is study and will keep out moisture.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

Adds arguably much needed bulk to the Nuun Active, but still comes up short of supplying enough carbohydrates on its own or with Active.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

N/A

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Without enough carbs to avoid supplementation with food and gels, this ratchets up the cost without covering all your needs.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Reasonably. The extra electrolytes are especially useful in hot or stressful conditions.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The modular, customisable approach to drink making in tab dose format.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's just not got enough carbs in it to create an "Ultimate Sports Drink" in my opinion, and the containers don't give matching/multiples of dosages – you'll always be left with an extra serving left over.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Not for me as I'd want the carbs.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, potentially.

Use this box to explain your score

It's a nice idea with marks for execution, but the actual content could be looked at if Nuun is after the "Ultimate Sports Drink".

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 188cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016)  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding