Launched way back in 1991 the GU Energy Gel was a world first and despite a few tweaks to the formula along the way, it still remains true to its original intent of delivering ‘…the quickest way to deliver an appropriate amount of calories to an athlete during competition without upsetting his or her stomach.’
Aside from nutritional delivery – more on which below – there are a number of things that set the GU Energy Gel apart from many of its competitors. Firstly the pack size; at just 32g only the Cliff Shot Energy Gel comes close in terms of equalling it for pocket footprint, and compact qualities are always a bonus when it comes to deciding how much fuel can be carried on the run or bike – simple maths dictates that two GUs can be carried in the same space as a 70g Maxifuel Viper.
Secondly the GU Energy Gel offers a really wide range of flavours – everything from the tangy Lemon Sublime to Mint Chocolate and Vanilla Bean – so there’s likely to be something to suit all tastes with the added benefit that (assuming you like more than one flavour, and we’re sure you will) you can add plenty of variety to even the longest event. As an aside if you think the UK gets a good range of flavours take a look at what GU offers the American market – Root Beer anyone?
The flavours are strong, without being overpowering, and the texture is closer to a smooth paste than a gel, but does require some water to wash down.
Sure, all this would count for nothing if the GU Energy Gel didn’t stack up where it matters, but they do… The 100kcal per serving (equal to most much larger gels) comprises of 25g carbs from 70-80% maltodextrin and 30-20% fructose, with the ratio depending on variety. As a complex carbohydrate maltodextrin is delivered into the system far quicker than simpler sugars meaning both that it goes to work faster and diverts less blood away from hard working muscles during absorption. Fruit-derived fructose actually absorbs quicker still, but GU use less than many other manufacturers because of a tendency to ‘upset’ the stomach. In combination maltodextrin and fructose deliver sustained energy, without a sugar ‘jag’ and subsequent crash.
In addition the GU Energy Gel offers up 450mg of amino acids, which can help combat muscle fatigue and further speed carb absorption/conversion, plus sodium and potassium to counter the negative affect of ‘body salts’ loss from sweating.
GU Energy Gels are £38.40 per box of 24, further details and online purchase from GUEnergy.co.uk