Comparison of Energy Gels

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Energy gels are a useful component of many endurance runner's training and racing. In marathon distance racing, energy gels can make an important difference - When to eat Energy Gels in the Marathon

1 Overview

Name Calories Carbs Sugar Protein Sodium Potasium
Gu 100 25g 5g 0g 50mg 40mg
Accel Gel 100 20g 13g 5g 115mg 30mg
Gu Roctane 100 25g 5g 1.7g 125mg 55mg
Clif Shot (new formula) 100 24g 12g 0g 90mg 50mg
PowerBar Gel 110 27g 10g 0g 200mg 20mg
Hammer Gel 90 23g 2g trace 20mg 0mg

2 Gu

For marathon distance racing, I prefer Gu over all other gels I've tried. It contains only 5g of fructose, with the rest of the calories coming from the more easily digested Maltodextrin. I find that Gu can be consumed without any extra water as long as it is taken a bit at a time and mixed with saliva. Some of the flavors can be a little strong, but the 'plain' Gu has a light cola flavor.

3 Accel Gel

I like the 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio of Accel Gel, and I often use it in ultramarthon races. There is more sugar than I would like at 13g and the thin consistency makes it harder to eat slowly and mix with saliva.

4 Gu Roctane

This is an expensive variant on Gu, and I've not noticed any difference when using it. The amount of amino acids that are added is quite small (1.7g) and the benefits do not seem to justify the cost.

5 Clif Shot (new formula)

I have yet to try the new formula Clif Shot, which now uses Maltodextrin like other Gels. The previous formula used brown rice syrup that I found harder to digest and left a bitter aftertaste.

6 PowerBar Gel

This gel is noteworthy because of it's higher sodium content that may help alleviate Hyponatremia and Cramps.

7 Hammer Gel

Hammer is noteworthy as one of the easiest to digest gels. It is nearly all Maltodextrin dissolved in a greater volume of fluid than other gels. The lack of sugars and electrolytes makes this far easier on the digestive system, and is recommended for runners who have issues with other types of gel.