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Comparison of Energy Gels

4,286 bytes added, 12:36, 13 November 2012
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[[File:Gels.JPG|right|thumb|500px300px|My supply of gels]]Energy gels are a useful component of many endurance runnerrunners's training and racing. In marathon distance racing, energy gels can make an important difference - [[When to eat Energy Gels in the Marathon]]. __NOTOC__==Overview==This table is ordered by ease of digestion. {| {{table}}| alignclass="centerwikitable" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!'''Name'''| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!!'''Calories'''| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!!'''Carbs'''| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!!'''Sugar'''| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!!'''[[Protein| Protein]]'''| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!!'''Fat'''!!'''Sodium'''| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!!'''PotasiumPotassium'''| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!!'''[[Caffeine]]'''| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!!'''Ease of digestion <br/>(higher is better)'''| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|!!'''Recommended for'''
| [ Hammer Gel|]|90||23g||2g||trace|0g|20mg||0mg||0mg/25mg/50mg||5|10|Sensitive Stomachs
| Gu|[ Vi Endurance]|100|23g|25g||5g|6g|0g|1g|50mg||40mg||0mg/25mg/50mg10mg|15mg|410mg|10|General UseSensitive Stomachs
| [ Gu (Peanut Butter)|]|100||20g|25g|5g|0g|1g||65mg|0g (chocolate has 2g)|60mg50mg|40mg|0mg/25mg/50mg|8|4||A less sweet gelGeneral Use
| [ Gu Roctane|] (Peanut Butter)|100||25g|20g|5g|1g|1.7g5g|65mg|125mg||55mg|60mg|0mg/35mg|8|4||Rich MarathonersA less sweet Gu
| Clif Shot (new formula)|[ Gu Roctane]|100|25g|24g||12g5g|1.7g|0g|125mg|90mg||50mg|55mg|0mg/25mg/50mg/100mg35mg|8|4||A Gu AlternativeThose looking for every advantage
| PowerBar Gel[ Clif Shot] (new formula)|100|11024g|12g|27g||10g|0g|0g(chocolate has 1.5g)|90mg|200mg||20mg|50mg|0mg/25mg/50mg/100mg|7|3||Those needing extra electrolytes A Gu Alternative
| Accel [ PowerBar Gel]|110|10027g|10g|20g||13g|0g|0g (chocolate has 1.5g)|200mg|115mg||30mg|20mg|0mg/20mg||225mg/50mg|6|Improved Recovery and UltradistancesThose needing extra electrolytes
| Honey Stinger[ Accel Gel]|100|12020g|13g|29g||29g|5g|0g|115mg|50mg||85mg|30mg|0mg/20mg|4|0||Not RecommendedImproved Recovery and Ultradistances
| [ Honey Stinger]|120|29g|29g|0g|0g|50mg|85mg|0mg/32mg|2|Not Recommended|-|[ Chocolate #9|]|70||15g||13g|1g|1g|75mg|Unknown|0mg|2|75mgNot Generally Recommended|-|[ 2nd Surge]|90|18g|13g|3g|Unknown0g|115mg|0mg15mg|100mg|0||Not Generally Recommended
==Hammer Gel=[ Hammer Gel] 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 low level 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. Note that the lack of Fructose limits the maximum absorption, so use Hammer only if Gu is difficult to digest. =Vi Endurance=Like Hammer above, Vi Endurance is easy to digest. It has a little fat in the form of Medium Chain Triglycerides, as well as some Taurine, which I think are good things, but probably the amount is not significant enough to make much of a difference. There is a little caffeine, intended to increase the carbohydrate absorption rather than to improve performance. I found the Vi Endurance very easy on the stomach and a worthy alternative to Hammer Gel, though it's only from the manufacturer and so it a little more pricy ($1.64 with shipping.)=Gu==For marathon distance racing, I prefer [ Gu ] over all other gels I've tried. It contains only 5g of fructose[[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 [[How to eat a Gel|mixed with saliva]]. Some of the flavors can be a little strong, but the 'plain' Gu has a light cola flavor. ==Gu (Peanut Butter)==The peanut butter flavored [ Gu ] is different enough to justify its own section. The peanut butter flavor is far less sweet than the regular Gu flavors, but if you like peanut butter it can be a lot more palatable. It also substitutes a little bit of fat and protein for the carbohydrate, as well as having a tiny bit more sodium and potassium. I find this flavor digests particularly well and I'd recommend trying get if you're a fan of peanut butter. Obviously, if you hate peanut butter or you have a peanut allergy this is not going to work for you.==Gu Roctane=[ Roctane] is an a more expensive variant on Gu, and though the price has reduced significantly since its introduction. The main difference is the addition of 1.7g of amino acids, which may help slightly. I've not noticed any difference when using it. The amount of amino acids that , but if you like Gu and are added is quite small (1.7g) and the benefits do not seem to justify the costlooking for even a slight advantage, which is roughly double the cost of standard Guit may be worthwhile. On the other hand, if If you are paying hundreds of dollars for a race entry (or even more with and travel), even a slight edge may be worth itthen the extra cost is minor. If you take 8 gels in a 4-hour marathon, that Roctane only adds $84-10 5 to the cost of the race. Of course, you'll need to practice with Roctane in your training, so you'll have to factor that cost in as well. ==Clif Shot (new formula)==The new formula [ Clif Shot ] uses [[Maltodextrin]] like other Gels and is remarkably similar to Gu though . However, it has slightly more sugar making it a little more difficult to digest. The previous formula used brown rice syrup that I found harder to digest and left a bitter aftertaste – nasty stuff. ==PowerBar Gel=[ gel 35454X937677&xs=1&xcust=PBeg& PowerBar Gel] is noteworthy because of its higher sodium content that may help alleviate [[Hyponatremia]] and [[Cramps]]. I found the flavor stronger than Hammer, Gu or Cliff, but still quite pleasant. You may need to drink some water near the time you take PowerBar Gel due to the extra electrolytes. ==Accel Gel==I like the 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio of [ Accel Gel], and I often use it in ultramarthon ultramarathon 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. ==Honey Stinger==Honey contains only simple sugars rather than the [[Maltodextrin]] that other Gels use. This makes this gel [ Honey Stinger] much harder to digest than other Gels, and much sweater. This is the only Gel one of the few Gels I've tried that has given me digestive problems when taken slowly. I also found the sweetness overpowering and unpleasant, though the honey aftertaste was quite pleasantnice. I would not recommend Honey Stinger Gels.== #9 Chocolate ==The only ingredients in this [ #9] are Agave and Cocoa, and Agave is predominantly fructose (55% fructose to 20% glucose). This fructose amount of [[Fructose]] is slow to be absorbed and can be difficult to digest, making it a poor choice for most runners. The only runners that this gel would be suitable for would be those that suffer from a blood sugar drop after taking more conventional gels(intra-exercise rebound hypoglycemia). My research suggests this is a rare condition. The Agave makes this gel intensely sweet, which I did not like.=2<sup>nd</sup> Surge=The ingredients in [ 2nd Surge] are rather grim, with Agave providing [[Fructose]] and Brown Rice Syrup providing glucose (as disaccharides and trisaccharides). While this may sound better than simply using all sugar, it's chemically not an improvement, especially as Brown Rice Syrup has a bitter aftertaste and unfortunately may contain [ arsenic]. I found that 2<sup>nd</sup> surge was overly sweet, with a slightly bitter undertones and rather gritty in texture. 2<sup>nd</sup> Surge has a higher dose of [[Caffeine]] than most gels. It's unlikely that you'd want to take a 2<sup>nd</sup> surge every 30 minutes, but if you did, you'd have 800mg of Caffeine during a four hour marathon, which is rather high. (For a 150 pound/75Kg person, that would be nearly 11mg/Kg, far more than seems prudent.) The ratio of carbohydrate to protein can have some benefits, but it's a 6:1 ratio, rather than 4:1 which the manufacturer claims is ideal in their Accel Gel. Overall, there seems nothing to recommend these gels. = Vespa Gel ==
{{Main|Vespa Gel}}
Vespa Gels claims to improve endurance performance by improving fat burning rather than providing fuel like other gels. The science does not seem to back this up, and they are remarkably expensive ($6.75 each). ==Special Thanks==I'd like to thank Chris at the University [ Run For Your Life] store for his help with this article. Chris has talked to many runners about their experiences with different Gels and his help was the inspiration for this article. Chris was even able to provide me with some samples of Honey Stinger that he does not normally stock.

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