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Comparison of Energy Gels

5,165 bytes added, 12:05, 4 March 2013
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* Flavor is important, as you won't want to take an unpalatable gel. Experiment with different flavors, as different people have different tastes, and what flavor appeals can vary with circumstance.
This table is ordered by ease of digestion, which is a combination of the science of nutrition, personal experience and the experience of many runners I've talked to, with more details given below.{| class="wikitablesortable"!'''class="unsortable" | Name'''!!'''Calories'''!!'''Carbs'''!(grams)!'''Sugar<sup>4'''d</sup>!(grams)![[Maltodextrin]]<sup>1a</sup>!(grams)!Glucose<sup>1a</sup>!(grams)![[Fructose]]<sup>1a</sup>!(grams)!Other Carbs<sup>1</sup>(grams)!!'''[[Protein| Protein]]'''(grams)!!'''Fat'''(grams)!!'''Sodium'''(mg)!!'''Potassium'''(mg)!!'''class="unsortable" | [[Caffeine]]'''(mg)!!'''Water to <br>be Isotonic<sup>5'''e</sup>(ml)!!'''Weight<sup>6f</sup> '''(grams)!!'''Carbs/g'''!!'''Cal/g'''!!'''Ease of digestion<br/> (higher is better)'''!!'''Viscosity<sup>9'''i</sup>!!'''class="unsortable" | Recommended for'''
|[ Hammer Gel]|90|23g23|2g2|21g21|1g1|1g1|0g0|Trace0|0g0|20mg20|0mg0|0mg0/25mg25/50mg50|103ml103|33g33|0.70|2.73|10|38|Sensitive Stomachs
|[ Gu2FB000FQ8DUS Carb BOOM]|100110|25g27|5g3|20g24|0g1.5|5g1.5|0g0|0g0|0g<sup>8</sup>0|50mg50|40mg50|0mg0/25mg/50mg50|175ml145|32g41|0.7866|32.1368|89|24516|General UseHammer Alternative
|[ 2FB000CSCRHY Gu Roctane]|100|25g25|5g5|20g20|0g0|5g5|0g0|1.7g0|0g0<sup>h</sup>|125mg50|55mg40|0mg0/25/35mg50|164ml175|32g32|0.6378|3.13|8|62245|Those looking for every advantageGeneral Use
|[ 2FB002Y1XKW8 GuRoctane] (Peanut Butter)|100|20g25|5g5|15g20|0g0|5g5|0g0|1g1.7|1.5g0|65mg125|60mg55|0mg0/35|201ml164|32g32|0.7863|3.13|78|4,29062|A less sweet GuThose looking for every advantage
|[ Vi Endurance2FEnergy-Gel-Chocolate-Outrage-24-Count%2Fdp%2FB000CSCRHY Gu](Peanut Butter)|100|23g20|6g5|17g15|6g0|0g5|0g0|0g1|1g1.5|10mg65|15mg60|10mg0|168ml201|32g32|0.7278|3.13|7|174,290|Fructose malabsorptionA less sweet Gu
|[ Clif Shot2F Vi Endurance] (new formula)|100|24g23|12g6|12g17|6g6|6g0|0g0|0g0|0g<sup>7</sup>1|90mg10|50mg15|0mg/25mg/50mg/100mg10|292ml168|34g32|0.7172|23.9413|67|9617|A Gu AlternativeFructose malabsorption
|[ PowerBar Gel2FB0074B4IKG Clif Shot](new formula)|110100|27g24|10g12|17g12|0g6|10g6|0g0|0g0|0g0<sup>7g</sup>|200mg90|20mg50|0mg0/25/25mg50/50mg100|293ml292|41g34|0.6671|2.6894|56|596|Those needing extra electrolytesA Gu Alternative
|[ Accel 2FB000A2BCIW PowerBar Gel]|100110|20g27|13g10|7g17|4g0|9g10|0g0|5g0|0g0<sup>g</sup>|115mg200|30mg20|0mg0/25/20mg50|297ml293|37g41|0.5466|2.7068|45|325|Improved Recovery and UltradistancesThose needing extra electrolytes
|[ Honey Stinger]eGel|120150|29g37|29g7|0g30|14g0|15g7|0g0|0g0|0g0|50mg230|85mg85|0mg/32mg0|572ml295|37g55|0.7867|32.2473|25|1220|Not RecommendedA PowerBar Gel Alternative
|[ Chocolate #9pack%2Fdp%2FB003CN5NL8 Accel Gel]|70100|15g20|13g13|0g7|3g4|10g<sup>2</sup>9|2g0|1g5|1g0|75mg115|Unknown30|0mg0/20|256ml297|30g37|0.5054|2.3370|24|100,000+32|Not Generally RecommendedImproved Recovery and Ultradistances
| [ Honey Stinger]| 120| 29| 29| 0| 14| 15| 0| 0| 0| 50| 85| 0/32| 572| 37| 0.78| 3.24| 2| 12| Not Recommended|-| [ Chocolate #9]| 70| 15| 13| 0| 3| 10<sup>b</sup>| 2| 1| 1| 75| 0| 0| 256| 30| 0.50| 2.33| 2| 100,000+| Not Generally Recommended|-|[ 2nd Surge]|90|18g18|13g13|0g0|7g7<sup>3c</sup>|6g6<sup>3c</sup>|5g5<sup>3c</sup>|3g3|0g0|115mg115|15mg15|100mg100|274ml274|30g30|0.60|3.00|0|9| Not Recommended|-| [ Chia Surge]| 75| 17| 11| 6| 11| 0| 0| 0| 1| 4| 26| 0| 215| 37| 0.46| 2.03| 0| 335|Not Recommended
* <sup>1a</sup> These values are estimates based on the stated nutrition and ingredients.* <sup>2b</sup>Agave nectar varies in its fructose content between 90% and 55%, so this calculation assumes the average of about 75%.* <sup>3c</sup>The unusual nature of the ingredients in 2<sup>nd</sup> surge makes it harder to estimate the types of carbohydrates included.* <sup>4d</sup>The sugar value includes sucrose, fructose, glucose and other 'sugars'.* <sup>5e</sup>This is an approximation based on the amount of sugar, Maltodextrin, sodium and potassium, ignoring other ingredients. The water included in the gel is assumed to be the overall weight less the weight of the carbs, fat and protein. See [[The Science of Energy Gels]] for details on the isotonic calculations.* <sup>6f</sup>This is the net weight of the gel; generally the packaging added 2-3g to the gels according to my scales.* <sup>7g</sup>The chocolate flavor has 1.5g* <sup>8h</sup>The chocolate flavor has 2g* <sup>9I</sup>Viscosity, or thickness, varies enormously between gels. The thickest, Chocolate #9 is more like a paste than a gel, were the thinnest, PowerBar Gel is a liquid. =Size Visual Comparison={| class="wikitable" |- valign="top"|[[File:GelsGel Colors.jpg|none|thumb|500px|From the top, clockwise are Gu, eGel, #9 chocolate, and Chia Surge. The Gu is representative of how the other not shown here gels look out of the packet. Here you can see the coloring in the eGel. The chocolate #9 is paste like rather than a visual comparison gel. You can see the lumpy texture of Chia Surge.]]|[[File:Gels.jpg|none|thumb|500px|Here the comparative the sizes of some of the various gels.]]|}
=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 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 the low level of Fructose, which makes the maximum carbohydrate absorption lower than other gels. Therefore use Hammer only if Gu is difficult to digest.
''<br/>Ingredients (Vanilla): Maltodextrin, Filtered Water, Energy Smart (Grape juice and Rice dextrins), Potassium Sorbate (as a preservative), Vanilla Extract, Citric Acid, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Amino Acids (L-Leucine, L-Alanine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine).''
=Carb BOOM=
Carb BOOM is similar to Hammer Gel. Each packet of Carb BOOM is about 25% larger than Hammer Gel, but contains similar ingredients (slightly more electrolytes).
''</br>Ingredients (Apple Cinnamon): Maltodextrin, Water, Apple Puree, Apple Concentrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate.''
For marathon distance racing, I prefer [ Gu] over all other gels I've tried. You could think of Gu as the Honda Civic of energy gels; it's not perfect for everyone in every situation, but it's a great all-rounder. It contains 5g of [[Fructose]], with the rest of the calories coming from the 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 is slightly thicker than other gels, which I find makes it easier to mix the gel with saliva, but it can become overly thick in colder conditions.
''<br/>Ingredients (Vanilla): Maltodextrin, water, fructose, Gu Amino acids (leucine, valine, histidine, isoleucine), potassium and sodium citrate, antioxidants (vitamin E and C),citric acid, calcium carbonate, vanilla, sea salt, preservatives (sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate), fumaric acid, herbal blend (chamomile, kola nut, ginger), pectin.''
=Gu (Peanut Butter)=
[ 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. The level of fructose is higher than I'd like to see for digestibility. You may need to drink some water near the time you take PowerBar Gel due to the extra electrolytes. PowerBar Gel has a noticeably thinner consistency than most other gels, and is almost a liquid. This makes it far easier to take in cold weather as it does not go so thick, but it also make it trickier to mix with saliva in your mouth.
''<br/>Ingredients (vanilla): Carbohydrate blend (Maltodextrin, fructose), water, electrolytes (sodium chloride, sodium citrate, potassium chloride), natural flavor, citric acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate.''
The main ingredients in eGel are close to Gu, which is no bad thing. The main differences are that eGel is twice the size of Gu, does not come in caffeinated varieties and has more electrolytes. While eGel has more electrolytes per packet than PowerBar Gel, if you take into account then PowerBar Gel has the most concentrated electrolytes. The size of eGel may appeal to some people, but I generally find the usual size more convenient. The flavors of eGel are somewhat unusual in that they taste quite sour or 'tart', possibly because of the citric acid content. Flavor is a personal thing, so if you like sour, tart tastes, then you may get on well with eGel, but I found it overwhelming. Another oddity of eGel is that they contain coloring, which is strange given that most people will never actually see the gel.
''</br>Ingredients (Mountain Rush): Maltodextrin, Filtered Water, Fructose, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavor, Amino Acid Blend (Leucine, Valine, Isoleucine, Histidine), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E (Tocopherol acetate), Sodium Benzoate And Potassium Sorbate, Yellow 5, Vitamin B6''
=Accel Gel=
I like the 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio of [ Accel Gel], and I often use it in 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.
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.
''<br/>Ingredients (chocolate flavor): Agave syrup, brown rice syrup, evaporated cane sugar, water, whey protein isolate, glycerin, pea protein isolate, cocoa, natural flavors, green tea extract, d-alpha-tocopheryl, salt, grape, pomegranate, mangosteen, goji berry, blueberry, chokeberry, cranberry, apple and bilberry extracts.''
=Chia Surge=[ Chia surge] is one of the more unusual gels as it contains chia seeds which give it a bitty texture. I found that these seeds got caught in my teeth, even when I tried to swallow without chewing or mixing with saliva, which was amazingly annoying. Chia surge also has relatively few calories, too much glucose, not enough Maltodextrin and almost no sodium. Chia Surge contains beta-Alanine which has been shown to improve sprint performance, though you'd likely need to take 4-12 packets a day for some days to see the benefit (see [[The Science of Energy Gels]] for more details). Overall it's hard to recommend Chia Surge. ''</br>Ingredients(Raspberry): Water, Dextrose, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Fruit And Vegetable Juice (For Color), Natural Flavors, ULS (Organic Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors, Stevia).''[[File:Chia Surge.jpg|none|thumb|200px|Here you can see the seeds in the Chia Surge.]]=Other 'energy gels'=These products are similar to energy gels, but are not carbohydrate based. ==PocketFuel==Unlike energy gels, [ PocketFuel] is a peanut butter like paste in an energy gel like packet. They are similar in size (about 1.8oz/32g) but have more calories (~170) due to their higher fat content. I would not generally recommend PocketFuel for runs shorter than about 40 miles, but for longer races they make a convenient form of food. Note that for some flavors the ingredients tend to settle and it's worth squishing the packet before your run to mix things up.''<br/>Ingredients (chocolate haze):Hazelnuts, almonds, sugar, cocoa powder, sunflower oil, organic palm fruit oil, sea salt.''==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). =Chewable Carbohydrates=An alternative to energy gels is the solid blocks of carbohydrate, such as Clif Bloks, or Gu Chomps. I don't generally recommend these alternatives for a number of reasons. The biggest problem is that it's harder to chew a block than to swallow a gel while running, especially if you're breathing hard. A mistake can result in choking, which will really upset your running. The ingredients in the chewables are not as good as the gels – the primary ingredient in Clif Bloks is brown rice syrup and Gu Chomps use Tapioca Syrup. Sport Beans may be more convenient than the Clif Bloks or Gu Chomps but are nearly all sugar rather than the more easily digested [[Maltodextrin]].

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