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Comparison of Energy Gels

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The only ingredients in this [ #9] are Agave and Cocoa, and Agave is predominantly [[Fructose]] (55% [[Fructose]] to 20% glucose). This amount of [[Fructose]] is slow to be absorbed and can be difficult to digest, making it a poor choice for most runners. The Agave makes this gel intensely sweet, which I did not like and the '[ processed with alkali]' means that most of the antioxidants from the chocolate are destroyed. This is also by far the thickest gel that I've tested so far, being more like a paste than a gel. This gel may be suitable for runners that suffer from a blood sugar drop after taking more conventional gels prior to exercise (see [[The Science of Energy Gels| The Science of Energy Gels]] for more details).
''<br/>Ingredients: organic agave nectar, cocoa processed with alkali''
Glukos is the "OFFICIAL ENERGY GEL & of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series", which (given the reputation of those marathons) could be considered a warning label. Like the races, the energy gel has lots of hype with a little to back it up. Glukos uses glucose as its only source of carbohydrate, which makes it rather harder to digest than a Maltodextrin/[[Fructose]] based gel. As a result, you need 280ml/9.5oz of water to make a packet isotonic, which doesn't seem too bad when compared with other gels until you realize that Glukos only provides 60 calories per packet. When you normalize the amount of water you need to make a gel isotonic based on 100 calories then Glukos can be seen to be one of the least effective energy gels I've tested. Because Glukos is a liquid, it's practically impossible to mix it with saliva as you consume it, compounding the digestion problems. It also weighs more than twice as much as a traditional gel like Gu, which means the energy density of Gu is nearly 4x that of Glukos. There is a woefully inadequate amount of sodium, and they've added coloring which seems rather pointless in a gel. Glukos claims that it is two times faster and has two times the energy, but you have to dig a little to find out what they're comparing it to. It turns out that they are claiming that Glukos is two times faster than sucrose (table sugar), which is reasonably true but rather irrelevant given that I'm not aware of any energy gel that is made predominantly from sucrose. The nearest you'd find is honey based gels as honey contains a mixture of fructose and glucose that's similar to sucrose. It's a little ironic that a gel containing roughly half the energy of standard gels would claim to have twice as much. The other part of the claim (2x faster) is far more dubious as sucrose and glucose have the same energy density. Their FAQ states "you don't lose energy to the processes of digestion or metabolization like other fuel sources", but I've never seen anything to suggest that the metabolism of fructose takes a significant amount of energy, let alone a factor of two. Glukos also claims things like gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, but that's true of virtually every gel on the market. The only good news is that the flavor is reasonably light, which is what you'd expect given that glucose is not as sweet as sucrose or fructose. It's rather like having a very small packet of Gatorade drink, which is no bad thing flavor wise.
[[File:Glukos.jpg|none|thumb|500px|Glukos Gel, looking rather large compared with my reference standard, Gu.]]
''<br/>Ingredients: Water, Glucose, Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Purple Carrot Root (for color)''
=Mud Energy Gel=
There are some unusual ingredients in Mud Energy Gel, including rather more protein than any other energy gel. The form of the protein is also a little strange, which is from Collagen, whey protein and brown rice protein. While whey protein is common in sports foods, collagen is rather unusual, and brown rice protein seems an even stranger choice. The gel includes [ Sustamine], a combination two amino acids to form L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine. There are some bold claims for Sustamine, but I couldn't find the research to back it up. The inclusion of Brown Rice syrup can create a bitter aftertaste, as well as possible contamination with [ arsenic]. This gel is also rather large, coming in at about twice the size of a Gu or other gel, but it's only got about 50% more calories, making it too large for runners. Overall, the digestibility of Mud Energy Gel is a little poor, but I found the flavor to be a bigger problem. I realize that flavor is a personal thing, so I tried a sample of Mud on several people and it was met with universal distaste, and some people even thought I was playing a prank on them. The only thing I've found that has a similar flavor has been some "[ salty licorice]". However, it's been noted that salty licorice is an acquired taste, and that people not familiar with it may find the taste "physically overwhelming and unlikeable." So maybe with more exposure, the flavor becomes better.

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