Nutrition GU Energy Gels

Published on October 21, 2013

GU Energy Gels

GU, to all intents and purpose, was the world’s first true energy gel and despite a few tweaks to the formula since its launch in 1991, 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.’

In addition to GU Energy Gel’s nutritional delivery (more on which below) there are a number of things that set it 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 – simple maths dictates that two GUs can be carried in the same space as a 70g Maxifuel Viper.

Secondly GU 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 ultra. Flavours are strong, without being overpowering, and the texture is closer to a smooth paste than a gel, which does require some water to wash down.

Sure, all this would count for nothing if GU Energy Gels didn’t stack up where it matters, but frankly 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 GU 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.

Would RunningMonkey tackle a whole race on GU alone? No more than we would any other gel; variety is always the key for us – but at a mere 32g for 25g of carb these make excellent sense. GU Energy Gels are £36 per box of 24, further details and online purchase from


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