For more than 20 years GU have been at the forefront of the energy gel business and although a few (minor things) have been tweaked here and there they are still largely unchanged since their launch in 1991 – testament to the mantra ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
Don’t be fooled by the somewhat miniscule 32g GU pack size; they deliver 100kcal per serving – equal to many larger gels – from 25g of carbohydrate, a blend of 70-80% maltodextrin and 30-20% fructose (depending on flavour variety.) The mixed carb source has several benefits: fructose absorbs quickly and so goes to work fast, but the gentler on the stomach maltodextrin – a starch derivative – absorbs slower for sustained energy but still quickly enough not to shunt blood away from otherwise preoccupied muscles. Combined, the fructose and maltodextrin provide a steady energy source without the peaks and troughs of simple sugars. To aid carb absorption and to help fight off muscle fatigue each serving also contains 450mg of amino acids in addition to sodium and potassium to counter ‘body salts’ lost through sweat.
GU also offers a wide range of flavours – Jet Blackberry, Chocolate Orange and Cyclo’s favourite Vanilla Bean amongst them. All of the flavours are well balanced (tasty without being overpowering) and the consistency is closer to a paste than most gels, which takes some getting used to and does require a swig from the bidon to wash down.
GU certainly delivers on the energy front and those with sensitive stomachs should benefit from the maltodextrin biased carb content, flavour range means there is (probably) something for everyone and their tiny packet size – half of a Maxifuel Viper for similar energy delivery for example – means there is less bulk in the jersey pocket. As the makers say: ‘Just suck down a packet of your favourite flavour and go (big)!’
GU Energy Gels are £36 per box of 24, further details and online purchase from GUEnergy.co.uk