GU Energy Gels


GU Energy Gels were launched in 1991 and were the world’s first, so we were really keen to test them.  True to their claims we found them simple to use, super effective and in a range of delicious flavours.


GU energy gels


Since GU first launched their gels in 1991, gels have become a main stay of the nutrition offering for athletes because they are wonderfully portable, simple to consume (even when you are working hard) and quick to digest, giving you a fast boost of energy when you need it most.


It is clear from first inspection, GU clearly know a thing or two about producing energy gels.  Their gels offer 100kcal and 25g of carbohydrates, from fruit sugar, all of which is about par for the course, but GU gels also contain 450 mg of Amino Acids.


The amino acids (leucine, valine and isoleucine) are critical because they act as another fuel source, help muscle recovery and can even improve mental performance and reduce fatigue by limiting the central nervous system’s production of serotonin – pretty amazing stuff!  In addition, histidine has been included to help neutralize lactic acid build-up in muscles.


Frankly the inclusion of amino acids alone had us sold, but it would be remiss of us not to mention the option of caffeine in two of the flavours and notably the caffeine source is from Green Tea Extract, which is a nice way of getting both caffeine and some token antioxidants in.


The antioxidants on offer are further boosted by the inclusion of vitamin C, so each gel gives you 40% of your recommended daily amount along with 60% of the RDA of Vitamin E.  Then there is chamomile which is known for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties, ginger to soothe the stomach and sea salt to supply minerals.  It is amply clear that GU have tried very hard to go beyond simply taking glucose, turning it into gel form and sticking a foil wrapper round it!


You'll be pleased to know that none of the flavours contain any artificial sweeteners – in fact we wouldn’t be testing them if they did, for us the reported health risks are just too great to ignore and frankly they are sweet enough without.


Given the ingredient list, you might be forgiven for thinking it does not matter what they taste like, but we reckon the ability to suck them down under pressure is critical and so we were really pleased to find they taste pretty amazing.  For our tester, the strawberry banana gel was a particular favourite – not overly sweet nor overly synthetic tasting, a common failing for things supposedly tasting like banana or strawberry.  The gels were quite thick but even when we were thirsty they didn't stick to the roof of the mouth and there wasn't any need to down half a bottle of water after eating one.


Even the foil pouches are easy to tear, even when wearing gloves, a quality surprisingly absent from a lot of gels tried in the past!


GU suggest you should take one 15 minutes before exercise and then every 30-45 minutes during your race or training effort.  Of course, individual needs will vary and given that we used them during training, we took one an hour and never got close to the dreaded “bonk”!


At £38.40 for 24 (£1.60 each) they are not the cheapest gels on the market, but in our experience you get what you pay for, especially where nutrition is concerned and overall we thought these were nicely packaged, well thought out and most importantly, really great tasting gels which are easy to eat.


All you could want out of a gel and more, with a brilliant array of flavours to choose from.


Sizes: each gel is 32g

Flavours: Vanilla Bean, Jet Blackberry, Lemon Sublime, Mandarin Orange, Tri-Berry, Chocolate Outrage, Strawberry Banana, Espresso Love and Salted Caramel

RRP: £38.40 for 24


Web: - energy gel


Performance:  9/10

Value for money:  7/10


Tested by Anna Railton



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