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Photo credit: www.humagel.com

10 Best Energy Gels review

02-Feb-16

By Steve Diederich

So, lets get the debate out of the way, straight away. Gels are Marmite – you either need them or hate them (Nobody can love them right?). Energy gels remain part of the nutrition armoury of many runners, often as a “get out of jail free card”. They typically deliver concentrated sugars/salts/caffeine in a quick hit, they have developed from those nasty tasting sachets that were once like industrial by-products to some more palatable interesting natural flavoured pick me ups. The debate about gels will keep going for a long time, but it looks like they are here to stay.

We decided to review some of the 10 favourite energy gels in the market. This review covers the nutritional values and flavours of these gels. We did our research to discover what the ideal balance of taste, price and nutrition looks like so that runners know what each brand of gel can deliver.

Before you plump for a gel, it is important to work out what you want it to do. Do you want a calorie replacement, a salt supplement, or a mule kick from caffeine? No gel is going to provide any fat or protein so you need to ensure your choice is fit for purpose. The other tip is to try gels before you use them in anger, some just make you feel nauseous whilst others sit more easily on your stomach. We have found this to be a personal thing, so no “one size fits all “ recommendations here.

For us - The Category winners and losers were:

Highest Energy per 100 grams/ml
When the needle on your tank is pointing to empty, you will be looking for quickly absorbed calories – Here are the two ends of the scale:

Most: GU Salted Caramel Energy Gel (312 kcal per 100 gms)

Least: SiS Go Isotonic Gel Lemon & Lime (128 kcal per 100 ml)

Best Tasting
None of the gels are going to find their way onto a Marco Pierre White menu. Let’s face it, you don’t reach for a gel to give yourself a gastro treat. Gel flavouring is there primarily to mask the contents, there is a however a difference between how palatable these flavours are:

Favourites: Huma Chia Mango Energy Gel & Clif Mocha Energy Gel. These both stood head and shoulders above their competitors in the taste test as they had flavours that seemed to be based in something recognisable.

Least exciting: High5 Energy Juicy Orange Gel. The orange flavour does little to mask the base flavours – not very exciting, just sweet.

Overall favourite: Huma Chia Mango Energy Gel

Photo credit: www.clifbar.com.

Clif Shot Mocha Energy Gel – RRP £1.52

Clif Bar have established themselves as one of the most preferred and well-known brands of sports energy suppliers. These folks know how to render a natural taste to their products. The Clif Gel has been sweetened with organic dried cane syrup to give it that characteristic natural sweetness. The Mocha Gel is sure to woo both chocolate lovers and coffee aficionados alike. Even though it contains real, natural cocoa powder, it does not have a bitter aftertaste. The coffee adds a punch of 50 mg caffeine to each shot to keep you going. The Clif Shots are available in other interesting flavours like chocolate, chocolate cherry, double espresso, razz, strawberry and Vanilla.

Nutritional Info – Clif Mocha Energy Gel

  • Serving Size – 34 grams
  • Calories/34 grams – 100 kcal
  • Calories/100 grams – 294 kcal
  • Carbohydrates – 24 grams; of which sugars – 12 grams
  • Fibre – 1 gram
  • Sodium – 60 mg
  • Caffeine – 50mg

Our Verdict: Great taste and comparatively thin consistency, with sufficient calories.
Our  Rating: 4/5  

Photo credit: www.highfive.co.uk.

High5 Energy Juicy Orange Gel – RRP £0.99

Buy High5 Energy Gel

The High5 Juicy Orange Energy Gel does its job of supplying you with a dose of instant energy. In this case this gel contains added maltodextrin that your body converts into glucose, which can be quickly absorbed. The real fruit juice means it has a natural, recognizable taste. These caffeine-free, non-sticky gels can be swallowed quite easily. The High5 Energy Gels are available in Summer Fruits, Citrus Blast, Banana Blast, and Apple flavours.

Nutritional Info – High5 Juicy Orange Energy Gel

  • Serving Size – 40 grams
  • Calories/40 grams – 90 kcal
  • Calories/100 grams – 224 kcal
  • Carbohydrates – 23 grams; of which sugars – 2.7 grams
  • Fibre – Trace
  • Sodium – 0.02 grams
  • Caffeine – None

Our verdict: Not overly sweet and well priced, the High5 Juicy Orange Energy Gel delivers no artificial aftertaste. However, it is only going to work for you if you are looking for no sodium and no caffeine.
Rating: 3.5/5

Photo credit: www.scienceinsport.ie

Science in Sport (SIS) GO Isotonic Energy Gel Lemon & Lime – RRP £1.29

Buy Science in Sport (SIS) GO Isotonic Energy Gel

The Science in Sport or SiS GO isotonic gel is one of the top selling gels on the market. The pleasantly mild taste of lime and lemon, the fact that they are easy to knock back without water, great digestibility and not unpleasant aftertaste are the major reasons why SiS is a favoured brand. We found the packaging a bit unwieldy but not unusable. It is available in other flavours like Orange, Blackcurrant, Apple, Pineapple, Tropical, Lemon, and Pink Grapefruit.

Nutritional Info – SiS Go Isotonic Gel Lemon & Lime

  • Serving Size – 60 ml
  • Calories/60 ml – 76 kcal
  • Calories/100 ml – 128 kcal
  • Carbohydrates – 19 grams; of which sugars – 0.5 grams
  • Fibre – 0 grams
  • Sodium – 0.01 grams
  • Caffeine – None

Our verdict: Well-established gel, not hugely exciting in terms of flavour or calorific punch.
Our Rating: 3.5/5

Photo credit: www.cnpprofessional.co.uk.

CNP Hydro Gel Passion Fruit – RRP £2

If you are a fan of fruity flavours, this bad boy really has you covered. With coconut water (concentrate) combined with fruit juice, and passion fruit, the CNP Hydro Gel will tickle your taste buds like no other gel. Although sweet, we liked the identifiable taste of natural fruit. CNP claim their gels are about getting carb calories into your system in the shortest time. We like the base of concentrated coconut water.

Nutritional Info – CNP Hydro Gel Passion Fruit

  • Serving Size – 60 grams
  • Calories/60 grams – 91 kcal
  • Calories/100 grams – 152 kcal
  • Protein – 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 22.6 grams; of which sugars – 4.6 grams
  • Total Fat – 0 grams
  • Fibre – 0 grams
  • Sodium – 0.03 grams
  • Caffeine – None

Our Verdict: The CNP Hydro Gel is at the top of the pricing range but we reckon it’s worth the price tag considering its taste.
Our rating: 4.5/5

Photo credit: www.torqfitness.co.uk.

TORQ Energy Gel Apple Crumble - RRP £1.55

TORQ is the much-loved brand among the running community. The TORQ Apple Crumble energy gel tastes as natural as any of these flavoured gels can. Its sweet and syrupy consistency makes it easy to swallow (although we like it with water). Available in more flavours such as Strawberry Yogurt, Black cherry Yogurt, Raspberry Ripple, Orange & Banana, and Rhubarb & Custard, the TORQ Energy Gels features 2:1 ratio of maltodextrin and fructose for “rapid, parallel delivery of multiple carbohydrates”.

Nutritional Info – TORQ Energy Gel Apple Crumble

  • Serving Size – 45 grams
  • Calories/45 grams – 114 kcal
  • Calories/100 grams – 255 kcal
  • Protein – 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 28.8 grams; of which sugars – 9.6 grams
  • Total Fat – 0 grams
  • Fibre – 0 grams
  • Sodium – 0.05 grams
  • Caffeine - None

Our Verdict: Now an industry standard, recognised as a runners favourite – not our favourite flavour.
Our rating: 4.0/5

Photo credit: www.guenergy.com.

GU Salted Caramel Energy Gel - RRP £1.55

Buy GU Energy Gel

The folks at GU have recognised the trend to add salt to everything and they have rolled this together with some very interesting range of flavours (Maple Bacon …?). We liked the Salted caramel. It is quite sweet but not unpleasantly so. They use the common 2:1 ratio of maltodextrin and fructose, a healthy dose of sodium and 20 mg caffeine per serving to keep you energized both physically and mentally. GU offers its energy gels in flavours like Chocolate Peanut Butter, Salted Watermelon, Maple Bacon, Cucumber Mint.

Nutritional Info – GU Salted Caramel Energy Gel

  • Serving Size – 32 grams
  • Calories/32 grams – 100 kcal
  • Calories/ 100 grams– 312 kcal
  • Protein – 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 22 grams; of which sugars – 7 grams
  • Total Fat – 0 grams
  • Fibre – 0 grams
  • Sodium – 0.125 grams
  • Caffeine – 20mg

Our verdict: The GU energy gel definitely has the highest number of calories per 100gms, and it comes in a dinky 32gm packet. It is good value and will keep you going whilst working out. Who knew Salted Watermelon flavour would be a good idea.
Our rating: 4.5/5

Photo credit: www.humagel.com.

Huma Chia Mango Energy Gel - RRP £1.99

Energy gels aren’t typically known for any significant fibre content. That is what makes Huma Chia energy gels a class apart. The Huma Chia gels contain milled chia seeds, the fibre from which facilitates a steady release of energy from the 2:1 ratio of glucose and fructose formula. The fibre coupled with high water content makes it easy for you to glug down this gel without the onset of nausea that some gels can deliver. This is a gel that doesn’t taste like a cough syrup! Flavoured with real fruit purees, the Huma Chia energy gels are also available in Apple & Cinnamon, Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Lemonade, Chocolate, Cafe Mocha, Berries & Pomegranate and Strawberry & Lemonade flavours.

Nutritional Info – Huma Chia Mango Energy Gel

  • Serving Size – 44 grams
  • Calories/44 grams – 100 kcal
  • Calories/100 grams – 227 kcal
  • Protein – 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates – 21 grams; of which sugars – 13 grams
  • Total Fat – 1 gram; Saturated Fat – 0 grams
  • Fibre – 2 grams
  • Sodium – 0.11 grams
  • Caffeine – None

Our Verdict: Tasty, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly, Huma Chia is a pricey energy gel that in our book is worth every penny.
Our Rating: 5/5

Photo credit: www.powerbar.com.

PowerBar PowerGel Hydro Cola – RRP £1.60

Buy PowerBar PowerGel Hydro

The cola flavoured PowerBar PowerGel Hydro features a mix of dried glucose syrup, maltodextrin and fructose. The 101 mg caffeine per serving is certain going to give you a lift and keep you talking to your running mates the whole way round the course. We didn’t warm to the flavour of this gel. However, it is also available in fruity flavours of cherry and orange with 50 mg caffeine and no caffeine, respectively.

Nutritional Info – PowerBar PowerGel Hydro Cola

  • Serving Size – 67 ml
  • Calories/67 ml – 102 kcal
  • Calories/100 ml – 152 kcal
  • Protein – < 0.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 25.5 grams; of which sugars – 10.7 grams
  • Total Fat – 0 grams
  • Fibre – 0 grams
  • Sodium – 0.3 grams
  • Caffeine – 101mg

Our verdict: With a very bold flavour, a high caffeine and a little sodium, this gel will deliver a boost.
Our rating: 3.5/5

Photo credit: www.mulebar.com.

MuleBar Kicks Fast Natural Energy Gel Cafe Cortado - RRP £1.50

This gel plays its coffee hand strongly. Featuring a blend of malted barley syrup, brown rice syrup and guarana, the MuleBar lives up to its name with a hefty whack of caffeine AND guarana as stimulants. Don’t have one of these as a bedtime snack. This gel is meant to be knocked back with some water. MuleBar confidently boasts that this gel packs the goodness of Himalayan crystal salts to replenish your electrolytes. You could also choose from Cherry Bomb, Salted Caramel, Lemon Zinger, and Apple Strudel flavours.

Nutritional Info – MuleBar Kicks Fast Natural Energy Gel Cafe Cortado

  • Serving Size – 37 grams
  • Calories/37 grams – 112 kcal
  • Calories/100 grams – 303 kcal
  • Protein – 0.6 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 27 grams; of which sugars –22 grams
  • Fibre – 0 grams
  • Sodium – 0.1 grams
  • Caffeine – 100mg

Our verdict: Whilst not exactly our first preference taste-wise, the MuleBar packs 100 mg caffeine and delivers what it promises.
Our rating: 4.5/5

Photo credit: www.usn.co.za.

USN Vooma Peach Energy Gel - RRP £1.00

Hailing from South Africa, the Vooma Energy Gel offers great value. It won’t win any culinary awards although the peachy tang is refreshingly different, however it really delivers a lot for the price. The chocolate variant comes with 25mg of caffeine. The Vooma gel also comes in the mainstream chocolate and vanilla flavours as well. Priced sensibly, the Vooma gels feature a balanced blend of maltodextrin, sucrose and dextrose “for a steady release of energy”.

Nutritional Info – USN Vooma Peach Energy Gel

  • Serving Size – 36 grams
  • Calories/36 grams – 100 kcal
  • Calories/100 grams – 279 kcal
  • Carbohydrates – 23.8 grams; of which sugars – 7.9 grams
  • Fibre – 0 grams
  • Sodium – 0.131 grams
  • Caffeine - None

Our Verdict: These gels whilst not the cutting edge of Gel development, are worthy of consideration – especially at this price.
Our rating: 4.0/5

So these are the top 10 energy bars of the moment. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that it will help you pick the right gel the next time you want to stuff some tasty fuel into your pack. Stay tuned for interesting upcoming posts about more best running foods.

Don't agree? What's your favourite energy gel? Leave us a comment below.

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“Before you plump for a gel, it is important to work out what you want it to do. Do you want a calorie replacement, a salt supplement, or a mule kick from caffeine?”

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Andrew.horrobin

06:54 08-02-16

Zipvit zv7 51gr of carb. Thicker than some. Easier of the stomach than sis. I per hour.