When I first started running, before I ever knew what energy gels were and why I would need them, I had heard of Gu. It’s a staple brand in running.
When I was first choosing which energy gel brand to purchase as a new runner, I didn’t want to default to Gu though. I wanted to be a smart shopper, so I looked at how many carbs each package contained, and how much caffeine. I know the more caffeine I have in the morning the better my run feels, but I also know if I consume caffeine in the afternoon, I’m going to have trouble sleeping at night, so it’s important to choose wisely. We all have our quirks – the good news is: there is a gel out there for each of us!
Within each brand line of gels, there is significant variation not just in flavour but in the nutrition mix between flavours. If you have specific needs, make sure to check the label of your flavour(s) and brand(s) of choice. Do you need to monitor your sugar intake carefully? Are you a ‘salty sweater’? Do you like/not like caffeine? Here’s a comparison chart of select flavours across brands to give you a sense of just how widespread the range is:
While I’m not a fan of the thick consistency of Gu gels, I do really like the lower sugar content. As a shameless sugar addict, I really don’t need to be consuming sugar-loaded gels while I’m running. I’ll save that for the Nutella at home!
Thanks to winning a store credit for Gu products via Team Running Free, I’ve also been lucky to try out energy chews – I’m a big fan! (I mean, they’re basically justifiable gummy candies, what’s not to love.) I particularly love them for longer trail runs and even grab them whenever I’m going out hiking. It’s a convenient, lightweight assurance that even if I get lost in the forest, I’ll have the energy to find my out. As with gels, there’s nutritional variation across flavours and across brands. Once again, Gu comes out the lowest on sugar. (Keep in mind the serving size for Gu is only 30g but if you double it to make it comparable, sugar still comes out lower than the other brands.)
When it comes to energy gels and chews, it’s important to choose the ones that have the right balance and flavour for you but if sugar is something you care about or are watching in your diet, Gu may be the right choice for you.