We continue our guide to the best energy gels of 2015...
Clif Shot Energy Gel
Clif’s raspberry gel is another quite concentrated formulation, each very compact 34g sachet delivering no less than 24g of carbohydrate as a maltodextrin/dried cane syrup blend. There’s also added raspberry juice and sea salt to provide sodium.
Particularly smart is the ‘no litter’ design. Open the sachet (which is extremely easy) and the removed tab stays attached – no more sticky gel tops to carry!
The concentrated formulation makes for a very thick consistency (you’ll need water with these), which also had a slightly powdery aftertaste. The raspberry flavour is very authentic but sweet, all of which resulted in a rather rich and sickly experience overall. The 6.6p per gram of carbs is fairly high too.
Verdict: Portable and well-packaged, but consistency and taste may be off-putting, 76%
Nectar Sports Fuel Cell
One of the more compact gels on test, each easy-to-open 40ml sachet (from the Brit team behind For Goodness Shakes) provides 20.3g of carbohydrate as a 2:1 maltodextrin (glucose)/fructose blend, as well as vitamin C and useful levels of a number of B vitamins. There are no added electrolytes however.
Tested on the move, these gels are easy to carry and open, with a consistency worth praising for its smoothness and refreshing quality without being too watery.
The lemon and lime flavour is very tangy and authentic, although with tanginess comes acidity – which isn’t so welcome for sensitive stomachs. The main downside, however, is cost – at 7.3p per gram of carbohydrate, these don’t come cheap.
Verdict: Compact sachets and good-tasting 2:1 formulation, but pricey, 84%
Torq Raspberry Gel
Torq’s raspberry ripple flavour gel is another 2:1 maltodextrin/fructose formulation, with each relatively compact 45g sachet delivering no less than 28.8g of carbohydrate.
In addition, Torq adds the five electrolyte minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride) to its formula, while the raspberry flavour is derived from natural ingredients.
In use, opening the sachet was a little fiddly and resulted in sticky hands. The ingredients are highly rated, however; despite the relatively high carb content, the consistency is smooth and light to swallow, while the taste is excellent – packed with natural raspberry flavour, but not overly sweet. 5.4p per gram of carbs is competitive as well.
Verdict: Excellent formulation, consistency and taste at a decent price, 88%
Formulated with a strong emphasis on natural ingredients, each 37g sachet of Mule Bar’s salted caramel gel contains 25g of carbohydrate. This is derived from organic brown rice syrup and agave nectar for fast- and medium-speed-releasing energy, respectively.
There’s also organic cocoa, skimmed milk powder, natural flavourings and added sodium from Himalayan sea salt. The sachet is compact and fairly easy to open. The consistency is thick, with a slightly powdery texture, and you’ll definitely want water chasers.
The taste, however, is delicious – sweet but not sickly, with a very authentic flavour. And given all the natural ingredients, the 6.4p per gram of carbohydrate price is surprisingly good.
Verdict: Somewhat thick consistency, but great taste and all-natural ingredients, 85%
Dwarfing the carbohydrate content of other gels, each 60ml sachet of ZipVit’s ZV7 energy gel contains no less than 51g of carbs (as maltodextrin and sucrose), rounded off with a little sea salt to provide sodium.
Using all-natural flavours, the material value on offer is clearly excellent at just 2.9p per gram of carbohydrate. However, the consistency is rather thick, with an unwelcome powdery texture.
The banana flavour is authentic, but was somewhat overpowered by the sweetness, making for a slightly sickly sensation overall. The sachets are also quite a struggle to open on the move. All of which is disappointing, given how much we rate their Kiwi gel that topped our grouptest scores last time around.
Verdict: Lots of carbs per buck, but falls short in taste, consistency and portability, 70%
The standard of gels continues to rise, but which will we be slurping this season?
Reaching a definitive conclusion in a test like this is no easy task, especially given that characteristics such as taste and consistency are very subjective in nature. There’s also the issue of cost – important if you’re a keen gel user. Among the group of 10 here, however, certain gels impressed.
Of the caffeinated gels, CNP’s Hydro Gel Max offered a great taste and consistency, with a natural formulation to boot. Of the low-water gels, Torq’s offering had an excellent raspberry ripple taste, a very smooth consistency and a great formulation.
High5’s energy gel, meanwhile, is a good all-rounder: compact and easy to open, natural ingredients, pleasant tasting and good value. If you’re sick of fruit flavours and prefer a thick gel, check out Mule Bar’s salted caramel gel. It’s not the smoothest consistency, but its taste is very moreish and it should be very appealing in cooler conditions.
For a lighter, more watery gel, OTE’s blackcurrant gel is well-crafted with a superb taste and low acidity – perfect for sensitive stomachs. And it’s this gel from the Lancashire-hailing brand that takes the honours in this hotly-contested face-off.
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