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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > GU Energy Gel > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

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November 3, 2010



NAME: Kathleen Waters
AGE: 59
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.


GU Energy gels variety
Picture Courtesy of GU Energy

Manufacturer: GU Energy Labs
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $8.10 per six-pack / $32.40 per 24-pack (one flavor).
Listed Weight: 1.1 oz (32 g)
Measured Weight: 1 oz (28 g)
Servings per Package: 1
Calories per Serving: 100
Flavors Available: Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Outrage, Just Plain, Orange Burst, Tri-Berry, Mint Chocolate, Espresso Love, Jet Blackberry, Lemon Sublime and Strawberry Banana
Flavors Reviewed: All of them!

Other details:

Espresso Love and Jet Blackberry contain 2X the caffeine as the other caffeinated Gels.
Lemon Sublime and Strawberry Banana contain no caffeine.

GU Energy Usage Instructions: "100 calories is an ideal serving size to suck down 15 minutes before training or racing in order to top off your electrolyte and glucose stores, followed by one every 30-45 minutes along the way, washed down with a few sips of fluid.

For optimum results, always drink at least 24-30 ounces of fluid per hour during training and racing."


Like the GU Energy Chomps (see my review of them also on this site) I discovered these culinary trail treats during a trip to the Outdoor Retail Show in Salt Lake City last summer. Since I had discovered the Chomps the previous day while wending my way through the many vendor booths touting the latest and greatest in outdoor gear, I again headed for the GU Energy counter with their glass bowls of shiny packages of goodies.

This time, I grabbed one of the silver foil gel pouches, tore open the pouch and squeezed the thick opaque semi-solid "paste" into my mouth. Mmmm, chocolate mint! It tasted great! I was immediately hooked.

GU Energy Gels (hereafter called "Gels") are packaged in a silver foil wrapper about the size of my Fuze mp3 player (approx. 3 x 2 inches/7.5 x 5 cm). Tearing the easy to open package reveals a small opening through with the Gel is squeezed out and into my mouth.

When it comes to sustenance on the trail, I have three questions for a product. Does it taste good? Does it satisfy my hunger pangs? Is it easy to pack and use? The answers in three words are "Yes, Yes & Yes!"
Gel vs mp3 player

Do GU Energy Gels taste good?

Starting with taste, I've tried all the flavors and with the exception of Espresso Love, I love them. The Espresso Love flavor tastes sort of coffee-ish, I guess, but I don't like coffee - I'm a "tea" baby. All the flavors are authentic to their names. I have to say my absolute favorite is the first one I tried - Mint Chocolate. At one sitting, I could easily eat way more of them than needed for energy, just for the taste of them.

Do GU Energy Gels satisfy my hunger pangs?

There is probably a scientific reason for why chewing food is so much more pleasurable than just swallowing it. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against liquids. I just feel "fuller" when I've had the pleasure of biting down on my food rather than sipping it down. While the Gels are not solid, they are not liquid either but something in-between. They have a good "mouth-feel" and I don't just gulp them down but savor them. For me, this equates to more like "eating" than drinking and more hunger satisfaction, albeit, maybe mentally rather than physically.
2 TBS of Gel
One Serving Equals About 2 Tablespoons
According to GU Energy, each serving of GU Gels "will provide enough fuel for approximately 45-60 minutes of activity." And, "For optimal results, always drink 24 to 30 ounces (710 to 887 ml) of fluid per hour of exercise." The main ingredients for the Gels are "Maltodextrin, Filtered Water, Fructose, and GU's Amino Blend." Since two out of the first three ingredients are forms of sugar, I can understand the "energy" part of GU Energy! Sugar naturally provides a quick boost during exertion. I'm guessing the "Amino Blend" part of the equation makes the boost more than just a "burst".

As with the GU Energy Chomps, I do not use Gels as a meal substitute. I don't think that is what they are intended for, but rather as a high energy snack when I am working hard on the trail, hiking or snowshoeing. I have found that eating a serving of Gels in-between meals, or on a particularly hard stretch of trail, gives me a little boost of energy to get me through another hour or so until I am able to actually eat a meal. I can actually push myself with another serving of Gels after the recommended 45-60 minutes but after that, if I was hungry before,
I'm hungry then and nothing but real food is going to do it for me.

So, GU Energy Gels with their "proven blend of carbohydrates, amino acids, antioxidants and electrolytes do work for me to satisfy my hunger pangs and give me an hour or so worth of energy.

Are GU Energy Gels easy to pack and use?

As I try to lighten up my load on the trail, one of the ways I look to do so is, food. I can't do without lots of water, my extra socks, camera, headlamp, extra base layer, etc., nor can I make them lighter, but I'm trying to be smarter about food choices. While I'm already down to dehydrated pasta and foil pouches of tuna, my on-the-trail snacking treats consisted mostly of trail bars.

A package of GU Energy Gels at 1.1 oz (32 g) weigh less than most trail bars, are certainly smaller and fit in more corners (and smaller pockets). That's a bonus for me. I also don't have to worry about them being smashed to smithereens at the bottom of my pack, either.

I have stored, carried and consumed the Gels in temperatures as low as 15 F (-9 C) and as high as 104 F (40 C). No degradation of the product has been noted due to any temperature extreme as far as taste. Below freezing, the Gels become a little thicker, but are still usable. When ole Sol has blazed down on my backpack for hours, the Gels become more liquid and sticky but still easy to consume. In either temperature extreme, the Gels are still very tasty.

Thanks to their sealed foil pouches, precipitation has no effect on the Gels. The foil pouch has an easy to tear notch and crumples up when empty to next to nothing, size and weight-wise for packing out. I have never had one of the Gel's pack puncture, either. Neat! And now I've answered my three questions!


1.) Great selection of tasty flavors
2.) Convenient to pack, easy to open, minimal waste to pack out
3.) Satisfies my hunger as well as my taste
4.) Provides a real energy boost


1.) Nearest dealer is 35 miles (56 km) from me
2.) Not the most graceful thing to eat!


I love these things! As a food source, GU Energy Gels do what I need them to do. First and foremost (for me), mouth-watering favors satisfy my taste buds. Secondly, the sound nutritional composition of the Gels temporarily quiets my grumbling tummy and lifts my energy. I know the priority should be the other way around, but if I don't like the taste, I'm not going to eat it!

So, all that, without extra weight or bulk in my pack! Neat!

I've even taken to carrying a Gel or two with me almost everywhere "just-in-case" for that odd energy slump. Thank you, GU Energy, for such a useful and tasty trail treat!

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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