Energy gels are usually based on a fast release carbohydrate to provide a source of energy that your body can take in easily and use, but not all gels are the same!
The source of carbohydrate, the amount and the tonicity of the gel can all vary greatly. You really need to consider this to make sure you get the best performance out of your gel.
SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gels are formulated from a very specific type of maltodextrin, taken from corn that we have grown for us to order in France.
What happens to your energy gel when you take it?
The gel is ingested as maltodextrin in the mouth.
The isotonic formula allows the gel to empty from the stomach quickly as no osmotic pressure is created, i.e. no fluid needs to be drawn into your stomach to dilute the gel.
With hypertonic gels (those made of fructose or glucose for example) the drawing in of extra fluid can lead to feelings of bloating, and the speed at which they empty from your stomach is slowed down.
This slows the availability of the energy in the gel. Isotonic formulas are known to empty twice as fast as hypertonic formulas (Vist & Maughan 1995).
Maltodextrin is broken down to glucose (which has a high GI) and is absorbed in the small intestine.
Fructose is a simple sugar with a low GI. It has to be processed by the liver before it is available for use by the working muscles.
Not all maltodextrin is the same
Avoiding simple sugars is key to creating an isotonic formula that is easy on the stomach. But not all maltodextrins are the same either. Our corn-based maltodextrin is of a certain molecular weight, this allows us to create an isotonic gel.
The picture above shows jars all containing 20g of carbohydrate. However, as you can see, the properties of each of the carbohydrates is very different, but all are commonly used in the sports nutrition market. SiS maltodextrin is the jar on the far right, you can see how easily the carbohydrate has dissolved.
The other three are different waxy maize starches and a barley starch, which you can see do not mix well at all, would certainly not be isotonic and would take an awfully long time to empty from your stomach.
Remember to read the label!
The key things to look for on the nutrition panel is the amount of carbohydrate and check the ìof which sugarsî line. You should look for as little sugar as possible. The more sugar is listed there, the higher the tonicity will be, the more water you will need to take with it and the greater the risk will be of the gel causing you gastric distress.
Check the ingredients list, and look for maltodextrin as one of the first listed. In an isotonic gel water will be first on the list. In some gels you will find slightly higher carbohydrate contents per serving, but this is because those gels will not be isotonic.