Product Review: Gels and Hydration Mixes

Jenna Lyons is an athlete that does it all. Runs, bikes, skis, you name it. She just graduated from law school and still finds time to represent Runner’s Edge as a RErun Ambassador. She recently tested a variety of gels and hydration mixes and shared her thoughts.

PRODUCT REVIEW: FRUITY GELS AND HYDRATION MIXES

To get in the mood, I recommend listening to this while you read this review:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqYxyd1iSNk

This month, I reviewed several nutrition products across a spectrum of several brands and flavors. All the products I tried were bright and fruity. In the words of Katy Perry, these gels will “give you something good to celebrate.” I sampled four products: (1) GU 25 th Anniversary Birthday Cake; (2) GU Tutti Frutti with Roctane; (3) Superieur Watermelon and Orange electrolyte drink mix; and (4) Skratch Labs passionfruit electrolyte drink mix.

GU 25 TH ANNIVERSARY BIRTHDAY CAKE GEL

As someone who is intimately familiar with Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake as my cake of choice for 25 years, I was excited to compare this gel to my favorite cake. Coincidentally, the very same year that I was born, Dr. Bill Vaughan concocted GU in his kitchen to help his daughter Laura get through the Wasatch 100 mile trail race. Since then, GU has helped many athletes get through their events. It’s not practical to carry Rainbow Chip cake in your running pack. But GU really stepped it up to celebrate their anniversary and made a delicious gel that tastes just like cake mix. They even made a special website and video about this gel: https://guenergy.com/25-years/. GU is a favorite nutrition choice for a lot of endurance athletes I know due to their wide variety of flavors. GU Energy Gels are easy to use, meaning it is easy to figure out exactly what you are eating because they contain exactly 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 50 milligrams of sodium, and 40 milligrams of potassium. I’m generally not a fan of these sugary gels, to be honest. But this birthday cake gel tasted pretty darn good and didn’t have any adverse effects on my tummy. It was pretty fun to bring a birthday party out on the trail with me, too. 

GU TUTTI FRUTTI WITH ROCTANE

If you are in need of an extra boost during a long workout, I would highly suggest the GU with Roctane. Also, if you love Fruit Loops, the Tutti Frutti flavor is right on point. The GU Energy Gels with Roctane contain an extra ingredient called Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (OKG), which GU claims will “support recovery by blocking the catabolic effects of various hormones that cause muscle trauma.” Like the normal GU gels, the Roctane gels also contain 100 Calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 50 milligrams of sodium, and 40 milligrams of potassium. Again, not a fan of the sugary gels, but this one tasted good!

SUPERIEUR HYDRATION MIX

This hydration mix is my new favorite. Mostly because it has ZERO sugar and contains ingredients that I already eat and that I can support. Some of these ingredients include acerola berry extract, bamboo extract, stevia leaf extract, organic rice, pink Himalayan sea salt, and ionic sea minerals from the Great Salt Lake. Basically, Superieur is all about nutrition that is made from real food and contains real nutrients. As someone who doesn’t like to eat sugary products regularly, I will be drinking more of these electrolytes in the future on my journey to achieve perfect hydration. By the way, the watermelon flavor was AH-MAZING.

*Screenshot from http://superieurelectrolytes.com

SKRATCH LABS PASSIONFRUIT DRINK MIX

Skratch Labs contains slightly more sugar than the Superieur drink mix (which has none). In fact, the first ingredient is sugar. Skratch Labs’ philosophy, however, is that “in the context of an active lifestyle and more specifically during prolonged or very intense exercise, sugar can be critical to helping to maintain one's blood sugar, to keeping oneself fueled, and along with sodium can significantly improve the transport of water into the body.” (see https://www.skratchlabs.com/pages/faq). I have used Skratch products for years and I really enjoyed the new passion fruit flavor. It is definitely a tried and true and effective product, especially if it is very hot outside or if you tend to sweat a lot when you are exercising. Also, in case you were wondering, Skratch Labs drink mixes are certified Kosher (by The Scroll K – Vaad Hakashrus of Denver).

So there you have it. I would encourage you to try all these great products out and see what works for you!