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Get the balance incorrect and energy gels can cause more bad than good. And when things go wrong, they can go really wrong…


  • If you have a particularly sensitive tummy, you might find it best to rely on carbohydrate drinks rather than gels for energy replacement.
  • If you like using gels however, try experimenting with different brands and types; you may find a lowerosmolality gel, which is easier on the tummy.
  • At very high rates of carbohydrate intake (above 80g per hour) carbohydrate drinks may be easier on the tummy than gels regardless of whether you have a sensitive tummy.
  • For every 20g of gel carbohydrate consumed (the average content per sachet), aim to consume around 250mls of water.
  • If you take gels topped up with plain water, try to consume water with your gels rather than at random times in between gels.
  • If you consume all your carbohydrate in gel form, top up with plain water rather than carbohydrate drink (which would supply surplus carbohydrate).
  • Like caffeinated carbohydrate drinks, gels containing caffeine are best used sparingly and towards the later stages of a longer event when the fatigue-fighting properties of caffeine.

Click HERE to read our in-depth analysis of the benefits of using energy gels.