Energy Gels and drinks

I just read an interesting article by a "leading nutritionist" from the USA, about taking energy gels while training for and competing in long distance events explaining that the high sugar content can be lethal if not backed up by a high fluid intake IE water while pushing the body to the brink of exhaustion, apparently the sugars thicken the blood putting excess strain on the heart leading to cardiac arrest and stroke.

I have never used them and in preparation for my training for my first Ironman was researching the pro's and con's of them.

Does anyone have any experience or opinion on the negative affects of energy gels ?


  • So so long as you're drinking - there's no problem ?

    You don't have to have gels - but they are convenient to take whilst exercising.

    Energy gel is just a very thick sports drink isnt it ? On the bike leg I put gels into my bottles and dilute them (thanks TC !) so you can get the gel and fluid at the same time.

    Bike also lets you eat normal ish food too - so you can have flapjack etc to keep you going.

    If you're worried about excess strain on the heart - best give IM a swerve.
  • Do you have a link to the article toasty? 

  • Not sure that i can get my head around the idea of the sugar thickening the blood in one day......

    how many people would take loads of gels and not drink any fluids.....

    my gels i take are isotonic so come with water

  • I know not all do, bu don't most gels need to be taken with water just to swallow the them anyway?

  • "apparently the sugars thicken the blood putting excess strain on the heart leading to cardiac arrest and stroke."

    sounds like pesudo-scientific bollocks frankly - as said, do you have the link to the article???   sugars do not "thicken" blood - dehydration and excessive red blood cells (high haematocrit - often caused by illegal use of EPO) will make blood "thicker".  so maybe the article is really talking about dehydration as a result of taking non-isotonic gels

  • I'm just trying to find the article on the web, cant remember the site as I read a few while surfing the web, I don't know anything about sports gels and this was the only real negative piece I read, just wondered if people had any negative opinion of them.

    I am just beginning to push my training toward long distance's and am researching  advise on nutrition for endurance training.

  • I don't think anything negative per se. 
    Jam sandwiches work just as well though : )


  • When playing Rugby and after training training I always used to bring along a toasted cheese and peanut butter sandwich and a banana, which is where my nickname came from, maybe I should take a few toasties on my long bike rides and see how I go, maybe try jam too



  • Did they say that only eating donuts would have the same effect. Also eating steak and chips.

    Sure if you exercise hard you need to consume fluids. Gels often state a quantity of water to take with them. Helps balance the stomach and absorb them quickly.

    Others say they can be taken without water - guess what? They are watery compared to the others.

    So it comes down to are you taking a concetrated or diluted energy solution.


    Also be warned if you take gels while not exercising then they may cause weight gain.

Sign In or Register to comment.