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Adventures of Oregon Laura Food Review: Gels and Chews
 Posted By: Laura Luksich
 Posted On: Sep 21 2010 3:18PM
On-the-go-nutrition.  Please remember to pick up your trash after consuming gels and chews!

I feel I’ve tried a bit of everything over the last year when it comes to taking in calories while on extended runs.  Some things have worked, some things have not, and some things were downright nasty.  Of course, nothing beats a handful of potato chips, a banana, a bite of bagel, or a baked potato (yes, they had potatoes as an option at the SOB 50K’s aid stations –mmmm, so good), but most often, those choices are a little too bulky to carry in a hand-held water bottle pouch or small hydration backpack.  So, we turn to finding how we can get the calories our body needs in the smallest package available.  Thus, the great minds invented Gels and Energy Chews.  I haven’t tried every flavor, but I’ve tried quite a few.  (I’ll be sure to add when I do try new flavors.) 

Overall, Hammer Nutrition wins my vote in the Gel category.  Gels aren’t my favorite calorie source by any means, but at times, it is my only option.  I’m falling a bit more in love on every run with Hammer Nutrition Gels.  The popular phrase in the running community – the more you Gu the more you poo comes to mind, but this hasn’t been the case with Hammer.    I feel their low sugar content is easy on the GI track over an extended period of time.  Even with the low sugar, they won for least artificial tasting – meaning I was able to finish an entire gel before continuing on my run.  Best flavor – ohhh, that plain old Chocolate.  Someone had said it tastes like brownie batter.  I said, yeah right.  Last Sunday, I felt as though I was eating brownie batter in the middle of a 20 mile run.  I may have been a bit delirious, and I would not recommend eating a chocolate gel to replace your brownie batter addiction, but it was a small dose of happiness from Hammer. 

I’ve always preferred Chews over Gels.  I like the option of not having to finish the entire package at once.  Quite often, I’ll just pop one or two every 30 minutes or so.  I haven’t ever had stomach issues with Chews, and that may be the reason why, despite their high sugar content.  In the Chew category, I felt Honey Stinger had the best flavor.  Clif wins on packaging, overall flavor selection, and for their popular Margarita flavor with added sodium – great on a hot and sweaty run.  The downside is that Clif Bloks are large – I find myself stopping to chew and swallow them as opposed to popping one in my mouth mid-stride.  Gu Chomps wins my vote overall for ease of consuming without stopping, choking, and minimal issues of being stuck on my teeth.
Gu Chomps                                                                   Clif Shot Blok Margarita

Coming up:
Thank goodness for technical fabrics!
Review of Electrolyte replacement drinks.
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