GU Energy Chews are energy gel alternatives that serve the same purpose of quick energy delivery during competition. They are gelatin gummy-like drops that are chewy rather than gooey. The benefits are that you can easily take them in smaller portions. Whereas once you open a gel, you’re committed to consuming the entire energy gel. The downside is that they are a bit of a hassle to take out of the packaging while running.
My quick takeaway: The chews taste like orange gummy candy, not overly sweet and pretty strong orange flavor. I would definitely recommend them for activities where you stop to consume them – maybe ultramarathons where you have some time to properly open the package and take them out. I had to fumble around when I tried to consume them during my 63km road race.
What are GU Energy Chews – marketing claims
Here’s a quick summary of what GU Energy people claim about the product and our thoughts based on our experience trying the product:
- Similar nutritional profile as the original GU Energy Gels. Yes, we can confirm that they deliver 90 calories per serving in a maltodextrin/fructose format.
- The chews also add amino acid mix to help with muscle recovery and “reduce mental fatigue”. Their website indicates that these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
- The chews also contain 40 mg of Sodium which helps with hydration. As a heavy sweater, I can attest that these did just fine with keeping me supplied with the salt I was losing during the race.
What are the ingredients of GU Energy Chews Orange Flavor?
I tried the orange flavor. Here are the listed ingredients, and some thoughts about them:
- The carbohydrates (fast sugars) are delivered via Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Sugar, and Maltodextrin which can help you raise your blood sugar fast.
- Pectin is there to help gelatinize the product, with sunflower oil and carnauba wax to also help with texture.
- Citric Acid adds some tartness to the flavor and the acidity helps with shelf life. Similarly, Sodium Citrate is usually used as a flavor enhancer and preservative.
- L-Leucine, L-Valine, and L-Isoleucine are the three branched chain amino acids (BCAA). They help with preventing fatigue and kick starting muscle recovery.
- Natural flavor and sea salt are there to make the chews palatable, with the salt also helping boost the Sodium content for hydration.
Nutritional information of GU Energy Chews
Comparing the chews to GU Roctane Energy gels, this fuel is just a tiny bit less calorie dense at 3 calories per gram versus 3.125 calories per gram in GU Roctane. The Roctane delivers more than 3 times the Sodium at 125 mg for GU Roctane vs 40 mg for GU Energy Chews.
Packaging and transportability of GU Energy Chews
This is where I have some issues with GU Energy Chews. I took the packet out while slowing down to a jog on an uphill and opened the packet via the pre-cut open slit.
The packet by default ripped just enough to let one chew out at a time and it was very hard to shake them out. I had to tear the package a bit more to actually pull the chews out.
On the plus side, I was able to manage the consumption to a couple chews at a time and the remaining chews stayed secure in the pack for later.
My final thoughts on the experience with GU Energy Chews
I was happy with the energy delivery, taste, sodium content of the GU Energy Chews. I was a little disappointed in the packaging. Apparently I’m not alone – the negative comments which I read on their website also confirmed my experience.
There used to be a different package for the chews before – a long cylindrical packaging, but I didn’t see that as being available anymore.
Runivore Will’s take
I tested the watermelon flavor of the GU Energy Chews. The ingredient list and nutritional content are very similar to that of the orange flavor Runivore Tom tried but with a few more items for coloring and fruity flavoring.
I used the chews on a 23 km trail run with 1800 m+ elevation. It’s the course of Explore Your Backyard, a race we organized out here in Taiwan.
Let’s start with the pros:
1. If you’re a fan of gummy treats, you will find the GU Energy Chews enjoyable. I certainly did. They don’t taste like watermelon to me, but I liked the flavor and texture nonetheless.
2. I don’t know how many pieces are in the packet, but I like that there are many, and they’re small. If you have a more sensitive stomach, this fuel format is excellent for controlling your carbohydrate intake compared to possibly overwhelming your digestive system by gulping down a full gel.
And here are the cons:
1. 90 g of calories, 22 g of carbohydrates, and 40 g of sodium are not a lot of fuel for the amount of chewing required. Chewing may break up your breathing rhythm, so I recommend eating the chews during easier segments.
2. I agree with Runivore Tom. The packaging isn’t optimized for easy access. Due to this weakness, I would reserve the GU Energy Chews for more leisurely paces and longer adventures. In these situations, slowing down to properly fuel isn’t detrimental to performance and might even be the smarter move.
To solve the sub-par packaging issue, repack the chews into a zip lock bag of your choice pre-workout/race. Same great taste and energy boost, much easier to open and consume.