Energy Gel Comparison: GU Roctane vs. Maurten Gel 100

GU Roctane vs. Maurten Gel 100 summary: Maurten gets the edge, but it’s a photo finish. The Swedish brand won out for one reason, something called taste fatigue. I usually consume 6-7 energy gels for a marathon. I can’t imagine eating that many GU Roctane in less than three hours. Maurten, on the other hand, offers a milder sweetness that’s much easier on my taste buds.

 

Runivore energy gel comparison of GU and Maurten

 

GU Energy Labs is the OG, the most popular. The energy gel brand that all newcomers measure themselves against. Maurten Sports Fuel is a relatively young company founded in 2015. It ushered in different ideas, such as encapsulating carbohydrates in a hydrogel and a 1:0.8 glucose-to-fructose ratio.

While both brands produce sports nutrition for endurance athletics, they have different philosophies for product design, product portfolio, and marketing philosophies. Over the years, we have run many miles fueled by their energy gels and consider both to be some of the best the sports nutrition market has to offer.

So today, we will let them go head to head in this edition of our gel comparison.

GU Roctane Strawberry Kiwi versus Maurten Gel 100. Can the king hang on to the throne? LET’S GO!

Product highlights

GU Roctane

  • Three times the sodium and branched-chain amino acids compared with its Original gel series.
  • Contains taurine, which can maintain heart contractility and improve cardiac output.
  • Contains beta-alanine, which can promote the formation of the intramuscular buffer carnosine to delay fatigue onset.
  • Provides the same amount of carbohydrates as Original since the body can only absorb so many calories at a time anyways.

Read our full GU Roctane review

Maurten Gel 100

  • Carbohydrates encapsulated in a hydrogel can bypass the stomach to the intestines, where they can be absorbed faster and without causing gastrointestinal distress.
  • A 0.8:1 ratio of fructose to glucose allows an athlete to take up to 100 g of carbohydrates per hour.

Read our full Maurten review.

GU Roctane packed all the bells and whistles, more electrolytes and amino acids. Maurten, on the other hand, introduced technology never-before-used in the sports fuel sector and redefined the glucose-fructose combination.

 

Ingredients

The difference between the two companies is especially notable in this aspect. While GU Roctane’s list is characteristically long, Maurten simplified it to six ingredients – no extras, pretty much just sugar and sodium.

In this category, I give Maurten the edge. Slamming down a sugary concoction is not healthy. We only do it because we want to perform. In my opinion, a simple energy gel with the least amount of artificial ingredients is likely to be less harmful.

GU Roctane Strawberry Kiwi

Maltodextrin, water, fructose, L-leucine, taurin, sodium citrate, L-valine, natural flavors, potassium citrate, malic acid, citric acid, calcium carbonate, beta-alanine, L-isoleucine, sea salt, gellan gum, medium chain triglycerides, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate

Maurten Gel 100

Water, glucose, fructose, calcium carbonate, gluconic acid, sodium alginate

Nutritional facts

Looking at the nutritional profiles, they are not too dissimilar. Both offer 100 calories, but Maurten delivers the energy via a heavier package. Regarding carbohydrates, GU Roctane provides significantly less but includes a boatload of sodium and a generous dose of BCAAs, its main selling points.

Maurten: 1 x 40 g sachet provides the following:

  • 100 calories
  • Carbohydrate 25 g (all sugar)
  • Fat 0 g
  • Protein 0 g
  • Sodium 35 mg
  • Calcium 21.6 mg

GU Roctane: 1 x 32 g sachet provides the following:

  • 100 calories
  • Carbohydrates 21 g, with 6 g of sugars.
  • Fat 0g
  • Protein 0g
  • Calcium 30 mg 
  • Sodium 125 mg 
  • A blend of amino acids totaling 1425 mg

 

Taste and consistency

I tested the GU Roctane’s Strawberry Kiwi flavor, but the product series consists of 11 other options, including some unique flavors such as Tutti Frutti and Blueberry Pomegranate.

Maurten offers one other energy gel, Caf 100. It tastes the same but with 100 mg of caffeine added.

 

 

I’m of the school that there are no tasty energy gels, but some are palatable. Slamming down a fruity syrup will never be enjoyable, but I have been using GU since I started running, so I’m used to them.  In the flavor department, GU Roctane Strawberry Kiwi offers no surprises. If you’re a fan of GU, you should have zero issues. It’s light with a pleasant tartness kick. One of the better fruity gels I’ve tried.

Maurten is mildly sweet with a unique consistency similar to jello that’s not quite completely set. The Swedish company created a “neutral” taste to make energy gels more tasteless to solve the unsolvable flavor issue. In a roundabout way, the company provided a good solution.

Maurten gets the W in my book.

 

Packaging

Both energy gels’ sachets are well designed. They will fit in almost any fuel-carrying gear – compression belts, hydration vests, running short pockets, etc.

I have one minor quibble with Maurten, but it’s nitpicking. Both the top and bottom of its sachet are the same width, which makes it difficult to distinguish them by touch. When going at higher intensities and wearing gloves in cold weather, you have to pay closer attention to where the pre-cut opening is located. A tiny inconvenience when your focus should be on maintaining your running rhythm.

Regardless, it’s a tie.

 

Performance

Both GU Roctane and Maurten worked well for me. They sustain my energy levels and never give me stomach stress, whether marathons, ultras, or cycling.

I do feel more of an instant boost when I eat GU Roctane. I heard on a podcast that Maurten’s lack of “surge” could be due to its carbohydrates being encapsulated in a hydrogel, preventing the enzyme salivary amylase in your mouth from immediately processing the simple sugars. However, I couldn’t find research studies to substantiate this reasoning.

I also want to point out that a surge feeling is usually due to a significant spike in blood sugar. It might be nice to feel a boost when you want to speed up or tackle a big climb, but big blood sugar peaks and troughs could harm overall performance.

Another tie.

The verdict

I want to reiterate that GU Roctane and Maurten Gel 100 work very well for me. It’s like picking between pancakes or waffles, Magic or Bird, Aspen or Vail. There is no wrong choice.

However, I have Maurten winning by a hair. The reason is something called taste fatigue.

For example, I usually consume 6-7 energy gels for running an all-out marathon. I simply can’t imagine eating that many GU Roctane gels under three hours. Sweetness overdose is a likely outcome.

Maurten, on the other hand, offers a milder sweetness that’s much easier on my taste buds. If I can only go with one brand for an entire race, I’m going with Maurten.

But be reminded that GU Roctane’s high electrolyte concentration might be the better pick in hot and humid conditions.

Fortunately, in the real world, we can mix and match according to different situations and flavor preferences. Fueling is often more art than science. We hope you find this GU Roctane versus Maurten Gel 100 comparison informative. As always, practice your fueling and discover what works for you.

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