Review: PowerGel Original Lemon-Lime, a Solid Option

PowerGel Original Lemon-Lime is a 41g energy gel that provides 107 calories and 26.7g of carbohydrates, of which 9.8g are sugars. The main sources of sugar are maltodextrin and fructose. It also contains 205 mg of sodium. The texture is a very thick syrup and the taste is cough medicine-like and missing the usual tartness in other lemon-lime products.

__________________________________

 

With PowerBar’s rich sports nutrition history, I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve tried the brand’s PowerGel energy gels.

PowerBar is the world’s first manufacturer of energy bars for use in endurance competitions. If you’re like me, a 90s kid that came of age in the Pacific Northwest of the US, you’re no stranger to PowerBar’s rise in popularity during the decade. Not just the jocks were eating it. Many high school classmates ate the chewy bar as an everyday snack.

90s nostalgia, indeed.

 

Without further ado, here is my experience after using PowerBar’s PowerGel Original energy gels on a 16km run.

 

Marketing claims

Here are four bullet points from the company:

  • Improved packaging.
  • C2MAX Dual Source Carb Mix contains a special ratio of glucose and fructose sources.
  • Designed for rapid absorption and transport of energy to working muscles to help improve endurance performance.
  • With sodium, the primary electrolyte lost through sweat.

Nothing outrageous here. After going through the product pages, I have to say PowerGel Original is a standard energy gel that give you what you need. It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel.

Ingredients

  • Maltodextrin
  • Water
  • Fructose
  • Sodium chloride
  • Sodium citrate
  • Citric acid
  • Flavoring
  • Preservatives (sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate)

Maltodextrin provides glucose, and fructose offers another pathway for the body to produce energy during exercise.

I assume maltodextrin (glucose source) and fructose are the main ingredients for its “C2MAX Dual Source Carb Mix.” I couldn’t find the exact ratio of the two sugars, but it’s typically 2:1 glucose : fructose or near 1:1 in energy gels I’ve tested before.

 

Nutritional facts

Each pack of PowerGel Orginal is 41g and provides the following:

  • 107 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 26.7g carbohydrates, of which 9.8g are sugars
  • 0.4g protein
  • 205 mg sodium

At 41g, this energy gel is definitely on the heavy side. Yet its 26.7g carbohydrate content is higher than the conventional 20g in most gels.

 

Taste and consistency – cough syrup-like

I had the Lemon-Lime flavor. For some reason, in my head, I associated it with Gatorades’ lemon-lime sports drink. Their flavors couldn’t be more different. PowerGel Orginal Lemon-Lime is of the sweet-syrupy-medicine kind.

Too sweet and thick for me. I prefer more tartness in lemon or lime energy gels.

 

Packaging – less litter

I applaud energy gel brands that innovate, particularly regarding packaging. Please see photos.

The package has what the company dubbed the “trash chain” near the opening. After you ripped open the gel, the little piece that often becomes litter stayed attached to the sachet. Me likey.

However, the energy gel is big, about 15cm long. Make sure it fits in your fuel-carrying gear before purchasing.

Performance – a solid option

It was an early morning run on an empty stomach – 16km easy, with the last 4km at marathon effort to let loose and practice pacing. I took one energy gel minutes before the run and a second one at the 9km mark. I also carried a 500ml flask of water.

Some takeaways

  • Since it wasn’t a high-intensity or super-long workout, I wouldn’t say I thoroughly test-drove PowerGel Original. However, it kept me going despite running on an empty stomach. I ate dinner early the night before at 5pm, so I definitely wasn’t topped off to start the run.
  • The energy gel set well. My stomach didn’t grumble and didn’t make me gassy like some other gels (my poor training partners).
  • The taste wasn’t horrible, but since it’s a 41g energy gel, you have to ingest more of it to get the full dose, exacerbating the below-average flavor.
  • Mouth-to-muscle time was about 6-7 minutes based on the second gel I took at the 9km mark. Not the fastest-reacting fuel I’ve tried, but the energy surge was noticeable when it came.
  • The packaging is worth mentioning again. I really like it. It’s easy to open, and I don’t have to worry about accidentally dropping bits and pieces of the energy gel sachet.
  • I only had to bring one packet for the run, so size wasn’t a concern that morning. However, I can imagine it being cumbersome if I have to carry 5-7 of this gel on a marathon.

 

Conclusion

It’s a solid option. It’s not trying to throw a boatload of technology at you. It won’t bowl you over with extras. The ingredient list is simple, and the package is well-designed.

It’s a race fuel with ample carbohydrates and sodium. For us weekend warriors, it has everything we truly need.

Taste and consistency are below average, but this is highly subjective. I’m sure many people find it acceptable since it’s one of the best-selling brands in the world.

I give PowerGel Original Lemon-Lime a neutral rating. If the only option I see in a running store is PowerGel Original, I will have no problem using it because I know it will get the job done. However, I’m sure I can find something equally effective but better fit my taste preference in a real-life store.

_______________________________________

Need a little motivation to head out the door? Here are some fan-favorites from our “Inspiration” section. Happiness happens when you run.