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# Analysis of 217 Energy Gels

Updated: Feb 23

This first blog post crunches the numbers on the __Energy Gel Table__ to identify the typical nutritional profile of gels. As at mid-Jan 2020, the table had **217 energy gel products** from **65 different brands**.

Note, a good proportion of gel products from the same brand only differ in flavour. They comprise substantially the same presence and dosage of active ingredients, not varying (materially) in: *sachet size, calories, primary carbohydrate source, caffeine, electrolytes, amino acids and vitamins. *

To minimise duplication and noise in the __table__, we collapse homogeneous gels into the same row, marking in "column C" how many flavours the product comes in. Hence, all 217 gels are discreetly different from each other. Though, they represent a much larger universe of available gel lines, perhaps closer to 500-700.

**Gel Size**

The median* gel size is **37g, **average of **42g**.

The typical range, where two-thirds of all gels fall into (roughly 1 standard deviation in statistical terms), is **30-60g**.

** When all gels are lined up from smallest to largest, the Median is the middle number, or 109th of 217 gels.*

**Calories**

The median gel has **100 calories, **average of **106 calories**.

Two-thirds of all gels fall between **81-118 calories**.

When comparing Calories to Gel Size, to establish **energy density**, we find that the median gel has **2.68 calories per gram** (average 2.65).

This varies greatly, with two-thirds of all gels falling between **1.85-3.13 calories per gram.**

**Carbohydrate (amount)**

The median gel has **23g **of Carbohydrates (Carbs), average of **24g**.

Two-thirds of all gels fall between **18-38 grams**.

Looking at the **sugar component**, as defined by the gel's nutritional table.

The median gel has **11g **of sugar, average of **12g**...roughly half of the top-line carb number.

Variance is quite wider here, with two-thirds of all gels falling between **4-18 grams **of sugar.

It should be noted that __Maltodextrin__, the most common carb source of gels, is not considered a sugar in nutritional tables. It is a polysaccharide, and gets tabulated in the topline carb number only, even though it is known to be easily and quickly digested in the body.

Fructose (e.g. fruit), Glucose (e.g. some syrups), Lactose (e.g. milk products), Sucrose (e.g. table sugar) and Maltose do __come under the sugar number__.

Hence, the high usage of Maltodextrin somewhat skews down the sugar total.

When comparing Carbs to Gel Size, to establish **carb density**, we find that the median gel has **0.64 carbs per gram** (average **0.59**).

Two-thirds of all gels fall between **0.39-0.73 carbs per gram.**

**Carbohydrate (main sources)**

We first looked at which carb is the first to feature in the ingredient list.

This is a gel's ** largest carb source** (see column Y of the

__Energy Gel Table__

__)__:

**Maltodextrin** is the largest carb source of 91 gels, or 42% of the list.

Followed by **Glucose** (26 gels, 12%)

**Glucose-Fructose Mix** (16 gels, 7%)

** Agave** (14 gels, 6%)

**Fruit **(13 gels, 6%), which doesn't include straight **Fructose **(4 gels, 2%)

** Honey **(11 gels, 5%)

**Rice** (11 gels, 5%)

**Isomaltulose** (6 gels, 3%)

**Dextrose** (5 gels, 2%)

Next, we look at the gel's ** second carb source** (see column Z of the

__Energy Gel Table__

__)__

**.**

**Fructose **(or a carrier of, like Fruit) is the 2nd major carb source of **40% of gels**. Presumably as some manufacturers aim to achieve a 2:1 Glucose-to-Fructose balance:

** Fructose **(44 gels, 20%)** **

** Fruit **(41 gels, 19%)** **

** Maltodextrin** (27 gels, 12%)

** Dextrose** (19 gels, 9%)

**Glucose** (10 gels, 5%)

**Rice** (9 gels, 4%)

**Isomaltulose** (4 gels, 2%)

** Honey **(3 gels, 1%)

**Protein, Fat & Fibre**

Over **75% of gels** have **zero or <0.5g of protein**.

The same goes for** fat and fibre**.

Of the 41 gels that have >0.5g of ** protein**, the median value is

**1.0g**and average

**2.7g**, with two-thirds of these gels falling between

**0.5-5.0g**of protein.

Of the 40 gels that have >0.5g of ** fat**, the median value is

**1.5g**and average

**4.4g**, with two-thirds of these gels falling between

**1.0-9.0g**of fat.

Of the 38 gels that have >0.5g of ** fibre**, the median value is

**1.0g**and average

**1.7g**. Only 2 gels have >3g of fibre.

**Electrolytes **

__Sodium__

Only **15 gels** (7%) have **zero** amounts of sodium.

The median gel has **49mg** of sodium, average of **82mg**.

Two-thirds of all gels fall between **11-157mg.**

*Note, in the *__table____,__ if the gel's nutritional table states salt instead of sodium, we have converted over to sodium by dividing the salt amount by 2.5.

**Potassium**

**118 gels** (54%) have **zero** potassium.

Of the 90 gels that have potassium, the median value is **50mg** and average **87mg**, with two-thirds of these gels falling between **18-169mg** of potassium.

__Magnesium__

**171 gels** (79%) have **zero** magnesium.

Of the 33 gels that have magnesium, the median value is **10mg** and average **41mg**, with two-thirds of these gels falling between **1-63mg** of magnesium.

**Caffeine**

Most brands offer gels with and without caffeine.

Of the 89 gels (41%) in the __table__ that have caffeine, the median value is **45mg** and average **53mg**, with two-thirds of these gels falling between **25-90mg** of caffeine.

**Amino Acids and Vitamins**

**41 gels** (19%) have some ** Amino Acids**. Common examples include:

B-Alanine, L-Alanine, L-Arginine, Glycine, L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, Taurine, L-Valine,

**75 gels** (35%) have some degree of ** Vitamins**. Typically being an array of B vitamins, Vit.C and Vit.E.

**Organic**

**14 Gels **(6%)** **are entirely organic.

Another **28 gels **(13%) have their major ingredients, or the majority of their ingredients, as organic.

**Vegan**

**95 gels **(44%) are vegan, with another **11 gels **(5%) classified as being vegetarian.

**Gluten Free**

**125 gels **(58%) are gluten free.

**Lactose Free**

**51 gels **(24%)** **are lactose free.

Hopefully this breakdown is of use and interest.