The Lowdown on Gels

The Lowdown on Gels

What are gels?

Gels are a highly concentrated carbohydrate based supplements. They are designed to offer a fast source of carbohydrate that is easily absorbed by the body to replace blood glucose and muscle glycogen used during exercise. This helps to fuel muscles and prevent fatigue. In short, it provides a source of energy for your body during exercise.


Why are gels a good source of energy?

Glucose (simple carbohydrate or sugar) is the body’s main source of fuel during exercise. Gels have simple carbohydrates in the form of maltodextrin, which are absorbed quickly by the body. 

What's in the PURE Fluid Energy Gel Range?

  • Maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is a short chain carbohydrate that is made up of glucose molecules.  Compared to other sugars (such as fructose), many people find this base to be gentler on the stomach.
  • Natural fruit & fruit juices. The fruit flavourings reduce the harsh chemicals that come with artificial or flavouring, while giving the gels a very appealing & light taste which won't leave a nasty aftertaste.
  • Sodium. This helps replace sodium lost through sweating and aids in the absorption of carbohydrates.
  • Filtered Water.  The addition of water to this gel range makes the consistency extremely light (not thick & sticky) and very easy to consume while exercising.


How much carbohydrate do I need during exercise?

For exercise between 1-3 hours, up to 60g of carbohydrate per hour is recommended. When exercising upwards of 3 hours, your body requires up to 90g of carbohydrates however, this is where it gets tricky. Any carbohydrate requirements over 60g need to be from multiple sources. e.g. sports drink, gels, lollies or real food, PURE Race Fuel

Carbohydrates also have a place in shorter exercise sessions of 30-60 minutes for high-intensity activities.

Each PURE Fluid Energy Gel contains 25-26g of carbohydrates and we recommend using 15 minutes prior to activity, then every 30-40 minutes during exercise.

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Here is a table to simplify recommendations:


Carbohydrate target


<30 mins

Not Needed


30 – 60 mins

Small amounts including mouth rinsing

  • The main benefit from rinsing with carbohydrates comes from the interaction with the CNS (Central Nervous System) and brain to reduce perceived effort (Burke, 2010)

60 – 180 mins

30 – 60g per hour

  • Aim to consume some carbohydrates during this length.
  • There is no need to mix the type of carbs, but a higher glucose concentration will increase blood sugars and increased availability to energy.

150+ mins

Up to 90g per hour

  • Higher intakes are associated with increased performance.
  • Carbs need to be from mixed food sources for intakes greater than 60g/hour.
  • PURE Performance Plus Race Fuel
  • Examples can be gels taken in addition to PURE Electrolyte Hydration drink or lollies.
  • Using the PURE Raspberry Caffeine gel as a rinse and swallow just before a hard stage will be beneficial to increased intensity.


Asker Jeukendrup uses a great infographic and explains the use of carbohydrates in greater detail, for more information visit here


Conrad Goodhew BAppSc (University of Otago)