6 problems with traditional energy gels solved

A man resting during an endurance session

Finding the perfect energy gels to fuel endurance workouts is a necessity for any endurance athlete. But it’s also always a case of trial and error.

While you need that injection of rapid-release carbohydrates to top up your spent glycogen stores, the potential stomach-cramping, GI issues, gloopy texture and impenetrable ingredients lists you get with some gels may be less to your taste.

Even when you find the perfect balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes that won’t wreak havoc with your stomach, many energy gels taste like they’ve been concocted in a lab. Finding a flavour and consistency that’s bearable is about as good as it gets.


We've changed the game. At Veloforte, when it comes to energy gels, we believe you should look forward to taking on fuel, not fear it. We want you to have confidence that you can top up your energy stores without the dread.

That’s why when we created our range of Veloforte energy gels, we looked long and hard at the most common issues with energy gels and found ways to overcome them with 100% natural energy you can rely on.

From tummy troubles and flavour fatigue, too much sweetness, as well as a lack of nutritional value – here are the biggest problems with traditional energy gels and how have we fixed them.

1. Energy Gels & GI distress

Everyone’s heard the saying “don’t try anything new on race day”, right? One of the reasons that’s so important for nutrition is that you never know how your stomach will react to certain products. Cramps, bloating, GI distress and an overwhelming need to find the nearest portaloo right now can be common side effects. Not what you need when you’re gunning for a PB.

The reason energy gels can be hard to stomach is that during exercise your body prioritises sending blood to your active muscles over your digestive tract. This makes digesting fuel and liquids on the go much trickier than normal. To make things worse, over-processed carbohydrates, like those found in many traditional energy gels, can play havoc with sensitive stomachs.

How we’ve solved it:

Veloforte's energy gels are designed to be gentle on the gut, using the most natural, unprocessed forms of energy-boosting carbohydrates. Unrefined brown rice syrup, made from the starch of wholegrain rice, provides the fast-release carbohydrate glucose; while date syrup, made from gently heating, squeezing and soaking whole dates, provides slower release fructose. Deliciously sweet maple syrup, meanwhile, is a natural source of both types of carbohydrate.

Not only are natural carbohydrate sources easier on tender tummies, but this combination of glucose and fructose is proven to cause fewer GI problems than single-source carbohydrate products – it also allows your body to absorb significantly more carbohydrates than usual, so win win.

While natural products such as Veloforte's energy gels should provide your stomach with a much smoother ride, there are additional measures you can take to ward off a dicky tum.

Always practice using any nutrition product in training by gradually increasing the amount you consume as you increase the mileage. This will help your body adapt to using your stomach while exercising. Try and drink water when you take on energy gels or nutrition products as this will help speed up digestion and get that energy flowing through your bloodstream faster.

2. Artificial taste in Energy Gels

Let’s face it, many energy gels and sports nutrition products taste like the kind of highly flavoured, nuclear-coloured treats you would absolutely ban your kids from having, even at a party.

Overly sweet and densely concentrated, the artificial flavourings tend to be something we tolerate rather than a welcome break on a long ride or run. While this may sound like a minor problem, it's not. You wouldn't accept poor artificial flavours at any other time, so why is it ok to do that now? Besides, not enjoying your energy gels can mean you put off taking on carbs, resulting in a slump in energy.

How we’ve solved it:

When testing recipes for our energy gels we knew we were looking for clean, fresh and natural tastes, something we’d look forward to ingesting as we clocked up the miles rather than a means to an end.

After months in the kitchen we came up with three distinct flavours: the sweet and zingy date, lemon and ginger of Tempo; the savoury notes of beetroot and lemon Primo; and the smooth maple, coffee and guarana of Doppio, which also contains 75g of caffeine for added alertness.

Over the years we've added sharp fruity flavours Riba and Desto into our armoury of energy gels. 


All our flavours come from natural sources including real fruit juice, we’re keen to hear your favourite.

3. Gloopy texture

Many traditional energy gels have a gloopy, viscous texture, making them tough to get down when you’re working hard and your mouth is dry. They often have to be taken with water, which can be tricky if you’re relying on the aid stops as your source of fluids in a race.

How we’ve solved it:

The smooth to swallow texture of the Veloforte energy gels mean they slip down easily when running or riding. While we recommend you taking them with water to speed up digestion, it’s perfectly fine if you have to wait a few minutes after taking an energy gel until the next aid station and there should be no problem swallowing without fluid.

4. Energy gel's nutritional value

The main purpose of energy gels is to get energy into your body the quickest way possible. As a result, many energy gels contain processed carbohydrates, artificial flavourings and preservatives, ingredients you can’t pronounce and not much else.

But imagine if energy gels also contained vitamins and minerals and maybe some antioxidants too. You know, like real food. You eat real, nutritious foods the rest of the time, why not when you’re exercising?

How we’ve solved it:

Because we only use natural ingredients in our energy gels, you get the added nutritional benefit of the fruits, vegetables, ginger, pink Himalayan salt and other ingredients. 

Alongside 22g of fast-release carbohydrates from natural sources, Veloforte energy gels provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as 110mg of vital sodium to top up those electrolytes lost through sweat and keep your muscles functioning well during exercise.

5. Rush and crash energy

We’re all familiar with the rollercoaster ride sugary foods can take our blood sugar on – a fast injection of simple sugars causes a spike in energy followed by a crash and burn energy slump. Obviously, if you’re out there running a marathon or cycling 100 miles across a mountain range, this is something you want to avoid.

A mistake many inexperienced athletes make is to stock up with as many energy gels as possible, doubling the amount they’re advised to consume in the belief it’ll give them double the energy. Sadly, this is not the case. In fact, taking on too many gels can have the opposite effect. As your body is unable to process all the extra sugars it could actually bring about the energy zapping crash you’re trying to avoid, throwing in some PB-scuppering GI issues for good measure.

How we’ve solved it:

If you’re worried about sugar crashes, we’ve got you. The dual-carbohydrate combination in Veloforte energy gels are purposely designed to give you a steady energy release and keep your blood sugar on more of an even keel.

The glucose from unrefined brown rice syrup delivers rapid-release energy straight to your muscles while the slower-release fructose from date syrup keeps you going for longer. Taking one nectar in the first 60-75 minutes during a workout followed by a nectar around every 45 minutes after should give you all the extra energy you need.

Glucose and Fructose graphic

6. Taste fatigue

While traditional energy gels come in many flavours from fruity to chocolatey, heck you can even get them flavoured like your favourite cupcake, they tend to have one thing in common. They’re overwhelmingly sweet.

When you’re taking part in an endurance event or working out for long periods of time your tastebuds can change. After numerous sweet energy gels often all you really want is something savoury. 

How we’ve solved it:

We’re all too familiar with that longing so we've made sure we included an energy gel with a refreshingly savoury twist in the mix. 

Our Primo Energy Gel has the earthy taste of beetroot with a spritz of lemon to help keep your palate guessing and our other nectars are all perfectly balanced too. Tempo contains zingy ginger and lemon to cut through the sweetness of date, while Doppio has the slightly bitter undertones of coffee and guarana to balance the mellow maple syrup.

With our energy gels, we’re confident your palate won’t have a problem.