GU products have long been the go-to for many pro athletes and weekend warriors. Whether it’s the bonk-preventing energy chews, gels, and drink mixes, or the hydration tabs and mixes, they have helped many of us go that extra mile. But they’re not just for athletes. I have made way too many trips to the ER with my Type 1 Diabetic wife, so we are always looking for palatable ways to stave off dehydration and low blood glucose while traveling. It’s not as simple as drinking more water and eating small snacks. Stress and exertion can wreak havoc on her ability to stay hydrated and control her sugars. GU offers a variety of products that are portable, and have flavor profiles that appeal to her, which helps her stay on top of things, but also get us out of a jam in a pinch.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that GU markets any of their products as a solution for diabetics. This is only based on our own experience. I love their gels and chews, but after reading the ingredients list, it’s easy to see that they would benefit my wife, and maybe help keep her out of the hospital. During one of our trips this summer, we were about five hours from our home base, and two hours from a hospital. At 11PM, her blood glucose dropped very low, and she could not get her levels back up, then started to vomit. Fruit juice or some soda usually does the trick, but not when it comes right back up. GU Energy Chews are easy to digest, and a 1 ounce pack (four chews) has about 22 grams of carbs, which is more than enough to bring her sugar levels back to normal. So she just chewed two of them for a few minutes, and by the time she swallowed, another crisis was averted. As a bonus, the sodium in the chews help with her hydration, the other key issue we had to deal with. Of the seven flavors available, watermelon and salted caramel apple are our favorites.
When we camp, we don’t go on long hikes, but we are out for most of the day. That can make it hard to stay hydrated, more so if it is cool out, and we just don’t feel the urge to drink as much. The GU Hydration Drink Tabs come in a handy tube, with 12 tablets. To get the correct mix, add one tablet to 16 ounces of water. Cold water works best, but you may have to shake it a bit to mix it up. The Tabs have great flavor options (tri-berry, orange, lemon lime, and watermelon), 320mg sodium, 55mg potassium, and only 3g of carbs, which is not enough for anyone to worry about. GU also uses Stevia and Xylitol, instead of Sorbitol, so your stomach is less likely to stage a revolution in the middle of nowhere. Watermelon flavor was the big winner here.
If you do need some carbs with your hydration, the Hydration Drink Mix from GU is available in sticks or canisters, and six flavors. The sticks are the kind you just tear open and dump into 21 ounces of water. You get 70 calories from easily digestible maltodextrin and fructose, so your body doesn’t dip into your glycogen stores. Caffeine gives you a bit of a boost as well. If you’re out for a long day, this is ideal for those last few miles. Needless to say, I love this stuff while out mountain biking, but it’s not something that we use while out for a hike when camping. Like the other GU products, this one is designed to be easy on the stomach, a feature which I feel some brands may overlook. Lemon Tea hits the spot every time.
GU has plenty of other hydration, energy, and also recovery options, but these are our top picks. They are easy on the stomach, easy on the wallet, and can help us prevent the bonk, or worse. To see their full product line, follow this to link to guenergy.com
A special thanks to GU Energy for providing such a wide range of flavor options for this review. We regularly buy their energy and hydration products, but this allowed us to try all the different flavors, something we wouldn’t normally be able to do.