"Slow release" gels and drinks: do they have a purpose?

Noticed in my Facebook feed an advert for Elivar Sustain gels, which are made mostly with Isomaltulose, a low GI carb. I’ve also seen High5 sell a new slow-release energy drink with the same ingredient. The former claims to avoid insulin spikes and stomach upsets, the latter talks about “longer lasting energy” (links below).

From my point of view, if I’m having a gel or sports drink it’s because I’m in the middle of a race, chaingang, or hard workout, and I don’t want slow release, I want energy five minutes ago, or failing that, Right Sodding Now. And if I’m not in that situation and don’t need the energy quick, I’ll just have some food.

Also, when High5 talk about it being “longer lasting”, is that really true? Doesn’t it just take longer to get to your muscles and then last the same amount of time when it does eventually get there? Not quite the same.

Is there a purpose to them I’m missing? Wondering if possibly the drink could be good for carb loading the day before…

Here is a Vlog I did on High 5 Slow Release

Maybe at the start of the race? Like at the start line or during warmup

insulin doesn’t spike from carb consumption during exercise. There is clinical evidence that is is slower absorbing but I haven’t seen any statistical significance in terms of performance benefit

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No indeed, once you get going you should be able to neck gels without any major insulin response. So again, the exact purpose of the stuff - apart from delaying how long it takes for the energy to reach your muscles - is a little unclear.

Could it aid in gastric emptying? Low-gi implies more complex carbohydrate chains that need to be broken down. So could be something like UCAN superstarch? I think raw corn starch gets you most of the way there, but not so tasty :man_shrugging:

Isomaltulose is not that complex, its just a slow digesting glucose-fructose disaccharide

I have a pretty sensitive stomach, so I could definitely see a market for it there if it’s gentler on the stomach as claimed. I do find that spacing out my nutrition via bloks or drink mixes helps a lot, so if it could achieve a similar effect with a single feed I’d find it a lot more convenient for things like TTs where I don’t want to be in and out of my aero position all the time. That being said it’s a little out of my price range so I don’t think I’ll be trying it anytime soon :wink: