The average 35g energy gel contains:
23g Carbs (approx 16g Maltodextrin, 7g Glucose)
40mg Sodium (100mg salt equivalent)
200ml orange juice:
20g Carbs (approx 20g Fructose)
Not a bad match some might say? However, consider this!
Sodium is integral to maintain electrolyte balance and therefore training capacity. Depletion of any mineral impacts on muscle contractile tissue and energy delivery! Sodium is also vital to rehydration, through consuming Sodium your body absorbs more water via a process known as osmosis (movement of water from an area of low solute i.e. sodium concentration, to an area of high). This osmotic shift speeds up the absorption rate of fluid, promoting thirst and further encouraging hydration!
Orange juice contains the same amount of carbohydrate as the energy gels, but consists of 100% sugar! On the other hand, the energy gel is comprised of approx 50% quick releasing sugar and 50% moderate release maltadextrin, meaning energy is delivered rapidly but lasts for longer.
And to sum it all up, the energy gels deliver all of this nutrition in just 35g, in convenient pocket size sachets, and do not sit heavily on your stomach or cause unwanted acid reflux and other acid related side effects when exercising (British Dietetic Association, 2009)!