Our bodies need carbohydrates during intense physical activity; unfortunately, our bodies cannot store all the carbs we need for endurance training or events. That’s where carb supplementation comes in! Athletes, particularly endurance athletes, have been working to find the best way to fuel their bodies for decades. Drink mixes containing sugar, salt, and lemonade were introduced in the ‘60s, but they weren’t well tolerated by athletes because of the high sugar concentrations. This early sports drink frequently caused gastrointestinal distress as well as slower gastric emptying (when the stomach sends its contents to the small intestine at a slower rate than normal, delaying digestion and absorption of nutrients).
Fast forward to 2015 when Swedish company Maurten developed a way to encapsulate high concentrations of carbohydrates in hydrogels, allowing the body to better tolerate and absorb them. This new hydrogel formulation allowed Maurten to include significantly more carbs into their products than what was on the market, giving endurance athletes the energy they need to truly reach their potential during training and events.
Hydrogels are commonly used across the food industry as a way to thicken or structure items. Maurten uses hydrogels to drastically increase the amount of carbohydrates an athlete can tolerate. It was previously thought that athletes could only tolerate around 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of activity, but using hydrogels to deliver the carbs increases that tolerance to somewhere between 80 and 100 grams per hour of activity, leading to better athletic performance and little to no stomach irritation.
Maurten uses only natural ingredients, and their products are free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. All their products rely on hydrogels to safely deliver high concentrations of carbs to the body, but they do so in slightly different manners.
Drink Mix 160 and Drink Mix 320 are powders that you combine with water and drink like you would any sports drink. Once it combines with your stomach acid, the mixture becomes a hydrogel, allowing its water, salt, and carbs to be properly and safely utilized by your body—propelling you through whatever grueling workout you choose. Both drink mixes are an excellent way to not only get your body the carbs it needs, but to deliver necessary hydration as well.
GEL 100 also allows your body to properly and safely utilize its ingredients, but it already comes as a hydrogel, so there is no conversion in your stomach and no pre-mixing necessary. Maurten utilizes sodium alginate (seaweed) and calcium carbonate in order to create the hydrogel prior to packaging it. GEL 100 is perfect for athletes who need a quick hit of carbs without having to consume a lot of fluid.