What happens to our body when we eat an energy gel?
Endurance sport requires a constant flow of energy both during training as in a race. Although the body has large energy reserves, it does not have enough energy to support a cycling race of several hours. It is therefore important to give it energy as soon as we can and with the right timing. Products that contain carbohydrates and are fast and simple to absorb, such as energy gels and sports drinks, help maintain the energy levels by conserving the carbohydrate reserves.
Energy gels are a compromise between solid foods and sports drinks. Their use has become very popular in endurance sports, because they are easy to take with you during training (the packs are designed to comfortably slip into a pocket) and are easy to swallow and even digest.
These products mainly contain simple carbohydrates (glucose, sucrose, fructose, the use of which causes a lower insulin response and therefore a lower risk of reactive hypoglycemia), but often also contain electrolytes and caffeine.
Have you ever wondered how the body responds to the intake of an energy gel? Here is the answer!
Break down the sugar
When you squeeze an energy gel into your mouth, the body immediately begins to break down the sugars it contains, thanks to the action of salivary amylase, a very efficient enzyme in the saliva. Then the digestion process starts with swallowing.
Passage through the intestine
During digestion, the carbohydrates contained in the gel are broken down into smaller molecules which can pass through the intestine and pour into the bloodstream.
Production of insuline
Once the sugars reach the blood in the form of glucose, the production of insulin is stimulated which in turn spurs the body's cells to take the glucose for ready use or for storage for later use.
Energy response in 15'
In the case of simple carbohydrates, these processes occur relatively quickly and so you can already expect an energy response about 15 'after taking the product.
Hydration and assimilation
It is often necessary to follow the intake of a gel with some hydration, especially when these are non-isotonic. It is advisable to have simple water with you and drink a few sips immediately after taking a gel. This helps to speed up digestion and cleans your mouth from the viscosity of the gel.