Product Review: GU Brew Light Carb Electrolyte Drink Tablets

Recently, Gu Energy Labs created a new formulation for its Electrolyte Brew products. They added several new flavors  in a new lighter-flavored in low-carb options. They sent some to the Run Oregon team to try them out and give our opinions to our readers.

Details: So why try these? Well, the first reason is the new flavors they have concocted: Non-caffeinated Lemon Tea, Watermelon, Tastefully Nude, and Blueberry Pomegranate (2 times the sodium of the other flavors). The new formulation will have 70 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrates per serving, with 250 mg of sodium and 30 mg of potassium in all but the Blueberry Pomegranate, which will have 500 mg of sodium.

The carbohydrate source combines complex carbohydrates (in the form of maltodextrin, a glucose polymer) with simple carbs (as fructose) in a 50-50 balance, making the hypotonic Brew easily digested while still providing lasting energy.

MSRP: Box of 24 single serve stick packs – $32.40; Canister (24 servings) – $18.00

Maryalicia: These were nice. I love having alternatives to water, especially ones that are not high in calories, reasonably priced, and easy on the stomach. I enjoyed the lighter flavors on my tongue and in my stomach. I had no issues with digestions, or heavy sweeter flavors that some electrolyte drinks have. The packets were great for storing in my pocket or my hand-held water bottle pocket.

To me these beat plain water, and the Tastefully Nude was a great option for those not wanting heavy flavor. In fact it was very neutral on my mouth and taste which is great for people who do not like it sweet (like me). By far though, the Blueberry Pomegranate was my favorite. It was tasty, long-lasting, and provided the extra hydration I needed. All the flavors were pleasant, without being overwhelming.

I did have an issue though. Like most of these type of powders, it did not dissolve as great in cold water. I found I had to dissolve in warm water first then add cold water. But in the end, I have to do that for other nutrition drinks too, so not a big deal to me.

Chere: The GU Brew drink mix offers compatibility for the athlete user as well as a nice balance of electrolytes and carbs for replenishing needs. Though they offer an array of flavors, my favorite was the Blueberry Pomegranate, though the watermelon was a close contender. After testing it during several different workouts of varied intensity, it seemed to hydrate me as well as other pre-mixed sports drinks, and I didn’t notice a huge difference despite the 17 grams of carbs. I’m also not the greatest at measuring out ounces, so my first attempt at using it was too watered down. If you don’t want sports drinks taking up room in your pantry, then this is a good solution as the pre-measured packets are the size of a small candy bar. If you’re metrically challenged, like me, you may be better off buying a bottle of Powerade for convenience. But I’m sure you can get the hang of it.

Marilyn: I tested out the new Gu Brew electrolyte + light carb drink mix in the ready-to-go individual serving packets in Watermelon, Lemon Lime, Blueberry Pomegrante with 2x sodium, and Lemon Tea with 20mg of Caffeine. The new formula is also available in two additional flavors, Orange, and “Tastefully Nude” (insert jokes here).

Reformulated brew places an even greater emphasis on hydration while maintaining a modest amount of carbs with an even lighter taste profile. This refined formulation offers athletes a superior hydration product with excellent fueling flexibility.

There are 70 calories per serving (1 packet), which is mixed with 21 oz of water. What does all of this mean? For the most part, it’s in between your “traditional sports drink” and the newer electrolyte only-options: Gu Brew’s electrolyte + light carb drink mix has fewer calories, fewer carbs, and lighter flavor than regular Gatorade (or comparable sports drink); and it has more calories, more carbs, and lighter flavor than nuun or Gu Brew tablets. But notice that it’s lighter in flavor–it’s one of the lightest tasting sports drinks I’ve tried, maybe a little too light for me personally.

I also started to get very curious about the cost. There are so many sports drinks, in so many forms, with so many serving sizes. Here’s the price breakdown per fluid ounce (mix+water):

– Gu Brew electrolyte + light carb packet, $1.34 per packet, 6.4 cents/oz
– Gu Brew electrolyte + light carb canister, $18.00 per canister, 3.5 cents/oz
– Gu Brew tabs, $6.50 per tube of 12 tablets, 3.4 cents/oz
– nuun tabs, $6.50 per tube of 12 tablets, 3.4 cents/oz
– Gatorade G series canister, $7.89 per canister, 2.8 cents/oz

If you’re on a budget, and you run a lot and drink a lot of electrolyte beverage (like I am when I’m marathon training), this is definitely good information to have. But we’re runners, and we are totally willing to splurge on anything that will help us run faster, farther, and better! So how does the new Gu Brew electrolyte + light carb formula stack up? Honestly, I didn’t feel like the new formula changed my performance at all, either when pre-hydrating with it or when consuming it during a race. I definitely prefer the Gu Brew and nuun tabs for preparing for a race, and also for during a race, and then supplementing with additional carb sources as needed (like a PB&J sandwich, or sports beans). And it seems like combining 1/2 electrolyte only and 1/2 traditional sports drink would be more economical anyway, and would probably taste better to me.

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