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Homemade GOO!
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Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Homemade GOO! on 09/17/2005 09:27:18 MDT Print View


I've been using a form of homemade sports gel, and it's been really successful - and I have a circle of friends that are way into it!

I read the ingredient of a few popular gel products, and I thought - geesh, this stuff is simple!

Here's my recipe:

1. Brown Rice Syrup (easily available at health food stores) --- [carbs]

2. Protein Powder (vanilla seems to work best) --- [protein]

3. Cashew Butter --- [fat]

4. Electro-MIX by Emergen-C --- [electrolytes]


I make this stuff in bulk, and I never measure anything, so bear with me.

a) Start with a blender, a full blender load will be our volume.

b) The brown rice syrup will be too thick to mix in a blender. Warm the stuff up for about 15 minutes by putting the jars into tub of hot water. Avoid a microwave, which will work fine, but may create "bad vibes." The syrup needs to be thin enough so you don't burn out the blender's motor.

c) Pour a bunch of syrup into the blender, have some hot water ready for adding to the syrup, a little is all thats needed to thin it out.

d) Add a heaping spoonful of cashew butter.

e) Add a few scoops of protein powder.

f) Add a few packets of Electro-MIX.

g) Taste it, if there is too much protein powder, it'll taste chalky - just add some more syrup.

That's it!

I store it in old Gatorade bottles in the fridge.

I use a funnel and fill up the gel flasks. I found 'em at a local sports store - but they are easy to get on the web:

I use this GOO while backcountry skiing, this is where it's really successful for me. I get a good boost on those long uphill skin tracks!


Colleen Clemens
(tarbubble) - F

Locale: dirtville, CA
Re: Homemade GOO! on 10/09/2005 12:41:53 MDT Print View

cool, thanks. i'll have to try playing around with flavors.

are you mike clelland the illustrator? if so, i love your style and always get a kick when i recognize one of your pieces in a mag or book. i'll probably get around to guying don ladigin's book primarily because you illustrated it.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
GOO on 10/25/2005 19:52:01 MDT Print View

Yes - that's me... Thank you for the kind words (and Don's book is really great!)

As far as flavors with the goo...

I have tried a little experimentation, but it's hard. The syrup is SO unbelievably sweet (like marshmellow frosting) that it only seems to taste like vanilla. I added some lemon-lime electro-lite packets, and it gave it a nice taste.

But - it's like drinking cake frosting...

And that's GOOD on a backcountry ski day.


Re: GOO on 11/20/2005 12:03:10 MST Print View

You can cut down on the sweetness by using maltodextrin instead of rice syrup. It has less simple sugar and more complex carbs, plus it's cheap--about $1/lb. Try Maltrin QD M500; it has the DE you're looking for.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: GOO on 11/21/2005 09:00:56 MST Print View

Maltrodextin is so unhealthy for you!!!!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: GOO on 11/21/2005 09:39:43 MST Print View

Where do you get the idea that maltodextrin is unhealthy? I'll wager that most pro athletes use it alot and they don't look unhealthy to me.

Edited by jshann on 11/21/2005 09:41:11 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Re: Re: GOO on 11/21/2005 14:44:56 MST Print View

Anything that has a long name should be avoided ;-)
But seriously, it is a refined sugar-which isn't good for you in large amounts.
Yes, it will give you energy, but it is has nothing but hollow energy in it. You do much better to use sweetners that last a bit longer for burning.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: GOO on 11/21/2005 16:51:16 MST Print View

maltodextrin is a polysaccharide made from hydrolyzed starch. hydrolyzing longer chain starches produces shorter chain carbohydrates similar to sugar, but still somewhat different. enzymes are used to break the starches down into shorter chain carbohydrates. often potato or corn starches are used as the source starches to be hydrolyzed.

maltodextrins are easily absorbed into the blood. as such, they are used for quick energy. when combined with more simple sugars, more transport mechanisms are activated in the lumen of the gut than if simple sugars alone are ingested. this increases the rate of total carbohydrate absorption.

obviously, adequate quantities of water should be consumed simulataneously to permit absorption of these nutrients, as well as to replace water lost through physical activity. failure to consume adequate quantities of water while consuming large amounts of carbs can actually cause water to leave the blood stream and enter the intestines. remember osmosis? it will work backwards to what an athelete/hiker desires, if adequate water is not consumed. ever read carefully the instructions with Gu or Energy bars? IIRC, they all recommend drinking a reasonable quantity of water with the product.

i'm not sure that i completely agree with Mfr's statements that maltodextrin's supply long burning energy (IIRC depends in part on what else is ingested with it). they really are, in one sense, closer to sugars than to non-hydrolyzed starches. best i can recall, digestion is somewhat similar for all carbohydrates however (i.e. most of it occurs in the small intestines and not the stomach due to the higher pH and presence of enzymes), but absorption rates, when individual carbs are consumed alone, differ depending upon a number of factors. however, such energy sources (viz. maltodextrin and sugars) are either useful or necessary when high levels of muscular exertion is engaged in for extended periods of time. under certain high intensity exercise conditions, one downside of maltodextrin when consumed alone is the increase of utilization of muscle glycogen stores vs. consuming maltodextrin plus a simple sugar source.

[note: the following post references a document which disputes one of the above statements regarding maltodextrin, if interested, please be sure to read it.]

however, having stated all this, when hiking 10-14 hrs per day over rough terrain with many elevation changes, i periodically consume Clif bars and sometimes Gu for the energy they provide. both products sure are convenient.

sorry, that's 'bout all i can recall about maltodextrins that's pertinent. best to check with a good Biochem textbook or Sports Physiology textbook for more accurate/detailed/current info.

on a somewhat related note which might be of interest to some (if not, don't bother to read):

depending upon the level of physical exertion and your body's related heart rate, your muscles will burn "fuels" in different ratios - subject to the availability of oxygen being transported into muscle cells. More specifically the hiker is engaged in a long duration moderate intensity form of exercise. So, a "ballpark"/approximate breakdown of the "fuels" utilized is normally as follows:

25% each from:
-- fat stored as triglycerides within the muscle
-- carbohydrate stored as the starch glycogen within the muscle
-- glucose released into the bloodstream from the liver.
-- fat coming from diet or released from storage in adipose tissue

if at all possible, our bodies don't like to exclusively use just energy sources stored in the muscles, thereby depleting/exhausting them completely, just in case some sort of "surpreme" exertion is attempted/required. our bodies don't want to let us down if at all possible. how's that for an intelligent design!

as exercise intensity increases beyond a certain level, approx. the same amount of fat is "burned" (the absolute amount depends upon "cardio" conditioning which is related to the amount of oxygen available in the red corpuscles in the blood), and any increased energy demand is met by burning more carbohydrate, so the ratio of carbohydrate to fat increases.

a typical value one often reads, for a long distance hiker, for depletion of stored glycogen reserves, is approx. 6hrs. i've never been able to determine a continuous heart rate associated with this 6hr figure. my guess might be ~60% of the so-called age-adjusted-maximal-heart-rate, but this is just a guess. frequent "snacking" while hiking is a good strategy for preventing depletion and replenishing these energy stores.

Edited by pj on 11/22/2005 11:33:11 MST.

Adam McFarren
(amcfarre) - F
GOO/Maltodextrin on 11/22/2005 06:20:19 MST Print View

For the endurance sport take on simple sugars vs maltodextrin you might want to check out the
Journal of Endurance Sept 2005

The second item (How do CARBOHYDRATES IMPROVE PERFORMANCE, which kind, how
much, and when?) discusses this topic.


paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: GOO/Maltodextrin on 11/22/2005 11:40:57 MST Print View


good document. lot's of info. really like the "hard" numbers. did i miss anything in it on correlating stored muscle glycogen utilization (not replenishment) with maltodextrin consumption vs. stored muscle glycogen utilization with maltodextrin consumption+simple sugar consumption? i'd like to see some hard numbers on this instead of general statements typically found elsewhere. this is the main reason a combination of carbs from both sources is often advocated.

Adam McFarren
(amcfarre) - F
mixing simple/complex sugars on 11/22/2005 12:39:01 MST Print View

Paul, most advice I've seen from the endurance sports says not to mix simple and complex sugars. Some of the maltodextrin energy drink mixes even carry warnings not to consume along with any product containing simple sugars.

You might check out the article on page 8 about "Simple Sugars and Complex Carbs" in the
Oct Endurance News
. This publication is from the same company as the Journal of Endurance, but is less techy.


paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: mixing simple/complex sugars on 11/22/2005 13:23:56 MST Print View

i'm familiar w/that advice. however, it ignores/neglects and does not address two aspects of carbohydrate metabolism which have some bearing on the matter.

now, having read the 2nd doc link provided, it seems to conflict, in at least one point, with the 1st doc link provided. 2nd link also generalizes certain phenomena to all simple sugars which are true only of fructose, to the best of my knowledge.

the 2nd doc link, i believe, also makes at least one statement that simply isn't true, IMHO. as it turns out the 1st doc link gives hard numbers that would agree with MHO in this instance. assuming i understood it correctly, the 1st doc link provides blood glucose response times which contradicts statements made in the 2nd doc link as to the relative rate of absorption of simple sugars vs. maltodextrin.

all-in-all i'll stick with consuming both maltodextrin+simple sugars before exercise for the following reason mentioned my first post, viz. "maltodextrins are easily absorbed into the blood. as such, they are used for quick energy. when combined with more simple sugars, more transport mechanisms are activated in the lumen of the gut than if simple sugars alone are ingested. this increases the rate of total carbohydrate absorption." the benefit of this is that stored muscle glycogen is NOT as rapidly utilized for energy early on as exercise commences as the simple sugars are more speedily available for use as fuel, thereby reducing the amount of stored muscle glycogen required early on as exercise/hiking commences. this statement is perhaps somewhat vague as i wanted to steer clear of hard numbers (%'s, etc) so as not to get too detailed (a frequent fault of mine). of course, this vagueness can lead to some misunderstanding, as it may have here.

for long burning energy, IMHO, fats might be the way to go - as long as there is sufficient oxygen available for their utilization, i.e. exercise intensity is low enough as it frequently is in hiking. obviously, fats recently ingested take a while before they are available for use as fuel by the muscles. also, unless i am mistaken, i believe diabetics are cautioned against consuming too much maltodextrin for the same reasons as for consuming simple sugars - at least, i've read this some time ago (hope i'm remembering it correctly). i guess my idea of long burning fuel should have been clarified at the outset. this perhaps caused some confusion.

this issue, just like some other areas of interest, is very complicated, made even more so by varying very scholarly research results written by individuals with a lot of letters after their name. now, who to believe??? that's the dilemma. with so many conflicting expert opinions, guess maybe it comes down to (as someone just reminded me of in another Thread) "personal preference".

Edited by pj on 11/22/2005 14:28:36 MST.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Homemade GOO! on 11/25/2005 14:15:04 MST Print View

I posted the original recipe for the Homemade GOO!

The reason I use organic BROWN RICE syrup is because it's the main ingredient in CLIF SHOTS.

So, I cheated and just used what they used. I have no idea where Brown Rice Syrup falls in on the spectrum of complex carbs.

It works, and it's pretty easy to make.

MaltoDextrin is the main ingredient for the little packets of GU

Here's what the GU web site says:
"GU Energy Gel contains maltodextrin, the best complex carbohydrate for delivering energy to working muscles. GU also contains the optimal balance of carbohydrates for the body during exercise: 80% complex/20% simple. It is this balance of maltodextrin and fructose in GU that delivers a quick rise in blood sugar and maintains that glucose level for up to 45 minutes during exercise. "

[compare to the BRS in Clif Shot]

Here's what the Clif Bar website says:
"CLIF SHOT is made with brown rice syrup, a minimally refined source of carbohydrate, We do not use high fructose corn syrup. "
- and -
"CLIF SHOT Gel is 70% Complex Carbohydrate and 30% Simple Carbohydrate"
- and -
"Brown Rice Syrup Source of Carbohydrate and naturally occurring Potassium and Magnesium"

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Homemade GOO! on 11/25/2005 14:42:13 MST Print View

in case anyone is interested:

one diff (perhaps not the only one) b/t Gu & Clif Shot, based upon a prev. Post is "fructose".

Gu uses it. ClifShot doesn't.

fructose is well known to cause in some individuals, some cramping and gassing. it is my understanding, based upon articles that i have read elsewhere, that these undesirable side-effects are more pronounced or more likely experienced during exercise. i can't comment further as i haven't experienced these side-effects myself even though i use Gu for energy replenishment. while i don't use ClifShot, i do also use ClifBars.

Edited by pj on 11/25/2005 16:52:48 MST.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Homemade GOO! on 02/27/2006 23:02:49 MST Print View

Another thing to consider...

I have "heard" (no real data here) that ultra-athletes likemarathon runners are haveing TOOTH decay problems because of the high sugar content...

any truth to this???

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Homemade GOO! on 04/15/2006 18:28:13 MDT Print View

This is a subject that cries out for input from serious exercise physiologists. Mssrs Nisley, Caffin, (others?), HELP!!

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Home made Goo on 04/15/2006 21:54:43 MDT Print View

Homemade Goo provides convenience to the long distance backpacker but not increased exercise performance. A conventional high carbohydrate snack such as Fig Newton or bagel will provide the same type of energy to hike as does the maltodextrin, rice syrup, or polysaccharides in homemade or commercial goo, gels, or power bars.

There has been ongoing speculation as to the role of acids in sports drinks in increasing the incidence of cavities. One study from England suggested that sports drinks might be worse than colas, but lemon tea was even worse. The most recent review article, from 2005, identified only one study which implicated sports drinks as harmful to the athlete (which means that chance alone might have produced that single result as it has been unsupported by other studies). The review article also pointed out that poor saliva formation, perhaps aggravated by dehydration and mouth breathing, might be the real culprit.

You don’t normally use Protein as an energy fuel and your fat reserves are adequate for weeks on the trail. Goo is only necessary to re-supply carbohydrates. Your body can only store about 1,500 C of glycogen. After you use this up you will bonk. Fat is not necessary as part of the Goo mixture. ¼ of the Goo Calories from Protein is beneficial if you are not eating enough CHO to fully replenish your Glycogen stores. If you are consuming 8-10g/kg of CHO per day then only CHO needs to be in your Goo.

High GI foods are not an issue for 95% of the backpacking athletes. It is only an issue for sedentary individuals or those with certain medical conditions such as diabetes.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Home made Goo on 04/16/2006 18:04:46 MDT Print View

Hi Richard,
I just finished reading a book on exercise physiology(can't) remember the names of the authors offhand). They stated that the most efficient way to get CHO into the system while on the move is fluid with 6-7% CHO. They further stated that glucose and sucrose were most efficiently absorbed through the lumen of the small intestine, but that maltodextrin would also work as part of the mixture, as long as it was not the main CHO. According to them, electolytes could also be added to this solution and be more efficiently absorbed in the presence of glucose in particular. This sort of makes sense to me, because I have been using oral rehydration salts(WHO formula) for years with pretty good results to prevent leg cramps, but not primarily for CHO replacement. They contain 5% glucose, but also probably more electrolytes than I need, since they are intended for treating dysentery. Therefore I usually dilute them by about 50%, which reduces the absorption efficiency. I am now trying to come up with an alternative means of getting more CHO into my drink without messing up the absorption efficiency. My first thought was to go with something like Hammer's Perpetuem/Sustained Energy, but I noticed that they use primarily maltodextrin as a CHO source. I assume that they know what they are doing since they widely used by endurance athletes, but their approach is at variance with what I have read. I also considered adding sufficient pure glucose to a 100% diluted WHO solution sufficient to achieve the recommended 6-7% concentration. Can you shed any light on my dilemma? The book I read was published in 1998 and both authors had, as I think PJ so eloquently put it, a lot of capital letters after their names. Still, 10 years of new research can add a lot of knowledge. Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Home made Goo on 04/16/2006 22:06:22 MDT Print View


You should be fine with any of the 6-8% CHO concentration you are considering. You can customize your goo with any of these CHO sources.

TYPE 30' 60' 90'
Sucrose, Glucose +35 -10to-15 -10
Fructose +5 +1to+2 -5
Maltodextrins +25to+30 +10to+15 +1
Other CHO +25to+30 +10to+15 +1

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
homemade goo on 04/17/2006 18:22:41 MDT Print View

Thanks Richard. Time to start experimenting.