Fun Run Nutrition: Raisins vs Chews and Gels



Raisins are a cheap natural source of carbohydrates which have been found to be as effective as carbohydrate chews in producing a workout boost.



Researchers from California-Davis University have found raisins to be as effective as sports chews when athletes’ performances were tested in a 5km time trial which was conducted 2 days after a 2 hour run during which they consumed either raisins or sports chews. When just water was consumed during the 2 hour run, the athletes did not perform as well in the time trial 2 days later. The trial included only 11 athletes so it was a fairly small sample, but it’s certainly food for thought (pardon the pun).


This table shows you the nutritional breakdown of a couple of gels and chews, and raisins. Note the raisins do have some dietary fibre so could cause some GIT upset, but then gels and chews can have the same effect with some people.

GU ROCTANE GEL (one serve=1 sachet) GU ENERGY GEL(one serve= on sachet) GU CHOMPS (one serve = 4 pieces -1/2 a sachet) RAISINS (one serve = 35 gms-about what you can hold in the palm of your hand)
Weight 32gms 32 gms 30 gms 35 gms
Calories 100 100 90 100
Total Carbohydrate 25gms 20 gms 23gms 25 gms
Fat 0 2gms 0 0.3 gms
Sugars 5gms 6gms 11gms 24 gms
Sodium 125gms 40 gms 50 gms 20 gms
Potasium 55gms 40 gms 40 gms 364 gms
Vit E amt not stated amt not stated amt not stated
Calcium amt not stated amt not stated amt not stated 14 gms
Amino Acid Blend 1220 mg no protein no protein 800 mgs
Caffeine 35 mg nil nil nil
Dietary Fibre 1.7 gms


What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.  The only way you’ll know if raisins work for you is to trial them in training, NOT in a race. And best to trial it first in the off season. Don’t muck around with your race and training nutrition when a mistake might really make a difference to your race results. Personally, I like a gel with a touch of caffeine, but each to their own. I’m struggling with the concept of trying to get all those loose raisins under control whilst I’m running too. You can read the full article in the Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition.


Share your experiences with race and training nutrition below.

Recommended Posts