I take the gel shots during rest stops on rides longer than 20 miles. I recently rode a century and took a gel shot every 20 miles. The gels aren't a substitute for food but it did help me keep my energy up between snack and rest stops. I find the fruit flavors more refreshing. The chocolate flavors are too heavy for me.
I have been using Clif Shot for years. This is the best energy gel on the market in my opinion. I especially love the vanilla flavor (more like cake icing) which really works and provides a convenient way to fuel up on the go. The sale price made it a slam dunk.
These a good gels and I do appreciate the tab tail thingy which keeps the top attached so you only have to keep track of one piece of trash as opposed to two. I've not had any GI issues with these, and so far, they've worked a treat when out for longer rides.
Easy on my stomach, lots of energy. Especially good for early mornings as I can have less coffee at home before I leave, still get my caffiene and not worry about an unplanned pit stop - brilliant!
...you're not trying to savor the taste of a gel whilst you pump carbs and caffeine into your system on a ride. It's not the tastiest, but, it's effective. The caffeine hits your system quickly enough without giving one the shakes (at least not me), and, within a few minutes the fatigue starts to fade and you're turning the pedals with a bit more enthusiasm (if not less pain and maybe a bit more wattage). Maybe a banana is healthier. But, these things won't bruise and you can stuff a lot more of them into your pockets for those really long rides.
always down a gel after every hour on the saddle, and it seems to get the job done.
the sweetness and kick of caffeine helps a lot.
it's a little on the thick side, so it would be helpful to drink some liquids along with its consumption.
The litter leash is a plus, you can grab it from your pocket, tear it with your mouth and down it all by using one hand.