Eating gels, energy bars, and goo is so passé. As reported by the New York Times, athletes can get the same burst of energy from just gargling a carb solution. No eating, no wrappers, no muscle cramps — just gargle and spit. A study found that just having the carbs enter your mouth tricks the body into thinking energy is on the way, which provides the extra energy your body needs to perform. In studies, athletes who rinsed their mouths with a carb solution performed as well as those who fueled up on food or a sports beverage. They also outperformed athletes who were given a placebo mouth rinse.
Of course, spitting out a carb rinse won't satisfy hunger, so endurance athletes are probably better off getting the added nutrition from eating or drinking during a race. And while you can buy carbohydrate mouth rinses at some health stores, you can also make your own. Keep in mind that using artificial sweeteners will have no effect though.