I received a message from Mike at e-Gel with some updated information about their products.
"We took all the colors out of e-Gel about three years ago and all flavors are natural with the exception of vanilla strawberry slam which is natural and artificial. The alternative to make this last flavor all natural would have been to add dairy which causes problems in lots of people. The other five flavors are all natural flavors and sweeteners and no color."
Thanks for the information Mike.
Update: February 2015
I've gone through my supply of e-Gel and as much as it helped with cramping late in runs with it's copious amount of sodium and serving calories, I decided the artificial coloring and flavoring were big enough factors to stop using them. I seemed to get a sour stomach much quicker during 4+ hour runs. So I've been using Salt Stick Caps and Clif Gels and Honey Stinger gel for the most part lately with Xtend BCAA in addition to a mostly veggie diet with high consumption of bananas and chia seed. No cramping and my recovery times have improved as well as the intensity of the recovery process. I just ran a 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, and a Full Marathon on back to back days and only took 2 days to recover and go on a light run. Cheers! I've started to cycle a lot now and stick to Roctane, Clif Shots, Clif Bloks, and Honey Stinger gels. I'll take Salt Sticks on crazy hot days and I also use Nuun and Skratch on weekly metric centuries.
I tried to use Cytomax protein carb mix but I can't take the flavor and texture.
After many cramps I've finally settled that e-Gel and Salt Stick Caps are superior and typically a better value in terms of performance when it comes to cramps. Why? Simply by pure comparison, they both provide more salt and electrolytes per serving than their competitors. While Gu, Hammer Gel, and Clif Shots Gel may assist with performance, e-Gel and Salt Stick Caps can stop cramping in it's tracks by packing the most punch. Purely by ingredients, Clif Shots and Honey Stinger gels seem to be the most free of artificial ingredients.
Why am I geeking out on gels? It's because cramps got me in the last mile of 3 trail races (18k, 15k, and 11k) in a row. Greatly frustrated, especially since good runs turned into bad ones at the last mile even with Gu, Gatorade, and water. I had even trained well for the races. Discouraged at this point, I started looking into what I could do to avoid another bad day.
After months of experimentation, I now use gels and salt caps in most if not all my runs. I typically use Gu, Hammer Gel , and Clif Shots Gel for daily runs, however when I need heavy support, I turn to e-Gel and Salt Stick Caps, all with water of course. These latter two products are superior in Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium (Salt Stick) supplementation. I used to be a non-believer but in conjunction with strengthening, stretching, massages, and using a roller, Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium are very useful elements when it comes to muscle cramps.
So I know that these products work very well for me after trying just about all tricks, but don't listen to me and simply look at the ingredients and the amount list provided by each product manufacture:
e-Gel vs Gu: 4x more Sodium and 2x more Potassium than Gu
e-Gel vs. Gu Roctane: almost 2x more Sodium and Potassium at 1/2 the price.
Salt Stick Caps ingredients: