According to an article published in the Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition, eating raisins could provide the same benefits as sports chews.
The researchers compared the effects of natural and commercially produced carbohydrate supplements on endurance and running performance and performed three randomised trials on runners, with a 7-day break between each.
The participants were assigned to consume raisins, sports chews or water as a supplement.
In the first trial, they depleted their glycogen stores in an 80-minute (75%VO2max) run followed by a 5k time-trial. The trial was repeated twice with a 7-day interval in between trials.
The results revealed that those who consumed raisins or sports chews were on average 1 minute faster in the 5k run compared with those who drank just water. Researchers also found that raisins and sports bars promoted higher carbohydrate oxidation than water.
Running performance was similar between the raisins and chews, with no significant GI differences.
Source: Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition
I heard the same thing about raisins from a couple of sources. I am going to give them a shot in my long runs because I think I may handle them better than the chews on the market…. and they are cheaper.