Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gear Review: Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels by Eric Charette

The Product:  Organic Energy Gel from Honey Stinger, available in Acai Pomegranate, Vanilla and Fruit Smoothie flavors.

Ingredients: Organic tapioca syrup, organic honey, water, potassium citrate, natural flavor, citric acid, sodium chloride.  Contains 95% organic ingredients.

Nutritional Information: 100 calories, 0 grams of fat, 50mg of sodium, 50mg of potassium, 23 grams of carbs (from 13 grams of sugar). They are certified organic also.

Pricing: $32.40 on the Honey Stinger website for a box of 24.  They are also available locally in Huntsville at Fleet Feet Sports.

Review:  I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical of trying the new Organic Energy Gels from Honey Stinger.  I am such a fan of using the original (now named Classic) Gold flavor during my training runs and during races that I didn't think that the gels could be improved upon, but I was wrong!

I have tried the new Organic Energy Gels during a variety of different training sessions including during my recent fastest known time attempt of the 40.4 mile Greenstone Ridge Trail on Isle Royale.  I really needed an instant energy surge to finish up the last few miles and the Organic Gel was perfect to fuel me to the end.  More recently, I used the Organic Energy Gel during a track workout.  I went through my normal routine of warming up for three miles, followed by some light stretching.  Then I took about half of the Acai Pomegranate Organic Energy Gel before a few more easy laps on the track.  While during my warm up I felt sluggish with heavy legs, it was amazing the lift in instant energy I felt within ten minutes of taking it and was able to have a great VO2max session.

When comparing the new Organic with the Classic energy gels, the organic have 16% less calories (100 compared to 120) and they have less potassium (50mg for Organic and 85mg for Classic), both of which are negligible differences in my opinion.  Where I see the big difference is that the new Organic Gels have less total carbs (23 grams for Organic and 29 grams in the Classic) which is not preferred, but in doing so they cut the composition of carbs due to sugars from 29 grams to 13 grams.  One of the other main differences is the basis of tapioca syrup in the Organic gels which seem to make it much smoother than the classic.

Now that you know how they compare to the original, the question that comes to mind is how do they taste?  I have tried all three flavors and liked the Acai Pomegranate more than the Vanilla or Fruit Smoothie.  Honestly the Vanilla reminded me too much of the Vanilla flavor from another manufacturer for me to give a fair chance and the Fruit Smoothie just didn't seem like a flavor that I would crave during competition.  The taste of the Acai Pomegranate was just my personal favorite but I would recommend that you try all three to see which works best with your stomach.

Summary:   I finished my track session by taking the rest of the Organic gel before a long cool down.  There wasn't an energy crash at any point, proving that the new Organic gels really have the ingredients for long lasting endurance activities.  The new Organic Energy Gels are a nice compliment to the line of already outstanding energy gels from Honey Stinger and I highly recommend that you try them.

Eric has been a member of the Fleet Feet Racing Team since he moved to Huntsville in 2007 and currently directs team operations.  Recently he set the fastest known time for the 40.4 mile Greenstone Ridge Trail on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, running unsupported from Washington Creek Trail to Hidden Lake Trail in 8 hours, 47 minutes and 36.90 seconds.  Pictures and a write up on his epic adventure can be found on his blog.