Cyclists burn a lot of carbohydrates during a long ride and if you want to finish under your own power you need to replace some of those carbs during the ride. Honey is my favorite source of carbohydrates since it offers a perfect blend of both simple and complex carbs which prevents the energy “spike, crash and burn” that you get from most “energy gels.”
The folks at Honey Stinger recently sent me a few packages of their new Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels. I am not a tofu-eating vegetarian. However, when given a choice, I will choose organic food every time. This is especially true when it comes to the food I eat while cycling. I’ve found that natural ingredients are easily digested and quickly absorbed into the body. Energy gels that contain a lot of chemicals make me feel uncomfortable while cycling.
The new Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels are available in three flavors (Vanilla, Fruit Smoothie, and Acai & Pomegranate). The Fruit Smoothie has a mild strawberry flavor. The Vanilla gel has a strong, but not overpowering, vanilla flavor, and the Acai & Pomegranate tastes like fresh Acai berries, but I couldn’t really taste the Pomegranate. However, the Acai & Pomegranate is my favorite flavor and after eating just one package of it I ordered an entire box of these gels.
The ingredients list for the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels is about as simple as you can get: Organic tapioca syrup, organic honey, water, potassium citrate, natural flavor, citric acid, and sodium chloride. Each one-ounce (32g) package provides 100 calories with 23g of carbohydrates. Each serving also has 50mg of sodium and 50mg of potassium—the essential electrolytes that cyclists need during a ride. This product is made with 95% USDA-certified organic ingredients and they are also gluten-free.
Honey Stinger has offered Energy Gels for several years and the original flavors of those gels are still available and are now referred to as their Classic Energy Gels. The classic flavors (Gold, Ginsting, Banana, Chocolate and Strawberry) are made with pure honey, along with sodium, potassium, B complex vitamins and all-natural flavors. The Strawberry and Ginsting flavors contain natural caffeine. I like all the original flavors and usually order them in a box of 24 assorted flavor gels.
Can you really tell the difference between the Classic Energy Gels and the new Organic Energy Gels? Yes, but the difference in taste has nothing to do with the organic ingredients—the tapioca syrup in the new gels make for a much smoother product. As much as I like the Honey Stinger gels, they are never going to be my only source of food while on a long ride. However, I do take them with me on every ride. These gels are absorbed quickly into the body and just a few minutes after ingestion it feels like someone kicked on the afterburners.
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels retail for $1.35 per package, or $32.40 for a box of 24. If your local bike does not carry these gels yet they would be glad to order them for you. I’ve found that most local bike shops are willing to give you a decent discount if you buy three boxes of nutritional products at the same time—and you won’t have to pay for shipping! These gels are also available from R.E.I. and from the Honey Stinger Website.