Runivore recently received a press release from Carbs Fuel, a new brand on the block of the energy gel market. The company announced a new gel with 50 g of carbohydrates slated for launch in November.
Although we haven’t had the chance to review the product, here are five initial thoughts.
Here’s the full press release.
1. Is it the anti-Maurten?
From a brand positioning perspective, our first impression is that Carbs Fuel is going after Maurten and all the other sports nutrition brands that are charging a premium for energy gels, which are essentially just concentrated sugar water.
“As an endurance athlete, I was so frustrated by how expensive, over-complicated, and inconvenient it was to properly fuel day-to-day training and racing,” says Gabe Multer, the company’s co-founder and CEO.
However, from an ingredient perspective, the two brands are not so different. Like Maurten, Carbs Fuel simplified its ingredients to water, maltodextrin, sucrose, fructose, citric acid, sodium citrate, and sodium chloride. That’s it.
2. Affordable science-based product design
Many brands play up the “science” behind their product design to hike pricing with fancy terms and gimmicks that may or may not matter. Carbs Fuel did the opposite. It simplified science, and the new energy gel is expected to be US$2 despite providing 50 g of carbohydrates per sachet.
Co-founder Aaron Gouw has a background in high-altitude exercise physiology and human bioenergetics, so they’re not some amateurs playing around with their toy chemistry set.
3. Is it targeting GU as well?
“Research shows that athletes can consume more carbs per hour than previously thought, yet the industry hasn’t kept up,” the press release stated.
In recent years, a few brands have already ramped up the carbohydrate content of their gels. Carbs Fuel is not the first to think of this concept.
4. Is it stomach-friendly?
Research says the human body can process 90-120 g of carbohydrates per hour. However, if you’re new to the energy gel format or a smaller runner with a sensitive stomach, we recommend you follow the more widely accepted rule of consuming 1 g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight per hour. This means a 60 kg athlete should take about 60 g of carbohydrates each hour.
Remember to train your digestive system before increasing your carbohydrate intake. The amount per hour is not your only concern. If you’re used to eating gels that contain 20-25 g of carbohydrates, gulping down 50 g all at once can be overwhelming.
As a sports nutrition reviewer, I’m very gel-adapted, and even I felt a little discomfort the first time I took the aforementioned carbohydrate-packed gels with 40-60 g. We look forward to seeing how the average endurance athlete handle consuming 50 g of carbohydrates in one go.
5. Taste and consistency are still key
It doesn’t matter how much carbohydrates an energy gel has if you can’t stand the taste, especially for a big 50 ml gel. Your gastrointestinal tract begins at the mouth after all.
In November, the brand will introduce one flavor – Original.
“No flavoring is used, but thanks to our acidity regulators, this gel has a bright, semi-sweet, refreshing taste,” according to the brand. We hope to give it a proper test drive then.