Review: 226ers Bio Energy Gel, Made by Triathletes, Fit for All

 

The brand name of this energy gel says it all – it targets the Ironman triathlon (3.9km swim, 180.2 ride, and 42.2km run for a total of 226.3km) segment but that’s just the focus of their marketing. An energy gel for the Ironman distance will most likely work for any other endurance discipline as well (after all, triathlon is three endurance sports in one).

The Spain-based 226ers offers a wide range of supplements, including vegan and ketogenic product lines. The flavor I tested was Strawberry & Banana Bio Energy Gel, and here are my sharing.

Marketing claims

One theme I get from reading the company website is that the brand really cares about environmental sustainability and providing products with natural ingredients.

Many ingredients listed are of “ecological origin,” which I surmise means from a natural source. The company is also certified by the Ecological Agriculture Committee of the Valencian Community, the region’s organic certification authority.

If you prefer natural ingredients and care about a company’s stands on environmental sustainability, 226ers is an organization you can get behind.

 

Ingredients

  • Mixture of gluten-free unrefined wheat syrups*
  • Strawberry powder* (strawberry maltodextrin)
  • Water
  • Sea salt (sodium chloride)
  • Potassium chloride
  • Natural banana and strawberry flavor
  • The ingredients marked with an * are of ecological origin

The two main ingredients – sugar and flavoring – are of “ecological origin.” Not all ingredients are from natural sources, so it doesn’t claim to be an all-natural energy gel.

Nutritional facts

At 25g, 226er Strawberry & Banana Bio Energy gel provides the following:

  • 75 calories
  • Fat 0.2g
  • Carbohydrate 18.3g, of which 9.6g are sugars
  • Fiber 0.1g
  • Protein 0.1g
  • Salt 0.4g
  • Potassium 75g
  • Sodium 155g

The brand spends quite a bit of real estate on the importance of electrolytes on the product page. The energy gel provides a generous serving of sodium and potassium. Potassium is often neglected in many gel options.

75 calories and 18.3g carbohydrates are both on the lower end. The standard is typically around 90-100 calories and 20-25g of carbohydrates.

Taste and consistency

  1. Bananas and strawberries rank amongst my top five favorite fruits. I don’t care that you don’t care =). I’m sharing the list here.
    1. Banana
    2. Dragon fruit
    3. Mango
    4. Pear
    5. Strawberry

This 226er energy gel has two of my favorites, so what can go wrong? Well…somehow, it doesn’t taste like either. I don’t want to slam the flavor of this product, as taste preference is personal, but it’s subpar, to put it mildly. It’s a thick-cough-syrupy-too-sweet kind of flavor. The first one I took shocked me.

I’m curious to see if other products from the brand follow the same taste and consistency philosophy.

Packaging

Yes, it’s a tube, like travel-size toothpaste. It’s compact, easy to open with a twist, and mess-free. But the tiny tip that breaks off will likely become litter if the athlete doesn’t pay attention when breaking open the energy gel.

Performance

I tested the 226er Strawberry & Banana Bio Energy Gel on a 20km easy-to-moderate run, which I did on an empty stomach. I took one during warmup and a second at the 45-minute mark.

Some takeaways:

  • Both times I ate the energy gels, there weren’t notable energy surges, so I can’t provide an estimate on its mouth-to-muscle time. But it did sustain my energy level throughout the run. A lack of that boosted feeling is not necessarily bad, though. It’s also nice to have stable energy without peaks and troughs.
  • The taste is not great. The one I ate before the workout made me grimace. The second was tolerable, but it was because I knew what to expect. I braced for the incoming sickly sweetness.
  • This was my first time consuming an energy gel in this kind of packaging. It felt foreign and the opening is a bit small but everything worked. Once again, I just had to be extra aware of the tip once it was twisted off.
  • I usually put a pinch of salt in a 500ml water bottle for this type of workout. I did not do that this time to test the gel’s electrolyte claims. The generous serving of sodium and potassium content worked as advertised.

Conclusion

The energy gel did its job – it gave me very stable energy with zero gastrointestinal distress. I like the innovative packaging. I also like that it incorporated natural ingredients and provided ample electrolytes.

However, I can’t get over the poor flavor. I think it would be difficult if I had to eat more than two energy gels, like in an actual race. Completing a race is already challenging enough; I’m not sure I need additional discomfort from my race fuel. This energy gel doesn’t make the cut for my future fueling strategy.

 

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Looking for energy gel recommendations? Here are a few energy gels reviewed by us recently.

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels, Instant Surge

Spring Energy CanaBERRY – Even Energy Flow From Real Food

PowerGel Original Lemon-Lime, a Solid Option

GU Liquid Energy – GU Plus Water Equals Drinkable Energy

32GI Guarana Caffeine Shot, Separating Energy Gel & Caffeine

Huma All-Natural Energy Gels, Eat Chia Seeds and Run