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Santa Madre CHO30 CAF100 review summary: At 50 g per pack, the Santa Madre caffeinated energy gel delivers 121 calories, 30 g of carbohydrates, 100 mg of caffeine, and 40 mg of sodium. The cola flavor is watery, with a pleasant, coke-like taste. It’s a solid option with a good amount of energy and caffeine and causes no stomach issues.


After reviewing an “unusually large” energy gel from Santa Madre a few weeks ago, the brand’s more standard option naturally piqued my interest, so I decided to give it a whirl as well.

Santa Madre CHO 30 CAF 100, as the company’s naming system suggests, contains 30 g of carbohydrates and 100 mg of caffeine. I ate two of the gels (cola flavor) on a 32 km easy run, and below was my experience.

What is the Santa Madre CHO30 CAF 100 energy gel? Marketing claims.

The CHO30 series has both caffeinated and non-caffeinated options. The gel is “low density” and is manufactured using the so-called “Liquid Technology” and “Refresh Technology.” I’ve covered these fancy names in this review. But what they really mean is that the gel has a watery consistency and gives off that cool, chewing gum-like sensation. Unfortunately, more clarification on the technologies was nowhere to be found.

GEL 30CHO 100 CAF  has 30 g of carbohydrates per gel carefully formulated taking into account the absorption capacity of the body, uses a RATIO 1: 0.5 giving double the load to GLUT1 but without forgetting the importance of the GLUT5,” the company stated on the product website. 

Please allow me to translate in super-duper layperson terms:

  • The gel has a 1:0.5 glucose-to-fructose ratio. Why doesn’t the company just say 2:1 instead…
  • GLUT1 and GLUT5 are transporters in your body and are responsible for transporting glucose and both glucose and fructose, respectively. 

What are the ingredients and nutrition facts of the Santa Madre CHO30 CAF100 energy gel?

The energy gel is 55 g or 50 ml per pack. It provides 121 calories, 30 g of carbohydrates, 100 mg of caffeine, and 40 mg of sodium.

Source: company website

The ingredient list is fairly straightforward, with water, “glucose-like” sugars, and fructose as the top items regarding proportion. Everything else is electrolytes, vitamin C, gelling agents, food stabilizers, preservatives, and flavorings. It’s a simple, solid energy gel that provides the essentials for endurance performance.

Source: company website

How’s the taste and consistency of the Santa Madre CHO30 CAF100 energy gel?

The gel comes in three flavors – Cola, Orange, and Strawberry. I tested Cola and thought the combination with the Refresh Technology’s cool sensation was quite enjoyable.

The cola taste itself was not as coke-like as this GU energy gel.


How was the packaging of the Santa Madre CHO30 CAF100 energy gel?

The packaging size is 13.5 x 5.5 cm, still considered large but manageable for most fuel-carrying gears. 30 g of carbohydrates are way above the industry standard (typically 20-25g), and given the high water content to provide a lighter consistency (I prefer light over thick syrupy gels), the size makes sense.

Like other Santa Madre energy gel sachets, this product also has a connected design to prevent creating little pieces of litter after ripping open the gel. Big thumbs up.

Does the Santa Madre CHO30 CAF100 energy gel work?

I ran 32 km on a hilly road course, which took around three and a half hours. I had two Santa Madre CHO30 CAF 100 gels, one Neversecond C30 Fuel Bar, and several SiS Hydro Go tablets to mix in a water bottle for hydration.

For pre-run, I ate a big bowl of oats and fruits about an hour before to up my glycogen fuel tank. I also didn’t drink my usual morning coffee to test the caffeinated Santa Madre gel thoroughly.

Below is a summary of my experience:

  1. When it comes to energy gels, taste and consistency are two of the most important considerations. Santa Madre CHO30 CAF100 passed both tests comfortably. I found the light cola flavor more than palatable, and the cool sensation helped on a hot day.
  2. I ate the gels at 30 and 90 minutes into the run. 100 mg of caffeine is equivalent to the amount in a big cup of coffee. I had a good jolt of alertness and energy both times. I recently tested Maurten’s CAF 100 gel, which also provides 100 mg of caffeine.
  3. 30 g of carbohydrates are way above the industry standard, but not so much that I had to worry about potential gastrointestinal sensitivity.
  4. I had an overall positive experience with this energy gel. It tasted more than alright, kept me running along in a good clip, and caused no stomach issues. It is a very solid option for those making fueling plans for upcoming races.