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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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: