Summary of Santa Madre Unusual Gel review: Santa Madre Unusual Gel is an enormous single-serving energy gel with 60 g of carbohydrates, 241 calories, and 70 ml in volume. The flavor is palatable, and the consistency is on the watery end of the spectrum. If you plan to take the entire gel in one go, be sure your stomach is trained for such a hefty dose of sugar.
At 60g of carbohydrates per sachet, Santa Madre’s Unusual Gel is the most energy-dense energy gel reviewed by Runivore.
When I tested this energy gel from SiS, I mentioned that sports nutrition brands are engaging in an arms race to see who can pack in the most sugar. I’ve also reviewed Precision Hydration & Fuel’s “Jumbo Gel,” but that one had a resealable twist cap, so it wasn’t meant as a single serving.
For reference, each GU Original energy gel supplies around 20 g of carbohydrates. Although scientific studies suggest that the human body can process up to 90-120 g of carbohydrates per hour, the average runner eats only 2-3 packs for marathons, about 40-60 g of carbohydrates. Moreover, the rule of thumb is to spread it out and not try to cram the entire amount all at once.
What I’m trying to say is that 60 g of carbohydrates is A LOT for your stomach to handle! Read the following review to find out how my body responded to Santa Madre Unusual Gel.
The writing on the company website was a bit strange, making it difficult to understand the points the brand wanted to make. I also found a lack of information explaining some of the features claimed.
Regardless, below are a few of the selling points and what I managed to decipher after my test drives.
The energy gel comes in one flavor – Neutral-Lemon. It’s watery with a bit of tartness and has a mild medicine taste. It’s not the best-tasting gel I’ve tried, but also definitely not the worst.
The mentioned “Refresh Technology” provides a cool sensation in your mouth, throat and upper chest, similar to drinking a minty beverage but without the mint flavor. I don’t know whether it helped regulate my body temperatures, as claimed by the brand, but it was refreshing indeed.
It’s a 100 g energy gel, which is very big but understandable. Santa Madre had to increase the water content to ensure the 60 g of carbohydrates didn’t make the gel too sweet and thick.
At a whoppin’ 100 g or 70 ml, Santa Madre Unusual Gel provides 241 calories and 60 g of carbohydrates, of which 16 g are from sugar. It also delivers electrolytes in 100 mg of sodium, 23.2 mg of magnesium, and what I deduced as 1000 mg of potassium (50% of NRV of 2000 mg).
Regarding ingredients, Santa Madre Unusual Gel uses four types of sugar: maltodextrin, dextrose (both are pretty much the same as glucose), isomaltulose (a combination of glucose and fructose), and fructose. The gel is formulated based on a 1:0.8 glucose-to-fructose ratio, allowing your body to replenish carbohydrates through two pathways.
Water, maltodextrin, isomaltulose, dextrose, fructose, sodium chloride, magnesium bisglycinate, citric acid (acidifier), potassium citrate, preservatives: potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate, natural flavors, l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
It’s a big gel, which it had to be considering the water and carbohydrate content. At 17.5 cm x 5 cm, the sachet is not fitting in normal-size shorts pockets and most front compartments of hydration vests. If you want to bring this product on runs and rides, make sure you have appropriate fuel-carrying gears (running belts or back pockets of bike jerseys).
I’m a fan of sachets with a “connected” tear design, which prevents tiny pieces of litter. It’s especially convenient when you’re biking and have to open the sachet with just one hand and your teeth.
Ignoring the inconveniences of such a big pack, the overall consumption experience, from ripping it open to eating the gel, was positive.
I tested Santa Madre Unusual Gel on two runs. On one, I ate the energy gel gradually over an hour, treating it like three gels. On the second run, I slammed it down all at once.
Below are some takeaways from my experiences:
Three days later, it was time. I used the energy gel as it’s meant to be used, a single-serving product. Aka, pound it all down.
Santa Madre Unusual Gel is an enormous single-serving energy gel with 60 g of carbohydrates, 241 calories, and 70 ml in volume. As a reference, the original GU gel contains only 20-25 g of carbohydrates. The flavor is palatable, and the consistency is on the watery end of the spectrum.
Unusual Gel has what the brand dubbed “Refresh Technology,” which creates a pleasantly cool sensation in your mouth and throat. I would like to see clarification about the thermoregulation benefits claimed by the company.
I found the gel more effective when consuming it gradually over an hour. It maintained my energy levels but required me to hold onto an opened sachet while running. When I took the whole thing all at once, I felt a noticeable boost initially, but then the feeling dissipated earlier than expected. I also had mild stomach pain not too long after consumption.
Santa Madre Unusual Gel certainly packs a carbohydrate punch, but make sure your gut is ready for it.