Honey Stinger Gold Organic Energy Gel comes in 31g sachet with 90 calories and 24g of carbohydrates. Its 95% organic honey and also has many micro-nutrients such as calcium, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and B12, and pantothenic acid. Its taste and texture are honey-like.
There are a plethora of energy gels on the market, and more players are entering the sports fuel scene every year with new technologies and gimmicks. I’ve personally tasted a good portion of the established brands. For someone like me, who doesn’t have an overly sensitive stomach, most options from reputable manufacturers do the job just fine.
I rarely notice anything out of the ordinary regarding energy boost until I tried Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels at a 28km trail race.
First, let’s get all the disclaimers out of the way. Every athlete is different, and every run and ride varies. There are many variables, so what happened in this race may just be a one-time thing. I get it.
However, the surge I felt after eating a Honey Stinger energy gel happened much faster and more noticeably than anything I had previously tried.
Honey is a well-established energy gel substitute, and Honey Stinger is a pioneer in using this honey bee-made fuel in sports nutrition. Let’s dig deeper and see if what I experienced made scientific sense or was it all in my head.
After browsing the Honey Stinger website, my three takeaways are 1. honey, 2. organic, and 3. natural.
As the brand name suggests, honey is the primary source of carbohydrates, and the company claims all ingredients used are natural and organic.
“Instant” and “burst of energy” are words and phrases used on the website.
Although Honey Stinger offers several flavors, including caffeinated and fruity options, I chose the original Honey Stinger Gold, which is 95% honey, because I prefer less flavoring. The complete ingredient run down:
Honey is 80% sugars (mainly glucose and fructose), 18% water, 2% vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a small amount of protein. It’s a rich source of a vitamin B complex, which is responsible for wide-ranging bodily functions. One of the most directly related functions for endurance athletes is converting food into energy and metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Honey Stinger Gold specifically underscored its vitamin B complex content in the ingredient list.
One pack of Honey Stinger Gold is 31g and offers the following:
Some micro-nutrients include:
The taste and consistency of Honey Stinger are naturally…honey-like. If you are a regular energy gel eater and enjoy the taste of honey, then Honey Stinger is probably a good energy gel for you.
I prefer the taste of honey over that of syrupy gels, so it’s a nice change of pace for my taste buds. But the texture is thicker than the standard energy gel, which some athletes might find less palatable.
Honey Stinger’s packaging is compact and fits in most belts, vests, and packs. It’s easy to tear open and won’t make a mess. Everything makes sense. Simple as that.
I brought four Honey Stinger Gold energy gels for the race, which took just over three hours.
I had oatmeal and banana an hour and a half before the start and ate an energy gel every 30-40 minutes. The temperature was a hot 30-34 degrees, so I ran a controlled race, never overextending myself.
While I prefer less flavoring for my energy gels, I have to point out the rave reviews from my running buddies regarding other Honey Stinger flavors. Strawberry Kiwi Caffeinated scored high in terms of taste.
I’ve used pure honey as race fuel in the past. It was easy on the stomach, but I found it slow-reacting compared with energy gels. So the Vitamin B Complex reasoning for the quick energy surges doesn’t entirely hold up.
I don’t have the scientific background to fully explain why Honey Stinger was so effective for me. Even on a previous two-hour training run, when I only ate one pack halfway, it was evident that the gel suited me.
As with most things about running, it’s probably a combination of physical and psychological reasons. Unless I’m testing a particular race fuel, I typically bring a mix of brands to avoid flavor and sweetness fatigue. While more investigation and testing are needed, I’m certain Honey Stinger will forever be part of my race fuel strategy.
Here are some more recent energy gel reviews. Have a read.