Huma to try their gel, I was pretty excited. We've discussed gels with chia on the Endurance Planet podcast, but I had yet to try one. I really didn't know what to expect.
Being totally clueless on how my gut would handle this new kind of gel, I decided to try one for the first time in the Portland rock n roll half marathon -- definitely a wise idea, right?! Nothin like sumthin new on race day. I tried Apple Cinnamon, and I gave John a Strawberry (the only two flavors).
I opened the gel sometime after the 60 min mark. I took a small slurp of the gel (always take 'em in small portions and with water) and definitely felt the chia seed clumps -- not in a bad way at all though; I liked the texture the chia gave. The flavor was very true to apple cinn, as well, and I loved that (heck, Apple Pie Bonk Breakers are my favorite). I pictured myself squirting this gel on top of a GF pancake as a delicious "syrup" (Yea, I'm weird like that).
The only thing I didn't like as much is that the gel itself was a little thicker/stickier and harder to swallow than I would have liked, but they were tolerable and not as bad as some gels I've tried that are practically like chalk.
Unfortunately I dropped the gel at one point, but it was almost gone I think and I got in enough to get the gist... I had it during the half hour heading into a half-mary PR and I didn't barf.
A look at the nutrition: Huma Chia gel has 20-21g CHO with 14-16g sugar that comes from fruit (apple puree or strawberry), brown rice syrup and evaporated cane sugar. The brown rice syrup provides complex carbs, maltose and glucose -- different than most gels. I would assume the complex carbs makes this absorb more slowly, but it's also high in glucose (the maltose is essentially 2 glucose molecules), and glucose increases blood sugar fast, and requires sufficient of water to make it an isotonic solution (same concentration/osmolarity as blood). You don't see a lot of brown rice syrup in gels, and I'm no expert on using it for exercise fueling. Anyone? That said, the evaporate cane sugar is glucose and fructose, and is less processed/refined allowing it to retain higher nutrition value. Personally, if I do gel, I usually look for one with maltodextrin (well-absorbed) and a thin consistency.
Additionally Huma's chia seeds provide 1.5g fat and 895mg Omega-3 fatty acids. All you fat-lovers out there should appreciate that! Of course, chia has been shown to be a sustaining fuel for long endurance events. But intensity of exercise and the amount of chia play a role in that for sure (the amount of chia in this gel is rather small). There's also 100-110mg sodium and a bit of fiber.
Bottom line: I'll still limit my gel intake, but I didn't seem to have any issues with this gel and it tasted great and true to flavor. It wasn't too overly sweet nor too sugary tasting either (which I despise in gels).
I just received this book in the mail and CANNOT wait to dive into it! I had a chance to start browsing through it last night, and I'm already impressed. Jason and Carolyn are no joke; they know their stuff! The book is extremely well researched, informative and references a lot of current studies -- love that. I don't think there is another book on female runners quite like this. And even though it's running based in the title, it pretty much can apply to any female endurance athlete, triathlete of otherwise. Plus, while I love the heavy science/research-based side of it, the book is also very practical and reads well no matter who you are.
I can guarantee already that it's a book I'll be recommending to all you female athletes out there (and guys, too, so you can learn about us ladies)! You will learn something new and useful.