A few years ago, I trialed a bunch of food from 32GI and found it to be most pleasant. Well fast forward a few years and we were sent a new batch by the guys, which included some funky new packaging too. Now while it’s easy to get excited about the aesthetics of how something looks, the real impact is in how the thing actually tastes.
So with that, I called upon one of our army of reviewers in the Ultra168 Supporters Club to help me give a completely impartial review of what this stuff is like. This is one of the many perks of being a supporter, you get the opportunity to review any gear or food we are sent, and the best bit is that you keep it. In the case of nutrition, it’s a little hard to give that back to a supplier and to be honest, I don’t even want to go there 🙂
So without further ado, here’s Ultra168 Supporter, Troy Lethlean’s review of a whole host of 32GI nutritional products…
32Gi Sports Gels, TruMag, Protein Recovery Sports Drink and Cranberry/Date Food Bar
The Running Gels
How do you review running gels? Well, I decided on a 4 pronged approach:
First, taste. Second, ingredients. Third, whether they ‘worked’ for me; and lastly, the packaging… one of the best marketing points for this particular gel.
First, the taste. Kind of a ‘nutty, buttery honey’ flavour is dominant across all gels. And you know what, once it was washed down with water, I didn’t taste it again! So many gels repeat on me, and the flavour seems to end up making me feel sick, but not with these. The additional flavouring on top of the rice syrup is quite mild. The most overpowering flavour was coffee (a flavour in gels that I usually avoid) but this was surprisingly pleasant at 4:30am while running along Burleigh Beach.
Secondly, the ingredients and ‘nutritional facts’… You get a stated 84 kilocalories, which means approximately 1 gel every 45 minutes is the recommended intake. The carbohydrate source is ‘Rice Syrup’. In terms of electrolytes, you get 0.14g of “salt” (I’m assuming sodium chloride; and also some potassium chloride – which is labelled as flavour enhancer e508). Protein, it states is less than 0.5g, which must be sourced from the rice syrup. The flavour varieties available and tested are Vanilla, Coffee, Raspberry, Passion Fruit and Blood Orange.
The main energy source is Rice Syrup. Don’t bother Googling this, you’ll end up confused by the variety of conflicting information. Rice Syrup is produced through enzyme reactions that breaks down the rice starch into a variety of complex and simple carbohydrates. Rice syrups aren’t all the same, so you can’t assume that you are comparing like for like with gels that use this energy source. The process ends up with various ratios of maltose, maltotriose and glucose, with traces of minerals, proteins and fat. According to several sources, rice syrups are high GI (around 98), a term which most Aussies are now familiar with… so, it will cause a fairly rapid increase in blood glucose, which may not be a bad thing if your cells need energy fast.
Did they work for me? I did three test runs, taking a gel before an easy 10km, two during a 30km Road Run (2 gels, 1 every 45 minutes) and two during a hard, hilly 30km Trail Run (1 each hour). During both runs I felt like energy levels were consistent for the duration of these sessions, both of which were over 2 hours. Unfortunately, during both the 30km runs I had some stomach cramping, but this may have been due to other factors, such as the early starts or other dietary issues.
Finally, the packaging. This is meant to be the big draw card for the 32Gi gels. The credit card-shaped packaging folds in half and out bursts the gel. It is quite a wide opening, so your mouth has to be completely over the packet… lucky I have a big mouth! Maybe 32Gi needs to provide an alternative for those who like to fill their own gel bottles?
Overall, I was stoked to be sent out some free gels for trialling, and if you are still searching for the gel that works for you, give them a try. The flavour is great, the rice syrup does what it should do, the price is comparable ($2.50 from www.32gi.com.au or their stockists), and the packaging may be a draw card for you if you are sick of trying to tear the tops off the other styles of gel (especially with frozen fingers during winter)
I am definitely a fan. I took these daily over the 30 days and took double before ‘events’ and I noticed a difference – which started to convince me that my running benefitted from this supplement. In my own running, I ran a 52km trail race and the Gold Coast marathon without cramping, and really felt stronger in my training runs. This could, of course, be attributed to increased fitness, better hydration and use of gels with electrolytes, who knows?
So, after I ran out of the bottle, I started researching the ingredients:
- L-Carnitine. I found a scientific study (yes, double-blind tests, placebos, the works – actual scientific study) that claimed it “produces enhanced anaerobic work capacity with reduced lactate accumulation in resistance trained males” – although the doses were higher than that of this supplement.
- Magnesium (chloride and oxide)- anecdotally, it appears to be more effective and reducing muscle cramp frequency and intensity. Not many studies to demonstrate evidence of this, but it definitely worked for me in two longer events.
I am very happy to report a foodbar with just food – Dates, cranberries, pea protein and apple juice. That’s it. No added sugars, nothing else. The problem is I didn’t like the taste. I think I was expecting something that tasted like solid fructose syrup (AKA Clif Bars!) – I admit to being a bit of a sugar addict. So, if you are sick of bars that have too many additives and preservatives, or want real food in a bar, this is for you.
Protein Recovery Sports Drink
If you want something to replace the glycogen, plus high in protein after your run – this is a good option. Why 32Gi and not other brands? Pea protein is a good option for those who don’t want animal derived proteins and it is claimed to be more easily digestible than whey products. You add this supplement just to 400mL of water – which I thought may be a bit ordinary on taste – but because it is a ‘recovery’ drink, it is high in sugar as well as protein, so I thought it was a bit sweet and the flavouring a bit overpowering – but it dissolved very easily (no chunks of powder stuck together at all) and didn’t seem to sit in the stomach.