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The Downfall of Spring Energy Gels

Updated: May 30

I've been holding off on saying anything negative about Spring Energy until more data came about. Well, here we are. This is probably the third strike against Spring. Coach Jason Koop sent several packets of Spring Energy gels off to an independent food lab and the results were disappointing. The actual amount of carbohydrate and calories were much lower than what was listed on the labels and nutrition facts.


Timeline




I think we all had some doubts about Springs's claims, but we never really wanted to look into them. Spring is a relatively new fueling and nutrition company that prides itself on natural products and real food ingredients. They incorporate real foods in their gels, gels that often taste more like fruit puree than the artificial sugar slime of some other companies.... gu....

However, Spring also claimed to have massive carbohydrate and calorie content. Some of their gels stated having 50g of carbs in a little packet of rice and fruit? Seemed too good to be true. Well, according to a couple food testing labs, it's not close to being true. Several folks have now sent Spring gels off to the labs to be independently tested, and the numbers weren't close to the amounts Spring has claimed. This really sucks. I have recommended Spring gels a lot, mainly based on those numbers. We know athletes often perform better with higher carbohydrate intake in long races. It feels really strange to be misled by one of those companies.


Spring Energy Gel on Trial for lying about its nutritional facts and carbohydrates

What do we do now?

Well I assume a lot of people are going to stop using Spring for several reasons. For one it feels pretty weird to be lied to in that way. ALSO those gels are expensive. Some place I've seen them near $5 a pop! I think I've justified that price to people by how high their nutritional content was. Dollar per carbohydrate they were competitively priced and most folks would gladly pay extra for a more natural and healthier product.

Spring was a good (but not real) injection of carbs into fueling plans for athletes. A quick 50g of carb bump in a marathon or ultra is massively helpful. Guess there goes that dream.

I'm not a little nervous for some similar products that have a more natural ingredient list. Huma is the first that comes to mind. I really like their product and would be very sad if they had a similar situation arise. I genuinely hope for all of these companies their nutrition facts on the labels match reality. Athletes are relying on these products to train and compete and companies will surely go bankrupt, quickly once people catch on to any discrepancies.

Funny enough I have had tons of athletes use things like apple sauce packets over the years as a cheaper alternative to Spring's Awesome Sauce. Well looks like that was a smart move in more ways than one.

It does seem that the Awesome Sauce flavor has the biggest discrepancy between the actual nutritional content and what's advertised. More testing is going on currently.


UPDATE

(a day later)

They tested the other flavors and it was also BAD.




David Roche and Jason Koop sharing a moment discussing the Spring Energy gel fiasco
David Roche and Jason Koop sharing a warm embrace after coming to a common understanding navigating the Spring Energy Carbohydrate fiasco. More like 54 grams of friendship

Going Forward

I hope this leads to even more independent lab tests of fueling and nutrition products. Transparency is insanely crucial when it comes to the things we put into our bodies. It's a good reminder to ensure we're tracking our fuel during runs and listening to our bodies' signals. Even if a label states a number, it's okay to question and make changes based on how we feel. It's a great reminder to me to be cautious and to do my research when recommending products to athletes.

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