This Caffeine-Free Energy "Gel" Gave Me an All-Day Boost

Chargel Energy Drink Review
Courtesy of Chargel
Courtesy of Chargel
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My energy levels during an average day work in one of two ways: either I stay energized, thanks to three cups of coffee strategically spaced throughout my day, or I start my day wide awake without caffeine and hit a 3 p.m. slump that demands afternoon coffee. I also teach yoga classes after workdays and on the weekends, so on some days, I need to be a functioning adult for long periods of time.

I feel OK about my coffee consumption, but I'm also down to try other ways to keep my energy levels up. So, when Chargel offered to let me try its caffeine-free gel energy drink that comes in a resealable pouch, I was excited to give it a try. Chargel is a gel-textured drink meant to help give you an instant boost of energy before exercise, according to the brand's site. That said, its ingredients can offer a pick-me-up any time of day.

Chargel doesn't have caffeine; instead, it contains a mix of sugars and vitamins designed to provide an energy boost. The riboflavin, vitamin B6, thiamin hydrochloride, and vitamin B12 inside "don't directly provide energy themselves but are a common ingredient in many energy drinks, because they're needed for cells to break down carbs and fat for energy," Holly Klamer, a registered dietitian nutritionist and writer for My Crohns and Colitis Team, says. The dextrin (a type of starch), sugar, and strawberry juice in Chargel "all provide simple carbohydrates that can be broken down easily for immediate energy," she says. "These ingredients cause a spike in blood sugar, which can increase energy levels."

My Review of Chargel Gel Energy Drink

On a sluggish Wednesday morning, I tried a chilled Strawberry Chargel ($21 for a six-pack) after storing it in the fridge overnight. I work from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, so I need energy throughout the day. The pouch reminded me of those snackable apple-sauce pouches, and the drink has the texture of Jell-O. The strawberry flavor was reminiscent of those mysterious strawberry candies every older relative seems to keep in their candy dish.

I only took a few sips (not even a third of the pouch), but I still felt perked up — so I closed the pouch with the screw-on cap and popped it back in the fridge. I felt energized for the rest of the morning and didn't experience a massive crash. Once 3 p.m. rolled around, I started to feel my energy dip a bit, so I took a few more sips. Again, Chargel worked its magic: I felt energized for the remainder of the day, including during my two evening yoga classes. I teach two classes in one night, which can be really physically and mentally demanding, since I'm moving and speaking at the same time; just a bit of Chargel, however, helped me feel more alert and energized.

I'll definitely be reaching for Chargel more often in the future. I can space it out over the course of the day and don't feel pressured to down a pouch in one go; I can just have a few sips whenever I need a pick-me-up. (Note: the brand recommends that you keep it refrigerated and consume within 24 hours after cracking open a pouch.) I still have a strong love for a cup (or three) of joe, but this is a subtly sweet boost I'll definitely add to my caffeine-free days or before a workout.