Do Energy Gels Really Expire?

May 3, 2017 /
Updated Mar 2, 2020

While running Georgia Death Race I noticed an unusual change in the consistency of my Power Gels. They tasted a little grainy instead of the usual smooth consistency. At the time I didn't think anything of it, but after running Forget the PR 50k two weeks later, I caved and checked the date on my 2 remaining gel packs.

April 2017. GDR was held on April 1-2nd so suddenly the dots were connected.

Oh how I wish I had checked the date after the race instead of halfway through consuming a packet.

My gels were expired. I checked Amazon to see when I ordered the gels as I couldn't remember. It had been well over a year and a half.

I always thought my sugary gel packets didn't have an expiration date. Or at least that the date was extremely far out. I'm guess that dragging my box of gels in my drop box to races and letting them sit out in all kinds of extreme weather speeds up the expiration process.

I bring gels to my ultras as back-up in case I'm running low on calories. That means they have sat in below freezing temps, (even below 0 temps!) and extreme summer heat.

My goal during an ultra is to take as few gels as possible and rely on solid food. However, I typically run with 6 gels on me and then have many more back ups at the start/finish area.

In summary, my gels have been put through the wringer.

And I have confirmed that sugary syrups do indeed have an expiration date.