The Dangers of Gels and GU

By Skip

The other day when I went out running, we had just come home from work and I had planned on doing a short run with my wife followed by a solo, longer run.  Before I went out on the shorter portion, I took a GU as I felt like I might need a little nutrition to get me through those miles I was about to put on.

I made it through the first segment just fine.  About 20 minutes into the second leg (60 minutes total) I started to have major GI tract distress.  Quite honestly I was barely able to make it through this part of the workout.  I know there are some people out there that are not aware of GI tract distress and running and will probably Google it…. it is not a pleasant thing to go through, TRUST ME.

Given the analytical mind that I have and always wanting to know what causes things, I started to analyze what the heck caused this.  To be quite honest with you, it lasted me at least 36 hours AFTER my run.  Either I had contracted something at work or out and about OR I had eaten something that had not been cleaned…….. then it hit me.

Unless you buy your GU or gels in enclosed packaged boxes, most of the individual packages that you buy sit out in the open.  Countless people have picked them up, looked at them and placed them back in the box.  In the meantime, YOU have picked up one of these packets, purchased it, went home and tore off the top.  You then proceeded to slide your mouth over the top part of the packaging and ingested whatever germs resided on this packaging in addition to the GU contents.  That’s right, I am blaming my stomach problems on GU!  HA!

Seriously people…. the more I think about it, I will only ever buy my gels and GUs in pre-packaged boxes from now on.  Even if this was not the cause, it could very well be in the future and just imagine that happening during a race, as I am sure it has happened to many of you out there.

Remember… Always be careful and GU responsibly!

If you liked that post, then try these...

Duathlon Nationals? Serious or not!? on July 6th, 2013

The Quest for Boston on March 7th, 2013

Upcoming Duathlon on September 20th, 2012

Race Results :: A1A Half Marathon (2012) on February 21st, 2012

A1A Half Marathon Preparation on February 17th, 2012

Filed in: Diet / Nutrition, Running, Triathlon • Thursday, January 13th, 2011


Interesting Skip and it makes a lot of sense. Thinking about the bacteria and germs on peoples hands that touch those packets and then stay on there for extended periods of time. Great tip.


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So if you have read any of the blog thus far you know a little bit about me… I can not be told what to do and I push myself about as far as I can be pushed!

But how did I get here and why? Well, that is what this page is about.

I was never really the athletic type. Sure, I played tennis in high school (and quite well, mind you) but running CERTAINLY was never my thing!

The start of 2009 was big for me as I came to the realization that I had put on too much weight over the past 10 years (read more...)