If you belong to the generations that grew up in the mid-90s, you will remember the ‘Be like the Mike’ Gatorade campaign.
This energy drink has remained popular among professional athletes and youth until today. Unless you plan on drinking the whole bottle at once, you will wonder does Gatorade go bad. Let’s find out.
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Does Gatorade Go Bad?
According to the FDA’s requirements, Gatorade comes with the best before date, just like other electrolyte drinks. The date on the bottle label represents an approximate manufacturer estimation for the period with maximum product quality.
So, you can drink Gatorade safely past that date, although you may notice a flavor declination as time goes on. In general, you don’t need to worry as long as you keep an unopened bottle in a pantry. In rare cases, Gatorade can go bad due to improper storage or bacteria contamination.
How Long Does Gatorade Last?
Although the word Gatorade is most commonly used to denote this brand of energy drinks, Gatorade company offers a wide range of products. Therefore, you can buy electrolyte water, refreshing beverages in several different flavors, Gatorade protein powder, shake, and even energy chewing gum.
All these products are shelf-stable, and you can keep them in your pantry for years. In fact, an unopened bottle can stay in perfect condition up to three years after the best before date printed on the label.
Once you open a Gatorade bottle, you need to keep it in the fridge. Otherwise, your drink will decarbonate in a few hours, and the taste will be no longer the same.
Gatorade shelf life
|Unopened bottle||1 to 3 years||1 to 3 years|
|Opened bottle||6 to 12 hours||3 to 5 days|
|Home-made||1 to 2 days||3 to 4 days|
|Gatorade chews||No expiration date||Unsafe|
|Gatorade powder||1 to 2 years||Unsafe|
If you prefer the Gatorade powder instead of an energy drink, you will probably use it all before it spoils. Namely, the powdery Gatorade is safe to consume up to two years after its expiration date.
Contrary, making your home-made Gatorade means you need to use it in the next couple of days. You can keep that drink at room temperature for one to two days while putting it in the fridge prevents spoilage for a maximum of four to five days.
5 Tips to Tell If Gatorade Has Gone Bad
If you open a Gatorade bottle and don’t drink it in a week, it will go bad, even though you store it in the fridge. Even the Gatorade powder will spoil over time. Fortunately, there are clear indicators that can show you when it is time to discard the bottle:
Gatorade color depends on its flavor. So, you can choose between white, light blue, and pink drinks. Whichever energy beverage you prefer, a change in the original color signifies that the Gatorade formula has changed.
Your drink color can suddenly fade or get a very dark shade. In either case, spill the liquid and throw the empty bottle in the trash.
If you keep a Gatorade drink in the pantry for too long, you may notice the residue at the bottle bottom. On the other hand, the sediment at the bottom of the open bottle stored in the fridge is a definite indication that you don’t need to consume that drink.
You can try to shake the bottle to dissolve the deposits again but then put it down for a while. If you see the undissolved mass at the bottom appeared within a few minutes, it is an indicator that your drink is spoiled.
Typically, Gatorade smells of fruits like lemon or mango. Once you sense a rancid or moldy odor inside the bottle rim, you should throw it away. The foul odor means your drink is spoiled, and its consumption is unsafe. Some reviews describe that bad Gatorade has a rotten eggs’ sulfurous smell.
If the Gatorade looks unchanged, you will determine its quality by taking a sip. It doesn’t matter if you drink from a bottle or pour the beverage in a glass. If Gatorade has gone bad, you will feel a foul, bitter taste instead of sweet fruity notes.
Mold and lumps
Bacteria can contaminate both Gatorade drinks and protein powder. The presence of green or black dots means that mold growth has occurred. Once you notice lumps or saliva-like floating in the liquid, discard the bottle immediately. Drinking bad Gatorade may cause nausea and stomach problems.
4 Tips to Store Gatorade
If you buy Gatorade bottles in bulk, you will need to store them properly to prolong their shelf life. Your pantry is an ideal place for unopened Gatorades, but there are four things you can do to prevent them from going bad:
Keep it away from heat
Gatorade glass bottles became a thing of the past in 1998, and you can only find them as collectibles nowadays. Since that year, Gatorade has come in a recycling plastic bottle you need to keep away from the sun and other heat sources.
If you expose Gatorade to a high temperature, plastic microparticles will be released into the liquid and contaminate it. As a result, your energy beverage will contain chemicals that may endanger your health.
Place it in a dark spot
Unopened Gatorade should be stored in a dark, dry place with a room temperature around 68 F (20 C) because it retains its optimal quality and taste in these conditions. It is better to avoid keeping it at a temperature below 40 F (4.4 C).
Refrigerate before use
Most people don’t like lukewarm Gatorade. Place it in a fridge an hour before use to cool it and get the maximum refreshing effect. Remember that an opened bottle shouldn’t stand for long at room temperature. Seal it tight and put it back in the refrigerator until next use.
Make your own drink
If you enjoy the Gatorade taste, you will benefit from having a home-made energy drink always available in your fridge. Although it has a short shelf life, the recipe is quick and easy to prepare, so you can make a weekly habit of preparing the amount you need.
A bonus is that you will avoid the artificial sugars, dyes, and additives that the purchased Gatorade contains. In addition to water, you need some other ingredients for a home-made Gatorade alternative, including:
- Sugar-free fruit juice, preferably 100% pure fruit
- Coconut water
- Lemon, lime, or mango juice
- Dash of salt
The ingredients ratio depends on the sweetness and intensity of the taste you prefer. So, you can experiment with different measurements until you find the recipe most similar to your favorite Gatorade drink.
The Risk of Consuming an Expired Gatorade
In addition to having a long shelf life, Gatorade is one of the drinks that doesn’t pose any health risks even for consumption after the expiration date. Of course, think twice before you grab a Gatorade bottle that has been forgotten in the pantry for years. Its taste has probably changed, and you won’t enjoy drinking it.
Keep in mind that excessive consumption can have a significant impact on your health. Professional athletes can quickly burn all the electrolytes, sugars, and additives they have within a Gatorade bottle.
On the other hand, you will ingest excessive sugar by drinking even the smallest Gatorade bottle if you don’t do sports or some demanding physical activity regularly. In most cases, regular Gatorade drinking can eventually result in tooth decay, obesity, heart diseases, and an increased risk of diabetes.
That is especially true for children, whose rehydration needs are met by plain water, making energy drinks unnecessary. Yet most kids occasionally use some energy beverage types.
Can You Freeze Gatorade?
If you visit the Gatorade official site, you will quickly learn that the manufacturer advises against freezing its energy drinks. It also informs you that exposing the Gatorade beverages at low temperatures can compromise the taste integrity.
Luckily, you won’t decrease its nutrition values even if you freeze the drink since the electrolytes remain unchanged. Remember, you need to put a bottle of Gatorade in the freezer on ultra-fast cooling. Otherwise, you risk bottle shattering if you forget it and let the liquid freeze slowly.
Some people enjoy the Gatorade slushies they get by semi-freezing this energy drink. There are several methods to prepare this treat, but the best one is to pour the Gatorade into an ice cube tray.
Set the freezer thermostat to 32 F (0 C), and leave the tray sits in the freezer overnight. The next morning, take a couple of cubes, put them in a blender with some water and your favorite fruit, and make your own refreshing drink.
Gatorade has a long shelf life, and it is safe to consume after the date on the label pass. Once you open a bottle, you should keep it in a fridge. It is a refreshing and helpful drink when doing sports or physically strenuous activities, but excessive drinking carries some health risks.