How to Make Energy Gel
In a survival or emergency situation, water, food, and shelter will often be among your top priorities. Depending on the situation, food may not readily be available around the region where the disaster took place. If it came down to that, the survivor may have to travel to acquire a new food source.
Whatever the case, a practical, cost saving do it yourself project can ensure you always have a few days worth of food until more can be acquired. Obviously, an individual couldn’t survive solely off eating energy gels, but they will provide a burst of energy allowing the survivor to press on.
This post will discuss how to make your own energy gel, which is nutritionally similar to Power Gel or comparable product. Not only will making it yourself provide dramatic savings over buying Power Gel (or most any other brand), but it also allows the survivor to have complete control over the ingredients used.
Before you learn about several basic energy gel recipes, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how energy gels work.
How Energy Gels Work
In order to fully realize the benefits of energy gels, it’s important to know how they work.
The glycemic index measures how quickly types of food is likely to raise your blood sugar. So if your blood sugar is low and continuing to drop during strenuous physical activity, it would be ideal to eat a carb that will raise your blood sugar quickly.
Or, if you would like to keep your blood sugar from dropping during a few hours of milder activity, it would make sense to eat a carb that has a lower glycemic index and longer action time.
The following is a list of some common sugars you could potentially use to make an energy gel and their relative glycemic index score. Glucose is the baseline with a score of 100, keep in mind this list is approximate values and depending on what source you’re looking at, the values may vary slightly:
Glucose – 100
Fructose – 22
Lactose – 46
Sucrose (white sugar) – 64
Brown Sugar – 64
Barley Malt Syrup- 42
Brown Rice Syrup – 25
Raw Honey – 30
Agave Syrup – 15
High Fructose Corn Syrup – 62
Stevia – < 1
Sugar Cane Juice – 43
Evaporated Cane Juice – 55
Maple Syrup – 54
Black Strap Molasses – 55
Maltodextrin – 105
Generally, brown rice syrup and agave syrup are preferred for a longer lasting, steady supply of energy. Feel free to experiment with various sugar types to see how your body reacts as well as the taste. You may even want to keep two or more batches of energy gel in a survival kit, one with a sugar with a high score and the other with a lower score. That way you can use either a longer lasting but milder gel or if you need it, an energy gel that will provide a rapid burst of energy that will soon wear off. Like other survival foods, there is no recipe written in stone. Keep in mind you can also add additional supplements such as crushed up caffeine tablets, protein and/or vitamin powders, etc., to maximize the effect of the energy gel. Use the tool below to gather basic nutritional values of each ingredient you choose to use.
Below are some common recipes, feel free to modify and/or create your own favorite combination to create your ideal energy gel. Consider sharing them so that others may also benefit from your knowledge!
- 75% Brown Rice Syrup 25% Agave Syrup1 Tsp Salt (or electrolyte powder)
- 60% Brown Rice Syrup 40% Honey
- 40% Brown Rice Syrup 30% Honey 30% Blackstrap Molasses
Some additional supplements include: caffeine tablets, green tea powder, protein/BCAA powder, multivitamin powder or crushed up tablet, etc. Be advised that by adding these additional supplements, the shelf life will decrease. Many supplements are susceptible to extreme temperatures so it’s best to not keep any supplement enhanced gels for storage more than a day or two.
Now that you’ve made your energy gel, you’ll need a good container to store it in. There’s a multitude of options for storage. Some products are solely designed for DIY energy gel, common brands include Coghlan Squeeze Tubes and Hammer Gel Flasks. You can just as easily improvise by using various hygiene squeeze tubes and bottles commonly found in the travel or sample sized section of most grocery/convenience stores.
If you’re having trouble mixing the gel, simply add the ingredients in the container then securely fasten the lid. Submerge the container in hot water for a few moments and shake it around. The hot water will help loosen the viscosity of the ingredients inside allowing them to more easily mix. If using only basic ingredients such as brown rice syrup, honey, agave syrup, etc., the shelf life of the energy gel will last almost indefinitely if stored in an airtight, waterproof container at room temperature. Remember, if you choose to you add additional supplements, this will dramatically decrease the shelf life.