G Fuel Review: Gamer Fuel or Overpriced Flavored Caffeine?

G Fuel Review: Gamer Fuel or Overpriced Flavored Caffeine?

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G Fuel is an energy supplement targeted to gamers which calls itself the “Official Drink of Esports”. The brand's marketing is targeted to kids and teenagers, including partnerships with some of the biggest streamers in the world like Pewdiepie.

In this article we’ll review the ingredients in G Fuel based on published medical research to determine whether we believe the supplement is likely to improve energy, and whether it's a healthy option.

We’ll be using the ingredients in one of G Fuel's best selling products called Sour Blue Chug Rug as the basis for our analysis, but most of their energy powders have a similar formulation so our general comments are consistent for all G Fuel energy powders.

The Supplement Facts label for G Fuel powder contains many ingredients, so we’ll break these into distinct ingredient review sections for clarity: vitamins, nootropics, Antioxidant Complex and finally inactive ingredients.

Ingredient Review | Vitamins

GFuel Supplement Facts vitamins section

G Fuel adds a variety of vitamins to their supplements, including Vitamin C, Vitamin E and some B vitamins like Vitamin B12. As we explained in depth in our review of supplements for teens, there doesn't appear to be any health or performance benefit from taking random blends of vitamins, especially fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E, for people not deficient in those vitamins.

We have no reason to believe that taking a random blend of vitamins improves focus, concentration or energy, and G Fuel hasn’t provided any, so we will assume this entire ingredient section adds zero performance benefits.

Ingredient Review | Nootropics

GFuel Supplement Facts active ingredients section

Nootropics is a term which refers to chemical compounds proven to increase cognition and concentration short-term. This is the primary reason that consumers take G Fuel.

Caffeine is an effective nootropic compound, and arguably the most well-studied nootropic in the world. It's included in G Fuel at a dosage of 140 milligrams (mg), which is equivalent to around 1.5 cups of coffee. This is an effective dose.

A medical review published in 2017 proved that caffeine supplementation increases mental attention and alertness at a dosing range between 75 mg and 150 mg.

G Fuel contains an amino acid called l-tyrosine at a dose of 1,000 mg. We haven’t come across any medical research showing it to be effective at that low a dose. A clinical trial found tyrosine to be effective for improving cognitive performance at a daily dose of 10,000 mg, or 10x the amount in G Fuel. Another study showed tyrosine improved memory during acute stress, but the dosage was 150 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) or about 13x the dosage in G Fuel for an average-weight adult male.

This formulation has a comically-low 1 mg dose of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. This is a different form of the same amino acid mentioned above, but the dosage is so low that we don't believe it should even be included as an active ingredient.

As we described above, even 1,000 mg of tyrosine appears to be too low of a dose to be effective. This dose is 1/1000 of that amount. G Fuel is including 0.1﹪ of an already underdosed ingredient on their Supplement Facts panel. The potential performance benefit from taking 1 mg of tyrosine would be like splitting one sip of coffee over a year.

It's also notable that this formulation contains the following combination of ingredients: glucoronolactone, taurine and caffeine. A medical trial published in the Journal of Nutrition found that this exact combination caused negative changes to blood pressure and insulin sensitivity in young, healthy adults.

Overall we find this nootropics section of G Fuel to be underwhelming. Caffeine is the only ingredient we can identify to be effectively dosed for concentration and cognition benefit, and there is an ingredient combination we believe may be unsafe.

Ingredient Review | Antioxidant Complex

GFuel Supplement Facts Antioxidant Complex section

The theme of comically underdosed ingredients continues in this section. G Fuel’s entire Antioxidant Complex totals 26 mg. For reference, one apple has a dose of 242,000 mg (source). This means that G Fuel’s entire antioxidant complex containing 19 individual fruits is 0.01﹪ of the dosage of one apple.

Supplement companies often include very small amounts of exotic or healthy ingredients to make their Supplement Facts label look more impressive, because many consumers can’t properly interpret the dosage. We called out this exact same practice in our Goli gummies review

Goli highlights all of the health benefits of pomegranate in their marketing while their actual products contains so little pomegranate that it's not even listed as an active ingredient.

We don't believe there are likely to be any performance or cognition benefits from 26 mg of antioxidants, nor does G Fuel even try to suggest or prove there are. We consider this entire section to be ineffective and a waste of space on the ingredients label.

Ingredient Review | Inactive Ingredients

GFuel Supplement Facts inactive ingredients section

G Fuel contains several ingredients in their “Other Ingredients” section that we would recommend avoiding for health reasons.

The first is natural and artificial flavors. These are broad descriptors which don't describe the actual chemical compounds which make up the flavoring agents. Some flavoring compounds have been removed from the market by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. for potential harm to consumer health. Without knowing what specific chemicals are used here, we cannot determine safety, which is why we recommend avoiding this ingredient.

The product also contains artificial food dye which is associated with a wide range of health issues based on published research. The linked medical review details how some artificial food dyes may be carcinogenic, while others are contaminated with toxins like benzidine.

Acesulfame potassium is an artificial sweetener which is ironically linked to lowered cognition in medical research. We broke down the medical research on this ingredient in our Premier Protein nutrition article, because that’s another popular brand which uses this sweetener. This ingredient has no place in a product that's used to improve cognition.

Our Energy & Nootropic Recommendations

Gamers and esports athletes have two core needs from a performance supplement: improved energy and improved cognition. There are natural compounds which are proven in medical literature to be effective in achieving these outcomes.

Ginkgo biloba extract is arguably the most well-studied nootropic supplement. It’s derived from the leaves of a tree native to China, and has been proven to improve memory, cognition and focus in hundreds of published medical research studies.

Ginkgo biloba has not only been shown effective in older adults (the population that most nootropic studies are conducted on), but also in young, healthy adults which is impressive. A medical review published in the Psychopharmacology journal found ginkgo biloba supplementation to improve attention and cognitive performance in healthy, young adults.

Panax ginseng extract can be used to improve energy naturally, and doesn’t have the crash of traditional stimulants like caffeine. Panax ginseng has published clinical backing for its ability to reduce mental fatigue and reduce physical fatigue; both health effects that can benefit e-sports athletes.

G Fuel Cans Review

G Fuel sells canned energy drinks in a number of flavors. The formulations are similar to the energy powders reviewed previously. 

The cans contain more vitamins and minerals than the powder, but as we stated previously, we disagree with the practice of adding random blends of vitamins and minerals to supplement products, and we believe it confers zero benefit in terms of performance or energy.

G Fuel cans contain a higher caffeine dose than the powder: 300 mg. This is equivalent to around 3 cups of coffee. We have no issue with this dose for healthy adults, but it's a relatively high dose that may cause anxiety in adolescents without any tolerance to caffeine. We would also recommend that consumers with high blood pressure speak with their doctor prior to consuming this high a dose of caffeine.

The cans contain the preservative potassium sorbate, and we generally recommend avoiding processed food and drink products with preservatives. There are no nutritive benefits to preservative intake, and their intake may be disadvantageous to human health.

We don't recommend G Fuel cans and we consider their formulation inferior to G Fuel powder given the inclusion of a synthetic preservative.

G Fuel Hydration Review

G Fuel Hydration ingredients

G Fuel recently launched "hydration" products, which the brand claims can help users "keep yourself hydrated." The Supplement Facts label above is from G Fuel's "FAZE X HYDRATION" product.

We don't understand how this powder is supposed to keep users hydrated more than water alone, and G Fuel provides zero evidence of such, so this health claim and this product positioning generally is quite confusing.

This product is free of preservatives and some of the questionable nootropic combinations in G Fuel powder, so we would consider this the healthiest G Fuel formulation of the three categories we've reviewed. 

That being said, we do not recommend this product because it contains a random blend of vitamins and minerals, artificial flavors, and an artificial sweetener. We would strongly recommend drinking water alone for hydration over this blend.

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We would not recommend G Fuel to e-sports athletes or to any consumer. The only effectively dosed ingredient we could identify in their powder formulation is caffeine, which can be taken in isolation at a much better price than G Fuel.

G Fuel contains many additive ingredients we believe may be harmful to human health, including artificial dye and artificial sweetener. The G Fuel powder supplement also contains a combination of nootropic ingredients which may negatively impact blood pressure and insulin function.

G Fuel also sells energy drinks and hydration products, neither of which we recommend, and both of which we find to contain questionable additive ingredients which may not be healthy.

We believe that ginkgo biloba extract and panax ginseng extract are better options for improving concentration and reducing both mental and physical fatigue while playing video games.

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