Is Gatorade Fast Twitch Unhealthy? An Ingredient Analysis

Is Gatorade Fast Twitch Unhealthy? An Ingredient Analysis


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Fast Twitch is a new energy drink launched by Gatorade. The brand advertises that it has electrolytes, zero sugar, and caffeine “to help athletes focus the mind and power the body for athletic performance.”

But does Fast Twitch contain an effective dose of caffeine for improving workouts? What about an effective dose of electrolytes? Does it contain any potentially unhealthy additive ingredients? And are there other Gatorade drinks that may be a better choice for optimizing performance?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Gatorade Fast Twitch based on medical studies to give our take on whether it’s likely to be effective for enhancing athletic performance and if it’s healthy or not.

We’ll highlight a few questionable additive ingredients in this drink, and compare it to other Gatorade drinks to give our take on which is the best choice for improving strength and stamina during workouts.

Ingredient Analysis – Is Fast Twitch Unhealthy?

Gatorade Fast Twitch ingredients

The ingredients in the “Cool Blue” flavor of Fast Twitch are shown above.

Caffeine is the most important ingredient in most energy drinks, and Fast Twitch provides a 200 milligram (mg) dose.

A medical review published in the Sports Medicine journal found that caffeine improves power and reduces physical fatigue. The minimum effective dose was reported to be around 100 mg.

Caffeine was also shown to reduce mental fatigue in a meta-study published in the Nutrients journal. Most of the clinical trials analyzed used a dose of around 100 mg.

We will conclude that Gatorade Fast Twitch provides an effective dose of caffeine and is likely to improve exercise performance. However, its electrolyte composition is much less impressive in our opinion.

Fast Twitch contains two electrolytes according to its Nutrition Facts label: sodium and potassium.

Sodium is included at a dose of only 160 mg, or 7% of the Daily Value (DV). While better than nothing, an elite athlete may need vastly more than this to recover what’s lost through sweat.

Potassium is included at only 50 mg, which is less than 1% DV.

The combination of caffeine, water and electrolytes makes for a performance-enhancing energy drink. But there are also several additive ingredients that health-conscious consumers may want to avoid.

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener, and is what’s used so that Gatorade can claim “zero sugar.” A clinical trial published in the Nutrition Journal found that sucralose had a negative impact on insulin levels in healthy adults.

Citric acid is a flavor enhancer and preservative that can cause whole-body inflammation in some individuals according to a medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal.

Natural flavor is a broad descriptor that fails to identify the specific flavoring compound(s) used. As we documented in our review of Gatorade Zero ingredients, some natural flavoring compounds and their metabolites may have toxic effects according to clinical studies.

Overall we consider Gatorade Fast Twitch to be relatively unhealthy because of the additive ingredients, and especially the inclusion of an artificial sweetener.

But how does Gatorade Fast Twitch compare to other Gatorade drinks? Which is the healthiest option? We’ll review in the next section.

We Tried Fast Twitch

Gatorade Fast Twitch UGC

As the author of this article, I wanted to try Gatorade Fast Twitch myself to share my thoughts on the taste and effects.

I purchased the Cool Blue flavor from my local Walmart, and while I thought it tasted acceptable for a sports drink, the artificial sweetness made it taste worse than regular sugar-sweetened Cool Blue Gatorade to me.

I used the product about 30 minutes before working out.

I didn't notice any increased strength or performance benefits from using this energy drink like a pre-workout. Perhaps it would be better for cardio, but for strength training, I didn't enjoy any benefits.

I didn't feel like the drink gave me much added energy or focus. Surely it provided a slight boost in focus due to the caffeine, but I personally find that naturally-caffeinated drinks like coffee provide a much bigger mental boost for the same caffeine content because coffee contains other stimulants like theobromine.

Overall, I would not purchase this product again as I didn't like the taste or effects, and I don't like drinking commercial sports drinks with so many additives.

I would rate Gatorade Fast Twitch 1.5 out of 10.

Which Gatorade Product is Healthiest?

Gatorade sells a wide variety of different sports nutrition and energy drinks with different benefits.

As we documented in our review of Gatorlyte ingredients, all three of Gatorade’s most popular drinks (Gatorade Original, Gatorlyte and Gatorade Zero) contain artificial food dye in some of their flavors.

Artificial food dyes were shown in a 2012 medical review to have a wide range of negative health effects, and the researchers even concluded “that all of the currently used dyes should be removed from the food supply and replaced, if at all, by safer colorings.”

Because Gatorade Fast Twitch is free of artificial food dye (and uses whole food colorants like blueberry juice instead), we consider it to be a healthier option than most Gatorade products, and it’s a good thing that Gatorade seems to be moving in a more natural direction with their formulations.

But the healthiest Gatorade product in our opinion is Gatorade Organic. Its ingredients are shown below:

Gatorade Organic ingredients

While it does contain citric acid, it’s free of artificial sweeteners and includes organic natural flavor rather than natural flavor. We have no issue with organic natural flavor as it’s derived from organic, whole food ingredients according to USDA guidelines.

Interested consumers can check out Gatorade Organic at this link to the product’s official Amazon listing.

Real, Unsponsored Gatorade Fast Twitch User Reviews

A TikTok user named Sage Lee tried Gatorade Fast Twitch before her workout and shared her thoughts on the taste and effects:

@redfooddye40 Trying the new caffeine Gatorade as pre-workout🫶 #newgatorade #caffeine #caffeinegatorade #preworkout #gatorade #fasttwitch ♬ original sound - Sage Lee

Another TikTok user named Shorter Show tried Gatorade Fast Twitch before the gym and claims that it helped her workout:

@shortershow Have y’all tried these?? #fyp #gatorade #fasttwitch #gymtok #energydrink ♬ original sound - Shorter Show

Our Clean Energy Picks

Panax ginseng extract has been clinically shown to reduce mental fatigue and reduce physical fatigue; both health effects that can benefit e-sports athletes.

Illuminate Labs manufactures a Panax Ginseng Extract Supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 8% ginsenosides) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.

Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Panax Ginseng Extract at this link to the secure product page on our website, where it retails for only $15 at a subscription price.

Performance Lab Energy is our top multi-ingredient energy supplement pick.

This supplement contains acetyl-l-carnitine which can "improve energy status" according to a medical review published in the Neurochemical Research journal, as well as CoQ10 which is produced by the body but decreases with age, and "is an effective and safe treatment for reducing fatigue symptoms" according to a 2022 meta-study.

Interested consumers can check out Performance Lab Energy at this link to the product page on the brand's official website. 

Pros and Cons of Gatorade Fast Twitch

Here are the pros and cons of Gatorade Fast Twitch in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Effective caffeine dose
  • Contains some electrolytes
  • Sugar-free
  • Most users report good taste
  • Most users report it’s useful for pre-workout

Cons:

  • Contains artificial sweetener
  • Contains flavoring agents
  • Contains citric acid
  • Not the healthiest Gatorade drink
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Gatorade Fast Twitch is effectively formulated for pre-workout and rehydration. It contains an effective dose of caffeine and should improve workout performance and intensity.

We don’t currently recommend this drink because of a few questionable additive ingredients like the artificial sweetener sucralose, but we do think that it’s healthier than most Gatorade drinks because it includes whole food colorants rather than artificial food dye.

Gatorade Organic is the healthiest Gatorade drink in our opinion, but it’s free of caffeine so it may not be as effective as a pre-workout.

Most customers reviewed Gatorade Fast Twitch favorably, claiming that it tastes just like regular Gatorade but provides a lot of energy during a gym session.