Published: October 20, 2019
Last updated: August 6, 2021
This information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Prior to taking this or any other supplement, please consult your doctor. Esports Healthcare disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, as it does not establish, nor does it imply, doctor-patient relationship.
This is a review of the supplement facts and not a recommendation to consume this product. Collectively, these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This review is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
NOT FOR CHILDREN
Due to its caffeine content, G FUEL should not be consumed by children under the age of 18 years. This statement reflects the stance by the American Academy of Pediatrics which discourages the consumption of caffeine and other stimulants by children and adolescents.
G FUEL® (https://gfuel.com) is among the most popular products boasting increased energy and focus for gamers. With an already impressive list of high profile gamers and organizations as affiliates, G FUEL is certainly doing a great job living up to their slogan as “The Official Energy Drink of Esports®”
But, what about the product? Is G FUEL bad for you? Their supplement formula is designed to provide energy without using chemicals, additives, or sugars. Directly from their website:
Our original goal was to create a 100% clean, natural, and healthy alternative to sugar-loaded Energy Drinks.gfuel.com FAQ
But, do they follow through on their original goal? Well, we decided to review the supplement facts and give G FUEL a rating.
Note: this review was for the G FUEL energy formula (mix powder) and not the ready-to-drink formula (cans), which may vary.
Supplement facts explained
Calories: 10 to 25
Calories are units of energy for your body, provided by macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat). A Calorie excess will cause you to gain weight, and a Calorie deficit will cause you to lose weight. With just 10 to 25 Calories (depending on the flavor you buy), consuming G FUEL will not drastically alter any daily consumption goals you may have.
Total fat: 0
Fat is a macronutrient with 9 Calories per 1 gram. Calories from fat are the preferred energy system for your body in a resting state (lack of physical activity) and during steady-state aerobic activity.
Fat is not a necessary ingredient in an energy or performance drink as the beneficial effect of dietary fats for focus are long-term rather than fast-acting.
Carbohydrates: 2 g to 5 g (maltodextrin)
Carbohydrates are a macronutrient with 4 Calories per 1 gram. Calories from carbohydrates are the preferred energy system for working muscles. The source of carbohydrates in G FUEL is maltodextrin, a carbohydrate additive made from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat.
Although not sugar, maltodextrin can increase your blood glucose. At 2 to 5 g per serving (depending on which flavor you choose), though, a large blood sugar spike is unlikely. Still, those with diabetes or insulin resistance should always be aware of ingesting foods/drinks that can affect their blood sugar.
Carbohydrates are also not necessary in an energy or performance drink since they are not associated with improved focus. Poor quality carbohydrates may actually cause a rebound lack of focus as described below.
Sugars: 0 g
The lack of sugar means it would be less likely to have a blood glucose spike following the ingestion this supplement. However, blood glucose levels may still rise due to the maltodextrin and sweet flavor.
Elevated blood glucose would be less likely for healthy individuals, but this can still trigger insulin release and subsequent cravings for sugary food/drinks.
With increased blood glucose through ingestion comes increased insulin, the hormone responsible for storing energy. The activity of insulin brings your blood sugar back down, and if your blood sugar becomes even slightly lower-than normal, you may experience symptoms.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia (lower-than normal blood sugar) may include fatigue, weakness, craving sugary foods/drinks, mild dizziness, tunnel vision, and anxiety.
Following high carbohydrate or high sugar meals, it is common to experience fatigue and lack of focus (among other symptoms) when your blood sugar comes back down.
Zero sugar and low carbohydrate means you are less likely to experience this reactive hypoglycemia or “sugar crash.”
Sucralose is a sugar substitute and a common ingredient in diet soft drinks and other beverages for sweetness.
Sucralose is noncariogenic. It resists hydrolysis in the human digestive tract, being excreted unchanged in the feces, and the very small portion absorbed is rapidly eliminated in the urine. Therefore, it produces no glycemic response and is virtually noncaloric. Following safety testing and toxicological studies in humans and animals, the FDA concluded that sucralose does not pose any carcinogenic, reproductive, or neurological risk.SWEETENERS | Others by M.B.A. Glória
In healthy individuals, consuming the sucralose in G FUEL should not be an issue. If you have been diagnosed with type-I diabetes, metabolic syndrome (type-II diabetes), have issues with your digestive tract, or have any concerns about ingesting this ingredient, please discuss with your doctor before supplementing with G FUEL.
Quantity and acceptable daily intake
Although the quantity of sucralose is not explicitly listed on the label, you can calculate the maximum amount of sucralose that could exist based on the other measurements. In G FUEL, sucralose cannot exceed ~120 mg based on the measurements of other ingredients.
According to the FDA, the established acceptable daily intake (ADI) for sucralose is 5 mg per kilogram of body weight. For visual, the ADI is equivalent to 23 packets of SPLENDA®. Therefore, for the average, healthy adult, the amount of sucralose in G FUEL is well within the FDA’s ADI.
Acesulfame potassium is another artificial sweetener commonly used in zero-calorie or zero-sugar soft drinks. It is described to be 200 times sweeter than sugar. The FDA approves the use of this ingredient as a non-nutritive sweetener and states, “more than 90 studies support its safety.”
Artificial sweeteners and gut bacteria
Officially, Esports Healthcare offers this statement: there is evidence that suggests artificial sweeteners such as sucralose may have an inhibitory affect on the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
In our search for the supporting evidence, we have not found research studies that test this theory directly. Instead, we found studies that have been performed on rats, with environmental bacteria (vs. gut bacteria), or with gut bacteria outside the human body. Therefore, we follow the FDA’s current guidelines since we believe the current evidence is not strong enough to claim sucralose is harmful.
Of course, if new, stronger evidence is published indicating sucralose causes harm, we will certainly edit this section accordingly.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): 250 mg
Vitamin C is involved in many processes. Most commonly, vitamin C helps fight bacterial infections and helps detoxify your body. Additionally, it is important for the production of collagen in fibrous tissue, teeth, bones, connective tissue, skin, and capillaries.
Since it is water soluble, vitamin C can be taken in high doses without harm. Note that significant ingestion (thousands of milligrams) will eventually cause flushing of your bowels, known as an osmotic laxative effect.
Vitamin E (as D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate): 10 mg
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it helps protect cells from free radicals and supports immune function. Vitamin E is also beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Since it is fat soluble, it is not recommended to take in significantly high doses.
Niacin: 15 mg
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a micronutrient; the most commonly discussed uses for niacin are for reducing heart disease. Although, the evidence on Niacin’s affect on heart disease is inconsistent, and many experts are opposed to the use of niacin for altering your lipid profile.
Niacin is also used in the brain for energy and focus, and this is likely the reason for its use in G FUEL.
Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine HCl): 10 mg
Vitamin B6 is important for the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid [GABA]) are involved in regulating emotions and maintaining cognitive function.
Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin): 10 mcg or 425 mcg
In G FUEL’s newer flavors, it appears they have significantly reduced the quantity of vitamin B12 from 425 mcg to 10 mcg. Regardless, it is water soluble vitamin which means you will absorb what you need and excrete any additional B12 via urine.
Vitamin B12 is involved in many processes of the nervous system. It is involved in nerve cell support, it reduces neurotoxicity, decreases nerve pain, and is generally neuroprotective.
Most importantly for gaming, vitamin B12 improves memory, concentration, and motor control. The methylated form of vitamin B12 is more readily absorbed, and it is the preferred variant of this vitamin for an all-natural energy supplement.
Choline (as Choline Bitartrate): 80 mg
The most important function of choline is in the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in muscle contraction. Insufficient acetylcholine results in muscle weakness.
Sodium (as Sodium Chloride): 79 mg
Sodium is an electrolyte mineral, and sodium chloride is simply table salt. Electrolytes are minerals that are necessary for nerve impulse (or electrical activity). The other electrolyte minerals are potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
The amount of sodium in this product very low; therefore, it is unlikely that this amount of sodium will have a noticeable effect on any bodily functions. It is more likely that this ingredient was added as a preservative or for improved taste.
Energy complex (1.79 g to 1.85 g)
The energy complex includes multiple ingredients: Taurine, L-Citrulline Malate, Caffeine (140 mg to 150 mg), Glucoronolactone, N-Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCl, and Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) Seed Extract. A similar combination of these and other ingredients is common among many energy supplements.
Read about each of these ingredients below.
Other than caffeine, the G FUEL supplement facts label does not specify the amount of each ingredient but rather the cumulative total at 1.79 g or 1.85 g depending on which flavor your choose.
Taurine is an amino acid (nitrogen-containing protein molecule) that is important for functions in the brain, eyes, heart and skeletal muscles.
For gamers, important functions include regulating electrolyte balance, particularly calcium, which is important for reducing fatigue with repeated muscle contraction.
Citrulline is another amino acid. Citrulline malate has been shown to increase energy and recovery by increasing blood flow (and therefore, oxygen) to muscles. Additionally, it plays a necessary part in the urea cycle, which is the process of detoxing nitrogen from your blood.
Caffeine (140 mg to 150 mg)
Caffeine is a well known neurological stimulant, most notably in coffee, tea, and soft drinks. Caffeine increases nerve firing and has a positive effect on reaction time, wakefulness, concentration, and motor coordination. This amount of caffeine is similar to that of a medium-sized cup of coffee. For more detailed information on the mechanism of caffeine in the brain, check out our page on healthy sleep habits. Esports Healthcare recommends a maximum daily dose of 200 mg caffeine per day for healthy adults in order to maintain healthy sleep habits.
Glucuronolactone is added to many energy drinks as a detoxifying agent. The role of this substance, as it naturally occurs in the human body, is to aid in detoxification. Supplementing may assist in these processes.
L-Carnatine is a nutrient in your body formed by amino acids lysine and methionine with the assistance of vitamin C. It is involved in energy production by mobilizing fatty acids.
In its N-Acetyl form, L-Carnatine also has a positive effect on brain function.
Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) Seed Extract
Mucuna pruriens is a plant native to India, the Caribbean, and tropical regions of Africa. There are many health benefits, but the most notable are the positive effects on the nervous system. Velvet bean, as it is commonly named, aids in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease, may decrease stress, and may improve mood.
There are anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties of Mucuna pruriens, as well.
Note: Mucuna pruriens is an L-Dopa herb. If you are taking an SSRI, MAOI, or other medication for mental/emotional health, check with your doctor beforehand to make sure G FUEL is safe for you.
Focus complex (1,001 mg)
The focus complex, like the energy complex, includes multiple ingredients including L-Tyrosine, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, and Adenosine-5-Triphosphate Disodium Salt (ATP).
Unfortunately, the label does not list the amount of each but rather a total of 1,001 mg (or ~1 g).
L-Tyrosine and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid meaning your body will form tyrosine from other amino acids. In this case, phenylalanine is the main precursor. While it’s non-essential, it does exist naturally in foods high in protein such as chicken, turkey, fish, and dairy.
Tyrosine helps with the formation of neurotransmitters (molecules in which nerves communicate with one another), namely dopamine, epinephrine, and norepineprhine.
- Dopamine: most well-known for the “reward pathway” in your brain
- Epinephrine and norepinephrine: also known as adrenaline and noradrenaline—these hormones are responsible for the hyper-vigilance and focus of your “fight or flight” response to stress, anger, or fear.
Because of its role in producing these neurotransmitters, supplementing may enhance their function. Tyrosine is therefore a common ingredient in energy supplements and pre-workouts.
Tyrosine is present in its free form and in the N-Acetyl- form. The N-Acetyl- form of this amino acid is generally more water soluble which would be beneficial for a powdered-mix. However, its conversion back to the active form may be reduced when present as N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine.
According to the FDA, tyrosine (in either form) is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
Adenosine-5′-Triphosphate Disodium Salt (ATP)
ATP is the primary source of energy for cells. Therefore, adding additional ATP is believed to provide additional energy for working cells. However, research is not overwhelming in support of this claim.
Overall, research appears to be inconclusive. To summarize, there appears to be no significant improvement in blood levels of ATP. However, researchers suggest there may be a delay in fatigue and may improve muscular adaptation to exertion.[5,6,7]
Ultimately, there is not strong enough evidence to support the notion that supplementing ATP may improve focus. It is also unlikely that supplementing ATP would be harmful.
Antioxidant complex (26 mg)
The anti-oxidant complex consists of just 26 mg of a long list of potential ingredients. If each of the ingredients is present in every flavor, each one of the 18 ingredients exists in extremely low amounts.
There is pomegranate fruit extract followed by 17 different fruit powders. The purpose of anti-oxidant ingredients is to bind to any free radicals and to help eliminate toxins from your body.
Since fruits are rich in anti-oxidants, it is reasonable for G FUEL to use fruit powders as a natural anti-oxidant.
Citric acid is naturally occurring in citrus fruits—hence the name, “citric” acid—and is the source of the sour taste of lemons and limes. According to HealthLine, “Manufactured citric acid is one of the most common food additives in the world. It’s used to boost acidity, enhance flavor, and preserve ingredients.”
According to the FDA, citric acid additive is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for consumption, and “the ingredient is used in food with no limitations other than current good manufacturing practice.”
Silicon dioxide is a food additive used for anti-caking. In other words, it is added to powdered products (such as G FUEL) to prevent the powder from clumping together. Like citric acid, silicon dioxide is GRAS according to the FDA.
Dyes (food coloring)
For the G FUEL powder mix, artificial dyes are used. Each of the dyes used in G FUEL are on the US Food and Drug Administration’s certified color additives. Similar dyes are used in supplements and prescription drugs for many purposes including differentiation, identification, and comfort (e.g., brighter colors for children’s medications or supplements).
The FDA states FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) may cause allergic-type reactions (including bronchial asthma) in certain susceptible persons. For more information about the FDA’s certified color additives, please visit FDA.gov.
Certified color additives are synthetic colorings that are used widely for intense, uniform color, and because they blend easily to create a variety of hues. These additives are classified as certified because they are required to undergo certification every time a new batch is manufactured.US Food and Drug Administration
How much lead is in G FUEL?
Due to its natural ingredients, there are trace amounts of lead in G FUEL which requires a warning on the label to comply with California’s Proposition 65.
Unfortunately, the tested quantity of lead in G FUEL is not publicly reported by G FUEL or the Environmental Research Center.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, California’s Proposition 65 warning amount is 25 times lower than the amount of lead that would need to be consumed, daily, to create an issue of blood toxicity.
The FDA describes this as their Interim Reference Level and can be found on this web page under the collapsible heading, “FDA Monitoring and Testing of Lead in Food, including Dietary Supplements and Foodwares.”
For peace of mind, the lead in G FUEL occurs due to absorption of lead from the soil when cultivating natural ingredients. The same trace amount of lead can be found in other products that have natural ingredients, and the Environmental Research Center has not filed a grievance against G FUEL since adding the warning label to their products.
Follow the instructions for suggested serving size, and always consult your doctor before taking a supplement such as G FUEL.
Our review: Is G FUEL bad for you?
The ingredients in G FUEL are not unique to their supplement. Vitamins such as C, E, and B-complex along with Taurine, L-Citrulline, Caffeine, Glucoronolactone, and L-Carnitine are a common “energy blend” for many other energy supplements.
However, some of these ingredients come in different forms. For example, methylated-B12 is the best choice for absorption and use for energy. G FUEL appears to have done their research for such examples.
Furthermore, their amounts per serving are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for normal consumption.
Our opinion of the supplement facts, overall, is not bad. G FUEL does not appear to be harmful for the average adult consuming the recommended daily serving. With 0 sugar, it is also a healthier alternative to sugar-loaded energy drinks. Please note, we are not suggesting G FUEL is healthy; we neither believe nor suggest that consuming G FUEL will improve your health. We are simply stating that, based on the ingredients, G FUEL does not appear to be harmful.
Ultimately, we still suggest drinking water vs. any artificially flavored beverage. And, if you want a boost (and you are not a child or adolescent), consider black coffee, green tea, or other natural sources of caffeine. Natural and unaltered ingredients are usually a healthier option.
- Hofman DL, van Buul VJ, Brouns FJ. Nutrition, Health, and Regulatory Aspects of Digestible Maltodextrins. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2016;56(12):2091-2100.
- M.B.A. Glória. SWEETENERS | Others. Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition (Second Edition) 2003:5695-5702.
- US Food and Drug Administration. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for Use in Food in the United States. Latest update: 02/08/2018.
- Corder B, Knobbe A. The effects of the artificial sweetener sucralose on the gut bacteria Escherichia coli and Enterobacter aerogenes. The Journal of Experimental Microbiology and Immunology 2018;4:1-9.
- US Food and Drug Administration. (Tyrosine) CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. Latest update: 09/19/2019.
- Ilja CW Arts, et. al. Adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) supplements are not orally bioavailable: a randomized, placebo-controlled cross-over trial in healthy humans. J. of Intern Soc of Sports Nutr. 2012;9:1-9
- Jacob M Wilson et. al. Effects of oral adenosine-5′-triphosphate supplementation on athletic performance, skeletal muscle hypertrophy and recovery in resistance-trained men. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2013;10:57.
- John A Rathmacher et. al. Adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) supplementation improves low peak muscle torque and torque fatigue during repeated high intensity exercise sets. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9:48.
- Van De Walle. What Is Citric Acid, and Is It Bad for You? Healthline. Latest update: 02/15/2019.
- US Food and Drug Administration. Citric Acid: CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. Latest update: 04/01/2019.
- US Food and Drug Administration. Silicon Dioxide: CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. Latest update: 04/01/2019.
- US Food and Drug Administration. Color Additives Questions and Answers for Consumers. Latest update: 01/04/2018.
- US Food and Drug Administration. FDA Regulation of Color Additives in Drug Products.
- US Food and Drug Administration. Lead in Food, Foodwares, and Dietary Supplements. Latest update: 02/27/2020.