Marketed towards athletes, GU Energy Gel comes in packets meant to be consumed on-the-go before and during exercise for improved performance and faster muscle recovery. Although there isn’t much caffeine in a single packet—only 20-40 mg depending on the flavor—that can still add up, especially considering most people consume several packets during any one event.
How Much Caffeine Is in Different Flavors of GU Energy Gel?
A few flavors of GU Energy Gel are caffeine-free, including Lemon Sublime, Peanut Butter, Strawberry Banana, and Big Apple. All the other flavors contain caffeine in varying amounts. Occasionally, GU Gel may be offered in a seasonal flavor that may or may not be caffeinated. Here’s how the regular caffeinated flavors stack up:
|Caffeine in mg per Packet
|Cola Me Happy
How Do GU Energy Gels Compare to Coffee?
A home-brewed, 8 oz. cup of black coffee contains 70-140 mg of caffeine. Your brew is likely to have even more if you bought it from a coffee shop like Starbucks. It would typically take two to four GU Gel packs to rival a cup of coffee, depending on how you brewed the coffee and whether the beans were light or dark. Lighter roasts tend to be more highly caffeinated, and brewing methods also influence the caffeine amount, such as cold brew which has higher concentrations of caffeine due to the 24-hour brewing process.
How Do GU Energy Gels Compare to Energy Drinks?
Since most energy drinks come in a 16 oz. can that contain an average 160 mg of caffeine, a 2 oz. GU Energy Gel could be a better choice if you’re keeping a watchful eye on your caffeine intake. Other factors to consider include sugar, which also tends to be higher in energy drinks such as Monster. Here’s how a 2 oz. Packet of Gu Energy Gels compares to a 16 oz. can of some of the most popular energy drinks:
Caffeine in 10 Popular Energy Drinks per 16 oz. serving
|GU Energy Gels
|Mountain Dew Energy Drinks
|Spike Hardcore Energy
Of course, if you consumed the same ounces of GU Energy Gels as another energy drink, it would be about the same caffeine content—maybe even more depending on the drink. For example, 16 ounces of GU Energy Gels would give you between 160-320 mg. of caffeine, which is more than a Red Bull!
However, due to the carb-heavy ingredients, you’d probably have a severe stomachache by the time you chugged eight GU Energy Gels, so consuming a dangerous amount of caffeine isn’t a very realistic concern.
How Much Caffeine Should I Have in a Day?
According to the FDA, the average adult should limit their caffeine intake to no more than 400 mg each day. That’s no more than 10-20 GU Energy Gel packs depending on the flavor. Since the packs also contain sugar, abundant carbs, and other qualities that are best in moderation, this probably won’t be a huge concern.
It’s recommended that you supplement GU Energy Gel with 8 oz. of water each time you down a serving. Drinking too many gel packs can lead to stomach upset, so you shouldn’t have more than four in a two-hour span. For optimal results, take one within an hour before your exercise and then once an hour for the duration of the activity.
Although the caffeine in a single GU Energy Gel doesn’t amount to much, multiple packs consumed over the course of a day can sneak in a high amount of caffeine, eventually rivaling energy drinks depending on how many you have. The FDA encourages Americans not to consume more than 400 mg of caffeine per day—and this includes other sources of the stimulant such as coffee or other sports beverages.