GURU Energy Drink Review – Is It Right For You?

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By Thomas Youngerman

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

guru organic energy drink review

GURU takes a distinctly different approach to the energy market, positioning itself as the world’s first all-natural, organic energy drink to deliver great taste and “GUUUD” energy. Introduced in 1999 by founder Joseph Zakher, GURU is the next-generation smart drink designed to push your body to go farther and your mind to be clearer.

GURU is made from a short list of plant-based active ingredients, with natural caffeine and no sucralose or aspartame. Most competing brands use artificial sweeteners, with sucralose being the most prevalent, and many offerings in the energy space use a synthetic form of caffeine. The trade-off? GURU contains a significant amount of natural and added sugars, 21 grams in an 8.4-ounce can and 30 grams in a 12-ounce can.

This GURU Energy Drink review will delve into the plant-based compounds in GURU, compare natural versus synthetic sources of caffeine, cite scientific studies regarding sugars’ ability to boost energy, and review how much sugar might be too much. 

guru engergy drink original flavor

But first, just a bit about GURU Organic Energy Corp., the Canadian owner of the brand, which they quote as Canada’s leading organic energy drink. Unlike many competitors, GURU is building sales and profits through online sales (think and club wholesale channels in the U.S.

We accessed samples for this article in Whole Foods, which has an impressive selection of GURU varieties and excellent shelf space and positioning. The brand seems to be gaining traction in the U.S. markets, resulting in significant sales increases in 2024 year-to-date. On its website, the company markets six varieties available in 12-ounce cans, with two varieties, Original and Lite, also available in 8.4-ounce cans.   

GURU Organic Energy Drinks

GURU is marketed as a beverage versus a dietary supplement, so there is a Nutrition Facts panel on the product, not a Supplement Facts panel. The Nutrition Panel tells us little except that GURU contains Carbohydrates from Sugar, with no Fats, Protein, or Sodium. The flavors have varying amounts of carbs/sugar, caffeine from Green Tea, and other compounds, as indicated in the chart below. Other than Original, the other flavors use Monk Fruit and Organic Stevia as sweeteners. 

Original11530142 mgGuaranaEchinaceaGinseng
Lite254100 mgGuaranaEchinaceaGinsengMonk FruitStevia
Peach Mango509140 mgTheanineMonk FruitStevia
Acai Berry254142 mgGuaranaYerba MateMonk FruitStevia
Tropical Punch5011140 mg GuayusaTurmericMonk FruitStevia
Fruit Punch509100 mgGoji BerriesTheanineMonk FruitStevia
guru nutrition facts

How Much Sugar is Too Much

The amount of sugar in Lite and the other flavors is not overly concerning; however, Original, with 30 grams in a 12-ounce serving, is. According to the American Heart Association, men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar daily, and women, 25 grams. Consuming just one GURU Original puts both of those numbers in serious jeopardy, potentially leading to health issues related to excessive sugar intake. 

Sugar as an Energy Source

The amount of caffeine in GURU peaks at 142 mg, a bit less than a Starbucks Grande Latte or Cappuccino. For most people, that’s a relatively modest amount of caffeine and unlikely to produce a significant energy boost. But what about the 30 grams of sugar? How much energy can one expect from the added sugars?

When researchers studied data from nearly 1,300 adults looking at the effect of sugary foods and sweetened drinks on mood, fatigue, and alertness levels, they found no improvement. In fact, these foods/drinks may increase your energy slump, and their consumption may cause excessive weight gain.

On a personal note, I found no energy boost from the Original; however, I have an unusually high tolerance for caffeine. This personal experience underscores the potential lack of energy benefits from GURU Original. Taking both the Original and Lite versions before cardio or strength training, I could not discern any increased energy, endurance, or mental focus. 

Natural Versus Synthetic Caffeine

Synthetic caffeine is made in a laboratory, is highly concentrated, and is often used in energy drinks and supplements. Natural caffeine is extracted from plants such as green tea and is used in different foods and beverages. Natural caffeine contains antioxidants and other healthy phytonutrients. Other natural caffeine sources include guarana, yerba mate, guayusa, and matcha, compounds that support overall health and wellness. But is there a difference?

Research indicates that synthetic and natural caffeine are chemically identical and nearly indistinguishable. The major difference is that synthetic is produced rather than extracted; however, the final product and its effect on the body are remarkably similar.  

Other Compounds in GURU Varieties

Not having sampled the GURU Peach Mango, Acai Berry, Tropical, or Fruit Punch flavors and to be fair, let’s look at the other compounds in those flavors:

Peach Mango – L-theanine

  • L-theanine is an amino acid derived from green tea that supports a healthy stress response and promotes a calm, relaxed state of mind without inducing drowsiness. 

Acai Berry – Guarana and Yerba Mate

  • Guarana is a plant used by Amazonian tribes for centuries for its therapeutic properties. Benefits include helping reduce fatigue and providing mental clarity.
  • Yerba Mate is a traditional South American herbal drink that is said to have the strength of coffee and the health benefits of tea. Rich in antioxidants and nutrients, Yerba Mate can boost energy and improve mental performance.

Tropical Punch – Guayusa and Turmeric

  • Guayusa – This is rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and caffeine. Guayusa may improve concentration and mood.
  • Turmeric – This popular herbal extract has been used in India for centuries. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and multiple benefits, including brain health and anti-aging. 

Fruit Punch – Goji Berries and Theanine

  • Goji Berries – This tiny red fruit has potent medicinal properties, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are typically used for immune and eye health. 

Note: Since GURU is marketed as a beverage, the ingredient panel does not indicate the dosage of the above compounds, making it difficult to determine if the products contain effective dosages. 

What to Expect from GURU 

We sampled the Original and Lite versions of GURU. Perhaps the Acai with Guarana and Yerba Mate or one of the other varieties provides more punch or mental clarity. Still, compared to many of the different energy drinks we have tested, GURU did not deliver in our experience. Nor was there any perceived benefit when exercising, either cardio or resistance training. 

GURU Energy Taste Profile

Even with a significant amount of sugar in GURU Original, the taste was more subtle than many of its competitors. Although tolerable to sip, Original would not be a preferred choice compared to other brands in the competitive set. The Lite taste was really off-putting and difficult to finish. Other customer reviews mention taste positively, so we assume they refer to the Peach Mango or Punch flavors. 

Benefits of GURU Energy Drinks

The absence of artificial flavors, sucralose or aspartame, and synthetic caffeine benefits those seeking a more natural product. Ironically, the company website makes very few claims beyond the product’s Organic positioning, being Gluten-Free, Vegan-Friendly, delivering GUUUD Energy, and being 100% Crap-Free.

Is GURU Safe?

With the relatively low levels of caffeine in GURU, side effects should be minimal when consumed in moderation. However, some ingredients, such as theanine, in excessive amounts may cause nausea and GI upset. Other potential side effects include headaches, jitteriness, heartburn, and insomnia, as Yerba Mate and guayusa also contain caffeine.

GURU Versus the Competition

Given the myriad options in the Energy Drink and Energy Supplement space, GURU would not be a preference. When doing head-to-head comparisons of Energy Drinks, we look at five key areas:

  1. Company practices, such as cGMP compliance and third-party testing.
  2. Accessibility: How difficult is it to find and purchase the product?
  3. Taste.
  4. Convenience. 
  5. Price Value. 

Compared to the other entries in the category, GURU would fall short in company practices, as we see no evidence of cGMP compliance, which, in all fairness, is not required of a food drink. The only third-party testing is their Organic Certification. Given its limited retail distribution, Whole Foods, or wholesale clubs, GURU is far less convenient than most other brands. Although convenience and price are competitive, the taste is not on par with the competition. 

guru organic energy drink
Source: GURU Energy Facebook Page

Better options for energy and focus might include Five-Hour Energy, Monster, or Red Bull. If cognition is a priority, we like Onnit’s Alpha Brain Shots. Cellucor’s C4 or Amino Energy would be more effective for those looking for improved physical performance.

GURU Energy Drink Pricing 

On the company website, there are three ways to purchase GURU products:

  • A twelve-pack of 12-ounce cans is $29.99.
  • A twenty-four pack of 12-ounce cans is $56.99.
  • Original and Lite are available in 8.4-ounce cans; a twenty-four pack is $48.99.

On, the twelve-pack, 12-ounce products are the same $29.99; however, the twenty-four packs are $51.29, and the 8.4-ounce twenty-four pack is $44.09. Some flavors may be advertised at $24.99 for a 12-ounce 12-pack.

We could only find GURU Energy Drinks on the company website,, and Whole Foods. The GURU Store Locator directed us to CVS Drug, but we could not access the product on their website.


  • Price – 3.0
  • Taste – 2.5
  • Energy – 2.5

In Summary: GURU Energy Drink Review

GURU has been in business for over twenty years, so obviously, they are doing some things well. Their organic ingredients and lack of artificial sweeteners and synthetic caffeine are unique in the space and appeal to those seeking clean energy.

Guru Energy does provide a mild energy boost, perhaps appealing to those desiring an alternative to higher-dosed caffeine drinks. We’ll assume the Punch and Peach flavors taste better than the Original and Lite GURU varieties and still deliver the promised GUUUD energy.

Overall Rating:
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Thomas Youngerman

Thomas Youngerman is an entrepreneur and author in the health and wellness space with extensive experience in the supplement industry. He has owned multiple sports nutrition stores and served as the Category Manager and Director of Business Development for a regional chain of nutrition stores. Thomas created a successful line of men’s healthy aging supplements that was distributed in GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe, and Kroger, and later sold to a West Coast corporation. Thomas was previously a certified nutrition coach. He has a strong understanding of nutrition, supplement formulations, DSHEA, cGMP, and FDA regulations.