Guru energy drink

Most people know of Red Bull but a tide of similar tonics now tout physical and mental benefits. Guru is one.

Its Montreal maker markets it as “the world’s first 100 per cent natural energy drink”. The ingredient list avoids words with unhealthy connotations, using “sparkling” instead of “carbonated” water listed on soda pop labels and dropping “sugar” from “sugar cane juice”. One 250 millilitre can has 23 grams of sugar.

As for the herbal ingredients, current federal drug rules say only a pure chemical compound must be listed as such on a label. Companies won’t have to follow new rules until 2010, making a grey zone — especially in the potential for adverse effects.

Guarana’s active compound is caffeine, which dehydrates you — increasing thirst — and can elevate your heart rate. Since it’s mixed with traces of the plant, it is not mentioned on the label.

Guru officials wouldn’t say how much caffeine their drink has but three years ago, CBC found 125.5 milligrams -- about four times as much as a cola 42 per cent larger.

Ginkgo biloba dilates blood vessels and is not to be taken with blood thinners like aspirin.

Similarly, ginseng and echinacea return reports in Health Canada’s adverse drug reaction database.

So Guru is a high-caffeine soda pop spiked with medicinal herbs.

How is it? Not bad. The taste is reminiscent of grapefruit juice.

As for its effectiveness, I fell asleep within 10 minutes of drinking one and felt no more energetic on subsequent


Still, if you plan to have any energy drink, it’s a good idea to consult your physician first.

Suggested Cost: $2.29 for 250 ml can.

Where available: Wholefoods Market, Petro-Canada, International News, Gateway News stands, A&P Dominion, Barn Markets, S&H Health Foods, Ultramarts, Nutrition House, Noah’s, The Big Carrot, Premier Fitness Centers.

Buy/Try Again: Ummm (yawn) ... no.

caffeine guideline

Maximum daily intake

  • Healthy adults: 400-450 milligrams

  • Planning, pregnant, breastfeeding women: 300 mg

  • Children 12 and under: 2.5 mg / kilogram of body weight

  • Age 10 — 12 years: 85 mg

  • Age 4 — 6 years: 45 mg Caffeine in beverages

  • Guru: 125.5 mg*

Caffeine in beverages

  • Coffee, 8 oz / 237 millilitres (1 cup) Brewed: 135 milligrams Roasted and ground, filter drip: 179 mg

  • Tea, 8 oz / 237 millilitres (1 cup) Average blend: 43 mg Leaf or bag: 50 mg

  • Cola, 16 oz / 355 ml (1 can) Regular: 36 - 46 mg Diet: 39 - 50 mg