e-Fuel vs. UCAN

e-Fuel and UCAN are similar products in that they both provide energy primarily from complex carbohydrates. That’s a good thing. e-Fuel also adds some fructose which allows for increased energy uptake, no ingredients that cause stomach issues and it’s half the price of UCAN. Read on for details:

complex carbs

e-Fuel

Maltodextrin

UCAN

SuperStarch

UCAN uses what they call “SuperStarch” which is corn starch that they claim has significant advantages over maltodextrin. Both SuperStarch and Maltodextrin are complex carbohydrates from corn and to date there has been one study that examined the performance benefits of SuperStarch (see link below to this study). The results were that there was no difference.

If you want more details, here they are:

In the study, nine athletes cycled at a workload prescribed to 70% of their VO2 peak. After 150 minutes of steady state exercise, the workload was increased to 100% VO2 peak until the athletes could no longer maintain a minimum pedal cadence of 50 revolutions/min or the athletes’s power output decreased greater than 10% below the prescribed workload.

Essentially, they were doing a test to exhaustion and seeing if the SuperStarch would produce greater results than Maltodextrin, which they used as an active control. What happened was surprising; the Maltodextrin produced a similar (actually slightly higher) glucose response during the time trial, but a far greater glucose level during the after-cycling recovery period (when a second drink was consumed). Quoting directly from the study: “Upon completing the 150-min cycling bout, cyclists performed a time trial at 100% VO2 peak to fatigue. Tests revealed that there was no difference between the trials“

Study reference:
Roberts MD, et al., Ingestion of a high-molecular-weight hydrothermally modified waxy maize starch alters…, Nutrition (2010), doi:10.1016/j.nut.2010.07.008

link to full text of study

fructose

e-Fuel

yes

UCAN

no

Fructose is a very unique carbohydrate that we use in all of our products for a very good reason.

Fructose sometimes gets a bad rap for endurance athletes because it is thought to cause stomach and GI discomfort. Like anything else, if you take too much fructose it can be a problem. But if you use it properly it can actually significantly improve performance … without stomach issues. Here’s why:

Most of the energy that we use during endurance sports comes from consumed carbohydrates that are converted into glycogen and stored in our muscles. Glycogen can then be quickly broken down into glucose and used to fuel the muscles. The liver also stores glycogen which has been converted from fructose and serves as an additional “fuel tank” to power your muscles.

Here’s where it gets interesting …

The main route for glucose absorption from the gut is through a transporter called SGLT1 – a protein that acts like a door, helping glucose go from the gut to the bloodstream. SGLT1 has a maximum capacity and can only transport around one gram of glucose per minute (240 calories/hour). Fructose, however, is absorbed with a different transporter, called GLUT5. By using both transporters you can increase the amount of carbohydrate the body can use during exercise up to approximately 300 calories/hour.

GLUT5’s sole job in life is to transport fructose, so if you’re not consuming fructose then you’re not using the GLUT5 transporter … it’s like having an additional fuel line and not using it, why would you do that? In addition, your secondary fuel tank (your liver) will be under utilized as well.

The rapid absorption of fructose mixtures and special handling of fructose in the liver are the two main reasons that fructose can also also help to speed up recovery after exercise. A recent study found that when athletes drank sports drinks containing both fructose and complex carbohydrates after exercise, they accelerated the recovery of their liver glycogen stores. It almost doubled this rate of recovery compared with drinks that didn’t have fructose, when the same total amount of carbohydrate was consumed.

Bottom line … if you want to “be your best”, incorporate some fructose into your training and competition nutrition program.

sodium

e-Fuel

150 mg

UCAN

115 mg

In developing e-Fuel we relied heavily on the decades of independent research performed by the American College of Sports Medicine. They are a non-profit with no “skin in the game”, they just try to figure out how to make athletes better, stronger and faster. Electrolyte replacement is an area that they have studied extensively, and e-Fuel’s electrolyte levels are designed to meet their recommendations.

potassium

e-Fuel

60 mg

UCAN

unspecified

Potassium is the other electrolyte that is important to replace during your training and competition, along with sodium. The level of potassium in e-Fuel is designed to meet the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendation for replacement during athletic activity.

antioxidants

e-Fuel

vitamin C 60%
vitamin E 60%

UCAN

no vitamin C
no vitamin E

Antioxidant vitamins C and E help protect against tissue damage, reduce soreness and aid in the recovery process. UCAN does not contain antioxidants.

notable

e-Fuel

xanthin gum
NO

gum arabic
NO

fiber
NO

UCAN

xanthan gum
YES

gum arabic
YES

fiber
YES

UCAN contains Xanthan Gum and Gum Arabic that according to WebMD can cause gas, bloating, nausea, and loose stools. e-Fuel doesn’t use these ingredients or sugar substitutes (such as those found in Hammer HEED, Cytomax, etc.) that can have similar side effects. 

Fiber slows the digestive process and can also cause stomach distress during athletic activity. Using ingredients that cause stomach distress is the last thing that an athlete would want to deal with, so none of these ingredients are found in any of our products.

citrates

e-Fuel

Sodium Citrate, Potassium
Citrate and Citric Acid

UCAN

Sodium Citrate, Potassium
Citrate and Citric Acid

Citrates assist in the carbohydrate to energy conversion process as well as slow the build up of lactic acid in your muscles.

pricing

e-Fuel

$34.99
2 lb canister

half the price of UCAN

UCAN

$62.95
1.65 lb canister

NOTE: All UCAN nutrition values shown are for Lemon flavor as of April 2021, other flavors may vary. e-Fuel nutrition values are the same for all flavors, read why