Misconceptions of Energy Drinks
Several people wake up every day and the first thing they go to grab is an energy drink. Even more so I’ve seen several people over the years in the gym that use these drinks to get a quick perk up before their workout to only be let down with a harsh caffeine and sugar mix crash. So the reasoning for writing this article is that I want people to be aware of how unhealthy these energy drinks really are. Personally every morning I’ll have 1-2 cups of black coffee to get my day started and for a pre-workout boost I’ll have 200-300mg of caffeine anhydrous (you can get this either in pill or powder form). I did some research of the top 5 best selling energy drinks to break down the nutrition facts and to open your eyes to just how much sugar you are taking in and slowing your progress. Also, you might not have known why you feel lethargic after the buzz of these wear off.
Red Bull (*Est. $2.20 for 8.3 ounces) introduced the energy drink craze to the U.S.; it's still the best-selling energy drink in America, and the energy drink by which all others are measured. Interestingly enough, Red Bull is made in Austria and then shipped around the world. Red Bull contains 27g sugars, a measley 80 mg of caffeine (for the 8.3-ounce size), taurine and B vitamins, but no added herbal stimulants. My opinion is to completely stay away from these! Red Bull also makes Red Bull Sugar Free (*Est. $2.20 for 8.3 ounces). If you decide to drink the sugar free still be aware of the artificial sweet-ners (which I’m not a fan of at all) and keep these to a minimum.
Monster Energy (*Est. $2 for 16 oz.) is one of the best-selling energy drinks in the U.S. Several reviewers mention it as the energy drink to try after Red Bull because the taste and energy boost are similar to Red Bull, yet it comes in a can that is twice the size for about the same price. Monster Energy has 54 grams of sugars, 160 mg of caffeine and 2,000 mg of taurine. The Energy Drink Ratings blog says that this sweet-tasting citrus drink has a good kick and gives you good taste for the money. Monster also makes a variety of other flavors. I remember when I didn’t know anything about nutrition etc. Monster was my pre-workout boost of choice. I never understood why I felt so bad afterwards. It was the whopping 54 grams of sugar that was spiking my blood sugar levels and then the crash came...and it would come hard!
No Fear is a brand of clothing (I used to wear these t-shirts also had the stickers on my baseball batting helmet growing up) that partnered with Pepsi to create an energy drink originally known as SoBe No Fear. In 2008, the SoBe name was dropped. No Fear Regular (*est. $2.30 for 16 ounces), gets mixed reviews for taste and energy. No Fear contains 66 grams of sugars, 174 mg of caffeine and 2,000 mg of taurine per 16-ounce can.
5-Hour Energy (*Est. $2.50 for 2 ounces) scores well with reviewers for energy kick. The Energy Drink Ratings blog and RateItAll.com rank 5-Hour Energy highly, and it has more than 400 user ratings at Screaming Energy. 5-Hour Energy is packaged in 2-ounce shots, packing in an estimated 100 mg of caffeine per shot, or the equivalent of a cup of coffee, plus 2,000 percent of the daily value for vitamin B6 and 8,333 percent of the daily value of vitamin B12. 5-Hour Energy is sweetened with sucralose and contains zero net carbohydrates. 5-Hour Energy is not made with additional herbal stimulants, but it does contain amino acids and includes taurine. One reviewer calls 5-Hour Energy "little more than a shot of vitamins B6 and B12, amino acids, with a caffeine chaser." But unlike most energy drinks, 5-Hour Energy is a low-calorie drink (four calories). It comes in three flavors: berry, lemon-lime and orange. Nutritionally these are the best (along with Rockstar Sugar free and Rockstar Zero Carb) but honestly with 5-hour energy I’ve had these and I could fall asleep after drinking this if I was in need of a quick wake-up.
Among the top-selling brands, Rockstar (*est. $2.20 for 16 ounces) One 16-ounce can contains 160 mg of caffeine and 1,000 mg of taurine, as well as 62 grams of sugars, with guarana, ginseng and other herbal extracts as stimulants. The company has expanded from the original formula to offer other energy drinks including Rockstar Sugar Free (*Est. $2.30 for 16 ounces), Rockstar Zero Carb
Bottom line is that I do not advise these drinks. First off, the regular ones that are packed with sugar shouldn’t even be a question of should I have this or not. Secondly, the sugar free and zero carb ones are still packed with artificial flavoring agents. Which that will be up to you if you want that in your body or not. Personally I don’t use them. Like I said previously I use 200-300mg of caffeine anhydrous and I never have the dreaded crash afterwards.