Changing the World 1 book at a time

Energy Drink of the Month — July 2014

It was one year ago that I first held it. I pinched it, turned it over, smelled it. Deciding that it was real, I laughed heartily and did a little dance of victory. My first book had finally been published. My quest to help people see energy drinks like I do, to explain the tricks and tips to consuming caffeine safely, and to introduce my 5 Levels of Fatigue system for picking the right product had finally materialized into a green paperback. Ten years of research, experimentation and late-night writing all in less than 200 pages.

Energy Drink of the Month — A Year’s Reflection

To commemorate the 1 year anniversary of what I still consider my first child, I’d like to take a look back at a year’s worth of posts about the Energy Drink of the Month. Each of them is highlighted for a different reason and almost none of them matches the typical energy drink you’d hear lambasted on the news.


[June 2014] – Neuro Sonic:

neruo SONIC

I love it when energy drinks have lids!

With a twisty-cap for easy caffeine moderation, this energy-drink-in-disguise features an amount of caffeine perfect for tough mornings. With 100 milligrams of caffeine, carbonation, and no fruit juice (except for color purposes), this product suitable for Fatigue Level 3. Read More: 3 Levels and 3 Reasons

[May 2014] – vitaminwater Energy:

vitaminwater energy

Energy Drink of the Month – May 2014

With the best caffeine warning label I’ve ever seen, vitaminwater Energy is perfect for road trips, those on a budget, and those looking for a very mild caffeine boost. Read More: 3 Pros and Cons of vitaminwater® energy drink – from a Food Science, Product Development and Quality Perspective

[April 2014] – Avitae caffeinated water:

caffeine water natural label

Caffeine : Water : : Beet Powder : Lemonade

As far as energy drinks go, it doesn’t get much cleaner or simpler than this. With three levels of caffeine available, this product line is suitable for Level 2, 3 and 4 of the 5 Levels of Fatigue. Also note that since it comes in a bottle you can sip it and reseal it, regulating your caffeine intake in ways that aren’t possible with an open can or a hot coffee. Read More: Redefining “Energy Drink” – 5 Qs with Avitae

[March 2014] – FRS Healthy Energy:

Energy Drink March 2014 Healthy Energy


Champion of the consumer-friendly label, this product is weak-sauce when it comes to caffeine content, but features intriguing “alternative-energy” ingredients like Quercetin. What is Quercetin and what does it have to do with Harry Potter’s mom? Read on my friends. Read More: 5 Reasons to Pick FRS Healthy Energy

[February 2014] – Starbucks Refreshers:

Starbucks Refreshers GreenEyedGuideFinding a soul-mate for Valentine’s Day is hard. Finding a Starbucks is easy. With this green-coffee-powered energy-drink-in-disguise, you can still hit on the baristas in the green aprons without buying a source of caffeine that has to be chilled or consumed within the hour. Read More: 5 Reasons Refreshers Deserve Your Love

[January 2014] – V8 V-Fusion + Energy:

EDM_v8Starting the year with PIGs and POAs (Plans, Ideas, Goals and Plan of Actions)? Start the year strong by swapping a Red Bull for a V8. By the way, they have the same amount of caffeine – 80mg/can, which is less than a tall latte from Starbucks. Read More: 7 Little Known Facts about V8 V-Fusion

[December 2013] – Red Bull Editions:

CAM00055-1I confess I’m friends with the Monster, and I may or may not party like a Rockstar on New Year’s Eve. But making it through the holiday season requires a special energy drink. How special? Special edition…Read More: How Red Bull Editions Beat the Competition in 5 Different Categories

[November 2013] – Go Girl:

Go Girl ED of Nov 2013This energy drink is one of the few who donate a percentage of their sales to a charitable donation. Like its caffeine content, the charitable contributions are not overwhelming, but not negligible. Read More: 3 Insights on Go Girl

[October 2013] – Spider Energy:

Other flavors are available but I prefer Widow Maker for its flavor, its tagline atop the can, and its colors scheme.

Other flavors are available but I prefer Widow Maker for its flavor, its tagline atop the can, and its colors scheme.

Encouraging consumers to “drink what you fear”, this product could have been among the first to challenge notions that all energy drinks are toxic. Some caffeinated products are certainly worse than others, but enjoy this one with caution. The amount of caffeine per container, carbonation and sugar content put this product at Level 4 in the 5 Levels of Fatigue. Read More: Green-Eyed Guide Teaches Man to Fish with Spider

[September 2013] – Rize Energy:

Energy Drink of the Month - September 2013Like the trajectory of a Red Bull flugtag contraption, many people start September with an optimistic lift of energy and determination…before losing momentum and dropping quickly to the ground. I have to plan for Halloween already?!? The sun has set already?!? Midterms, already?!? Don’t give into the fall, rise. You may be powerless to stop the evening fog from rolling in, but you can combat the fog that creeps into your mind – rise. Read More: 3 Ways Rize Helps Body and Brain

[August 2013] – Archer Farms Energy:

Energy Drink of the Month - August 2013With the end of summer comes three specific energy-zappers. Caffeine is not the only solution but it can certainly help, as long as you pick the right product. Read More: Why The End of Summer is Tiring and What You Can Do About It

[July 2013] – Nawgan Mandarin Orange:

Energy Drink of the Month - July 2013This energy-drink-in-disguise was the first product I ever picked for Energy Drink of the Month. This product doesn’t even call itself an energy drink but it’s got more caffeine than the top selling energy drink in the nation. Choosing to avoid or enjoy an energy drink is not as black and white as it seems, but anyone can learn the 10 steps of consuming caffeine safely. Read More: How to Read a Caffeinated Product’s Label in 10 seconds.


Remember, knowledge is power, and the dosage makes the difference between a poison and a cure. Thanks for the support, the comments and all the shares! ~ Green-Eyed Guide

Click this link to get your copy of Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely (also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and more! Check Goodreads for your favorite source, or just ask your local bookstore)

Please “Like” the Energy Drink Guide on Facebook:

FEAR and FACTS — Food Science and Consumer Perception

In many cases, companies have found themselves challenged by consumers and groups who object to a technology based on what they have heard rather than what they know.


This insightful observation comes from Food Business News’ Executive Editor Keith Nunes. There’s no denying that fear is an effective sales strategy. Unfortunately, as Mr. Nunes points out, using fear creates false impressions and confusion among consumers, and these scare tactics are hurting the food and beverage industry. The solution? Fight fear with facts.

Food Science in the News — Fear and FACTS


In his editorial (found here–page 9), Mr. Nunes mentions several examples of how marketers use subliminal hints to sway consumer perceptions towards certain products by besmirching another. One example in the article is the ketchup label that reads “No HFCS”, which taps into consumer fears and public perception more than scientific evidence about HFCS. This is just one example. Have you ever looked at the label of a frozen yogurt product and found that it contains more sugar and fat than the ice cream you passed up?  Have you ever indulged in a Vegan cookie because you thought it would be healthier than the non-vegan variety? (like this one — see #5) Did you know that certified Organic foods are not inherently safer or more nutritious than their conventional counterparts?


With conflicting messages and confusing labels, it’s no wonder consumers are puzzled about food science and nutrition. As a food scientist, I try to help my friends and loved ones sort the facts from the fallacies. Granted, I don’t always know the answer and I’m not afraid to say so, but sometimes I am afraid to reveal my position. Recently, I discovered an organization which aims to facilitate these types of conversations. Their mission is my mission, so I’m elated to spread the word about the work they are doing.


Introducing the International Food Information Council (IFIC):

Their mission and vision says it all:

“…where credible science drives food policy and consumer choice.” Sold. Sign me up. In fact, I encourage all those seeking scientifically driven food science and nutrition information to become a FACTS follower. What is FACTS?


NEW — the FACTS network:


The FACTS network is a product of IFIC. This network is like the Caffeine Informer of food: presenting unbiased, science-driven information so all consumers can make informed decisions in pursuit of healthier lives.


3 Reasons Why the IFIC and the FACTS Network Deserve Your Attention


REASON ONE: Daytime Doctors – John Oliver, Dr Oz and the Unfortunate State of the Supplement Industry


REASON TWO: Public Misconceptions –  Jimmy Kimmel asks Gluten-freebies “What is Gluten?”


REASON THREE: Emotional Conversations –  Raw versus Pasteurized milk; GMOs; Raising a child on a raw food diet; the soda ban; the dangers of energy drinks… These are all conversations that can be difficult to have without emotion. Plenty of scientists avoid these conversations altogether to avoid the confrontation. The IFIC says the percentage of emotional conversations around food is decreasing, but is that because people are learning it’s better to avoid these topics or because consumers are becoming more open-minded to different view points? I can only hope it’s the latter.


For valuable consumer information on raw milk, biotechnology, food labeling, food fortification and other health/nutrition topics, explore the IFIC website:


Become a FACTS follower: On Facebook, On Twitter, or through the FACTS home page


Other great resources:

“Taking the Pulse of America’s Diet: Findings from the 2014 IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey” 

(See the condensed SlideShare presentation here)

Food Science in the News — John Oliver, Dr. Oz and the Unfortunate State of the Supplement Industry

Every organization has its angels and demons. The supplement industry is full of people with good intentions. It’s also fraught with people who see an opportunity to swindle consumers who seek a quick fix to complicated conditions like diabetes and obesity. Personally I believe the answer to the weak links has a little to do with “Regulatory Zeal” — watch and be amazed:

Watch Comedian John Oliver Blast Dr. Oz and Dietary Supplements Industry | Nutritional Outlook

Probably not a supplement I'd recommend...

Probably not a supplement I’d recommend…

Related Posts:

Which comes first: supplement safety laws or the power to enforce them?

Consumer Warnings and the Oz Effect

5-in-1 weight loss supplement combo IS effective, but…

Other Handy Resources:

Google HELPOUTS: “Energy Drink 101: how to sort the good from the bad” - enjoy a face-to-face (via webcam) conversation with yours truly and learn how to avoid red flags and questionable products (First session is free; spend 5 minutes talking or 30 minutes, I’m here to help – D. Robertson)

Follow @GreenEyedGuide on Twitter and stay updated on all”Food Science in the News” and consumer-awareness related posts.

Consumer Warnings and the Oz Effect — Food Science in the News

Nutritional Outlook posted an insightful article about the FTC’s challenges in sketchy weight-loss ads, but there are some thoughts I’d like to add.

Consumer Awareness and Supplement Red Flags

 The Nutritional Outlook article, “What Will it Take to Stop Sketchy Weight-Loss Ads” highlights some of the challenges both consumers and the Federal Trade Commission face daily: what to do about those questionable products with deceptive claims.

One of the scariest parts of this article is the discussion on “fly-by-night” advertisers. Fly-by-night advertisers will advertise a product and take the consumer’s money, but they don’t actually have a manufacturing location, they’re just selling a product some other company is making. Talk about a total lack of traceability and transparency!!!

The scary part of this scenario is it’s not just limited to weight-loss products. Ever seen those energy drinks you can only get online? Hmmm…


As discussed in the Nutritional Outlook article, the FTC has announced a program called “Gut Check” which is designed to help media broadcasters spot fraudulent ads. Consumer also need to use their own gut check and watch out for red flags in product advertising. For How to Spot a Red Flag: 6 Red Flags and Safety Tips, check out Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks – How They Work, Why They Work and How to Use Them Safety


Related Reading:

5-in-1 Weight Loss Supplement Combo IS Effective, but Thanks to WHICH combo?

Nutritional Outlook article: Dr. Oz Defends His Shows’ Impact on Weight Loss Scams article: Dr. Oz on ‘The Dr Oz Effect: For my colleagues at the FTC…


Other Handy Resources:

Google HELPOUTS: “Energy Drink 101: how to sort the good from the bad” - enjoy a face-to-face (via webcam) conversation with yours truly and learn how to avoid red flags and questionable products (First session is free; spend 5 minutes talking or 30 minutes, I’m here to help – D. Robertson)


Follow @GreenEyedGuide on Twitter and stay updated on all”Food Science in the News” and consumer-awareness related posts.

Quality Assurance Parenting Perspective GreenEyedGuide

Quality Assurance and Parenting

While Product Development seems like the cool job that everyone wants, Quality Assurance seems perfect for those who love to work in the balance between order and chaos. Product Developers look for reasons to say yes (yes, the product will do this and that); Quality Assurance specialists look for reasons to say no (you can’t do that, we shouldn’t do this). If you’re considering a career in Quality Assurance or maybe just considering having children, here are three situations you will probably face.

On my other blog I like to provide more personal stories and posts not related to energy drinks or caffeine. Recently I started a Day in the Life series where I share what it’s like to be a food scientist.

3 Ways Quality Assurance is Like Being a Parent

Read the rest here–>