It’s the beginning of football season, and the end of the regular baseball season. It’s the end of summer and the beginning of colder months, all which coincidentally end with a “burr”. September is a curious month. A clever man once said, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end,” but to many, the beginnings and ends September brings are significant.
Like the trajectory of a Red Bull flugtag contraption, many 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.
If you haven’t guessed already, the Energy Drink of the Month for September 2013 is Rize.
Designed by a biochemist with a passion for athletic events ranging from Mud Runs to Marathons, Rize is not your typical “energy drink”. In fact, one would dare to say Rize symbolizes the New Era of energy drinks. Rize is just one of the products you could point to anytime someone makes one of my favorite blanket statements, “Energy drinks are bad.”
Oh yeah? Well, let’s just take a look at this one, shall we?
Like most energy drinks, Rize contains caffeine (*SHOCKER*) and B-vitamins. However, there are three major ingredients that set this drink apart from the other 500 products marketed as “energy drinks”. (This is neither an exaggeration nor a typo. According to Forbes Magazine there were over 500 energy drinks on the market worldwide in 2006. This stat is precisely why the blanket statement, above, irks me so.)
1 – Trehalose
No, not the fort you’d build in the limbs of a tree, trehalose (“trey-ha-lohs”) is a special kind of sugar. Don’t panic, it’s nothing foreign to your body. Trehalose is made from two regular average glucose molecules (glucose is the most basic building block of carbohydrates). In trehalose, however, the two glucose molecules are holding hands in a different way than two glucoses normally would (say, in a starch molecule). This tiny deviation from the norm is enough to change taste and metabolism.
Too. Much. Science…
Okay, okay, so here’s the important part: trehalose doesn’t create blood sugar spikes like other simple sugars would. Trehalose has a unique sweetness that’s different than sugar but not metallic like Stevia, plus it’s free of the controversies surrounding Aspartame and Sucralose. In essence, trehalose provides the yummy part of sugar, without the rise and fall of blood sugar levels. The result is sustained energy, the natural way.
2 – Green Tea Extract and Green Tea’s caffeine
The following is an excerpt from the book ARE YOU A MONSTER OR A ROCKSTAR: a guide to energy drinks:
Green tea is probably the healthiest drink on the planet, second to water. Loaded with antioxidants and other phytonutrients you’ve probably never heard of before, green tea is continuously glorified for its health benefits. Plus, it just looks healthy with that green hue, doesn’t it?
The only downside to consuming green tea is that it’s only good for you if you drink it, and the bitter taste is a deal-breaker to many, including yours truly. If you can’t stand the bitterness of green tea, green tea extract seems like the next best thing. Green tea extract is an isolated, purified version of the major antioxidants in green tea. Green tea has more nutrients than green tea extract, but green tea extract has all the star players, like the 25-man roster in baseball.
So how does green tea extract work? What, exactly does it do in the body? How do green tea extract and caffeine interact? For these answers and the rest of this discussion on the amazing benefits of Green Tea Extract, check out this handy guide.  Rize contains both green tea extract and caffeine from green tea, giving it an advantage over the stereotypical “energy drinks”.
3 – Huperzine
Not only is Huperzine a fun word to say out loud, it’s the X-factor that distinguishes Rize from all the other “energy drinks”. Supposedly, this natural compound helps memory, focus and cognitive function. There are even double-blind clinical studies to prove it. HOWEVER, those studies gave this compound to people over a period of 8 weeks! I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could commit to drinking the same energy drink for 8 weeks straight. First of all, that goes against the 5 Levels of Fatigue – the system that categorizes fatigue into levels of severity, then outlines which particular ingredients to look for to best suit that particular level. For example, someone who needs a jolt in the morning should not be drinking the same product as someone who needs to pull an all-nighter.
This drink is a Level 2 product. For an example of the Levels of Fatigue in action, see previous blog post [July’s Energy Drink of the Month]. For the full system, see this handy guide.
If you constantlyreach Level 2 and rearranging your schedule to get more sleep isn’t feasible, then it’s possible Huperzine could improve brain health. Then again, so will other things, like this Alzheimer’s Association sponsored puzzle book by Terry Stickels . Nonetheless, this ingredient is the third component that distinguishes this product from the rest.
Trehalose is not a new discovery, but it’s not the most affordable ingredient out there in the world of sugars and sweeteners. As a product developer and food scientist, when I see a company using trehalose it makes me believe these guys are willing to pay for quality. They could’ve stuck with green tea and brain-boosting Huperzine, but they decided it was worth it to use trehalose as well. Not only does this earn my respect as a food scientist and fellow biochemist, it makes the product unique in sweetness.
The two biggest drawbacks are availability and ambiguity. Thus far, this product is only available in the eastern half of the US, in Meijer stores.Rize Store Locator. Of course you could always order a case and get it shipped to you, but it’s not as convenient as purchasing a competitive product from your local supermarket or gas station. Furthermore, this product does not disclose the amount of caffeine per can and it’s ridiculously difficult to find this information online. Fear not, it’s only a matter of time before Energy Fiend comes to the rescue.
For the full Rize Story:***UPDATED: 9-16-2013:
Energy Fiend assessment of this product:
Energy Fiend on Rize Energy Drink