We all have a love/hate relationship with December. It’s the beautiful lights and the days off work/school. It’s the holiday traffic, the family gatherings that test your patience, the way your chest tightens when you go to swipe that credit card (just one more time), or the panic that sets in when it’s 11:50pm Christmas Eve and you calculate one of your children has more presents than the other. I 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…

The Energy Drink of the Month for December 2013 is a 3-way tie for the Red Bull Editions, Red, Blue and White. These products beat the competition in 5 categories: color, size, content, availability, and inspiration. Due to the time-crunch of the holiday season, this post is short and sweet, like the products themselves.

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Green-Eyed Insight on Red Bull Editions

1 – Color

The colors are festive! The white is like snow, the red is like Santa’s sleigh, and the blue and white together are the colors of Hanukkah. The added benefit of the blue is that it looks remarkably similar to Coca-Cola when poured in a glass; if you’re at a neighbor’s party trying to hide the fact you’re sipping caffeine, the Blue Edition is the way to go!

2 – Size

With the busy holiday schedules and constant parade of social activities, it helps to keep some caffeine handy. Maybe you’re thinking, “Wouldn’t something smaller, like an energy shot, be even better than an 8 ounce can?” NO! In this case, a shot is too small because when you can swallow the whole product in one gulp it limits the Placebo Effect. A product large enough to enjoy over 20 minutes will feel more effective than one that’s gone in 60 seconds. Plus, while I can’t speak for anyone else, it’s not easy to find an energy shot in my purse with all the other items floating around in there.

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3 – Content

Taurine – There’s no shortage of scary stories about taurine floating out there in the world, but I’ve discussed this amino acid in another post: Flugtags, Taurine and the Truth Behind the Slogan: Three Things You Didn’t Know About Red Bull.

Caffeine – 80 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces is a moderate dose, according to Caffeine Informer’s database. The carbonation and caffeine content put this product at a Level 2 in the 5 Levels of Fatigue from Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks. For many people, including myself, this is the perfect dose of caffeine because it’s just enough to feel more alert, but not enough to feel jittery. Remember, caffeine affects everyone differently so identifying your own ideal amount is key to making the best beverage choice for your body and lifestyle.

Sugars – 27 grams of sugar isn’t ideal, but since it’s coming from plain old glucose and sucrose you don’t have to worry about High-Fructose Corn Syrup or non-nutritive sweeteners like Splenda, Ace-K or aspartame. The European Food Safety Authority just published a report proclaiming aspartame’s safety, but if you’re not convinced, “when in doubt, leave it out” of your diet. It’s debatable whether HFCS is any worse than sugar but obviously the more you can limit added sugars, the better. Then again, if you’re a bartender heading home at 4am, a product with some sugar might help you more than just caffeine alone.  Make the decision that’s best for you.

Vitamins – The Editions include the usual B-vitamins and the amounts are helpful, not outrageous. B-vitamins are water-soluble, so you can have as much as you want, right? Wrong. More isn’t always better, even with B-vitamins. For specifics, see my previous post: July’s Energy Drink of the Month.

4 – Availability

It’s harder to consume caffeine safely when the only energy drink a concession stand carries is the high-powered one. The Editions have grown so much in popularity that they’re easier to find at gas stations, grocery stores, even some bars and restaurants.

5 – Inspiration

As I’ve explained in a previous post, there is truth behind the slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings!” December does a number on just about everyone’s wallet so it helps to think about the man who co-created Red Bull, and how Red Bull helped him rise from poverty to become one of the richest people in Thailand. If that isn’t enough, follow Red Bull on Twitter and you’ll feel inspired by gems like this:

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Bottom Line

The Editions are the perfect energy drink for December but there is no energy drink on the planet that will magically make you sober. Please be safe and do not combine energy drinks with alcohol. Caffeine might make you feel less drunk but your reflexes and reactions times are still impaired!

Love_Hate December

Safe and Happy Holidays from the Green-Eyed Guide!

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