Science Behind Kill Cliff Ignite Energy Drink

Have you ever looked at an energy drink and thought, “Is this good for me?” Don’t laugh – this question is not rhetorical. In fact, I’ve studied energy drinks for almost 20 years and I get this question all the time. My friends, family, and fans will send me pictures and ask, “What about this drink?” Some drinks are DEFINITELY better than others. And so today we’re going to focus on the Science Behind Kill Cliff Ignite.

Science Behind Kill Cliff Ignite - In This Post:


Hi there. I'm Caffeine Scientist, Author, and Speaker GreenEyedGuide. I help people beat burnout with caffeine science.

More than 90% of the population drinks caffeine every day. But when and how you drink your caffeine makes a huge difference in your health and well-being. I use my science background to help people drink caffeine strategically. In other words, I help people work better, sleep better, and feel better.

I earned my degrees in biochemistry and food science. Then I wrote a book about energy drink ingredients and safety concerns. After that, I wrote a book about How to Get Sh*t Done When You Feel Like Sh*t“. Above all, my goal as the “GreenEyedGuide” is to be a resource (ahem, a guide) for people who drink caffeine.

Short on time? Listen to "The Science Behind Kill Cliff Ignite" on the Caffeine at Midnight podcast.

First Impressions - What's on the Label?

You can tell a lot about an energy drink’s target audience by looking at the can itself. The words on the side of the can and around the top tell you what kind of customer the drink is trying to attract.

The top of Kill Cliff Ignite has the following call-outs:

  • No Sugar
  • B-Vitamins
  • Naturally Flavored
  • Electrolytes
  • 150 mg Clean Caffeine

Additionally, the side of the drink reads in large text, “INGREDIENTS THAT DON’T SUCK.”

In short, the makers of Kill Cliff Ignite want you to think this is a healthy, “clean”, drink. But do the ingredients live up to this marketing?

Let's look at these ingredients more closely.

Kill Cliff Ignite Ingredients

There are 3 things you should know about Kill Cliff Ignite’s key ingredients.

1. The vitamin blend is unusual.

Like the stereotypical energy drink, Kill Cliff Ignite contains B-vitamins.

  • B3 (niacin).
  • B6.
  • B12.
  • B5.

But Kill Cliff Ignite also has 100% of your Daily Value of Vitamin E. This is unusual for an energy drink. Thus, there are two logical reasons why this vitamin is here.

1-Vitamin E is fat-soluble. Adding it could help with the drink’s overall texture and solubility of the ingredients. After all, there’s nothing enjoyable about drinking a clumpy energy drink.

2-Kill Cliff Ignite also contains ginseng. Both Vitamin E and ginseng are believed to boost the immune system*. If this health benefit is the goal, it makes sense why both ingredients are in here.

Of course, the research on ginseng doesn’t all agree here. But please take a second to imagine how hard it is for a scientist to measure and prove something like this. In other words, it’s hard to prove one ingredient makes a difference when so many other factors affect your immune system.

2. The electrolytes help you hydrate, but not in the way you think.

You don’t really need electrolytes unless you’re sweating buckets. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post on hydration and fatigue,

Athletes only replace about half the water lost during exercise [Noakes, T. Fluid replacement during exercise. Exerc Sports Sci Rev 1993; 21:297]. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that the increased fluid intake using flavored electrolyte beverages is probably beneficial [American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics 2000; 106:158-59]. The important thing is you’re drinking more fluids, even if the electrolytes aren’t needed.

 In conclusion, the electrolytes in Kill Cliff Ignite help it taste good. And if you’re exhausted after a grueling workout, it’ll help you hydrate, too.

3. Niacin plus ginger plus carbonation equals PERCEIVED ENERGY!

Energy drinks don’t give you energy.

Nope, I’m not crazy, I’m a biochemist. Biologically, energy drinks don’t give you “energy” as in the physiological energy that fuels your body.

Rather, energy drinks and anything with caffeine gives you “perceived energy”. This is how energized you feel. It’s a subjective rating. Thus, you can imagine how many things can alter that perception.

One of those things, is caffeine from green tea, like the caffeine in Kill Cliff Ignite. Caffeine is caffeine is caffeine. The molecule itself affects your body the same, regardless of where it comes from. However, it’s the “other stuff” that comes with the caffeine, that makes a difference. This is called the “Food Matrix”.

Kill Cliff Ignite gets its caffeine from green tea extract. Since green tea extract contains caffeine and theanine, you won’t feel that sharp jolt caffeine buzz. Instead, the theanine helps you feel a jitter-less alertness. The downside of this is that you might not feel like the caffeine is really working.

Enter ginger, niacin, and carbonated water.

  • First, ginger has a bit of a kick to it.
  • Second, niacin doses over 30 milligrams can cause a mild warmth sensation called “Niacin Flush”.
  • Third, carbonated water turns to carbonic acid and slightly irritates the stomach. Put all three together, and you’ll get a warm, tingly, bubbly sensation while drinking Kill Cliff Ignite. This helps you feel like it’s really working, even though the caffeine boost is less of a jolt.

In summary, this energy drink has a unique blend of ingredients that give you tangible benefits as well as a noticeable energy boost.

Now let’s look at how it compares to the stereotypical energy drink.

Kill Cliff Ignite Vs Monster Lo-Carb

How does Kill Cliff Ignite compare to a stereotypical energy drink? For apples-to- apples comparison, let’s use Monster Lo-Carb. With similar Calories and caffeine content, this particular Monster Energy drink is a good comparison.

Unlike Monster Lo-Carb, Kill Cliff doesn’t have taurine, carnitine, or guarana. This is a plus if you’re worried about energy drink ingredient interactions.

In Kill Cliff Ignite, the caffeine, colors, flavors, and sweeteners are all from natural sources. Specifically, Monster Lo-Carb is sweetened with glucose and artificial sugars Sucralose and Ace-K.

On the other hand, Kill Cliff Ignite uses the natural sugar alcohol erythritol and a natural sweetener, Stevia.

One more note about those sweeteners...

Remember how I pointed out the can of Kill Cliff says "Ingredients that don't suck"?

Well, with a whopping 10 grams of erythritol, I can tell it’s high quality. As a product developer, I’ve had to endure taste-testing poor quality ingredients. This was part of a supplier-vetting program at a former job. When you have poor quality erythritol, it leaves a thick, syrup taste in your throat. Almost like a sore-throat sensation. And when you have poor quality Stevia, the bitter-metallic aftertaste lingers for a long time. It’s awful.

This is how I can tell Kill Cliff is living up to its claim. They truly are using “Ingredients that don’t suck.”

Furthermore, Kill Cliff is developed and operated by a US Navy Seal. Additionally, at the time of this post, they’ve donated $830,000 to the Navy Seal Foundation. This Brand Identity is another thing to consider, in addition to the ingredients and caffeine content.

Danielle Robertson Rath's 5 Levels of Fatigue
The 5 Levels of Fatigue, developed by GreenEyedGuide

Kill Cliff Ignite and the Energy Drink Report Card

Is this safe to drink? What if you drink it every day?

With 150 mg caffeine, this drink meets Fatigue Level 3 criteria. If you’re not familiar with the 5 Levels of Fatigue, you can learn more in my latest book, “How to Get Sh*t Done When You Feel Like Sh*t”. The basic premise is you can avoid burnout and caffeine addiction by using only as much caffeine as you need, only when you need it.

On the Energy Drink Report Card, Kill Cliff Ignite is in the GREEN column.

As a reminder:
YELLOW = Enjoy Occasionally
GREEN = Enjoy Every Day

Thus, Kill Cliff Ignite is safe to drink every day, as long as your >18 years old and you hit Fatigue Level 3.


Was this helpful? What do you think about Kill Cliff Ignite?

Let me know what you think or just say, “HI!”


Where does your favorite caffeinated beverage fall?

  • YELLOW = Enjoy Occasionally
  • GREEN = Enjoy Every Day

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