The challenge with Energy Waters is two-fold. First of all, water, by itself, is a boring beverage. But it’s important to drink water, so we start adding things to it to make it more enticing: lemons, cucumbers, flavoring… The second challenge becomes trying to define when something is no longer a “water” because of all the additions.
If you’ve tried other energy waters and wanted more flavor, more sweetness, maybe a little more color, then I’ve got a beverage for you. This month’s pick is a little more than an Energy Water, but it’s still a healthier alternative than the stereotypical energy drink. We’ll review how to tell if this drink is for you, what the key ingredients do, and how the caffeine compares to other energy drinks.
Following your passion requires vision, commitment, persistence, and long hours. October challenges your vision and commitment because it brings shorter days, midterms, the distractions of a looming Holiday Season, and the time crunch to meet End of the Year company objectives. This month, we review an energy drink-in-disguise designed to “complement your work hard/play hard lifestyle” with green coffee beans, monk fruit, erythritol, and coconut water. Read more →
The year I started college, Monster and Rockstar were just hitting US markets. Welcome to September 2017, where Red Bull is older than the people entering college this fall. Whether you’re a student, a parent of school-age kids, or an adult savoring the last days of summer, September can bring changes that drain your energy. It’s a great time to consider a new energy drink, but one that won’t blow your summer body, one that keeps you hydrated and refreshed through the summer heat, and one that isn’t too strong. After all, you want to save those strong energy drinks for finals week and Black Friday shopping.
The Energy Drink of the Month for September 2017 is Guru Energy Water.
Guru offers three flavors of Energy Water: grapefruit, lime, and pomegranate. Guru has other energy drinks to offer too, which can all be found at Guru’s Products Page.
Who It’s For: Ingredient Preferences and Phobias
There are so many energy drinks available these days that no one should have to compromise their ingredient preferences and phobias. Not a fan of carnitine? That’s okay. Not sure you trust artificial colors or flavors? That’s fine too! There are plenty of energy drinks on the market to meet all kinds of ingredient combos you may be seeking.
Does Guru Energy Water have the ingredients you’re looking for?
Like with Guru Organic Energy Drink, Guru’s Energy Water is certified-Organic, gluten-free, non-GMO Project Verified, and artificial free. Unlike Guru’s Energy Drink, the Energy Water is Calorie free and sugar-free.
Guru’s Energy Drinks(both regular and Lite) are sweetened with Organic cane syrup, Luo Han Guo, and Stevia, but Guru Energy Wateris sweetened by Stevia and erythritol
X Artificial sweeteners X Artificial flavors X Sugar X Calories X B-vitamins X Stereotypical energy drink ingredients such as taurine, carnitine, glucuronolactone
What’s In It: Key Ingredients and Functions
Guru Energy Waters offer a simple ingredient list: carbonated (or “sparkling”) water, erythritol, flavor, green tea extract (the source of caffeine), juice concentrate, and Stevia. Do you know what these ingredients do?
DID YOU KNOW:
Beverages labeled as containing “sparkling water,” “seltzer water,” “soda water,” “tonic water,” or “club soda” aren’t included as bottled water under FDA’s regulations. These beverages are instead considered to be soft drinks. [Source: Bottled Water Everywhere: Keeping It Safe]
Green Tea Extract
Regardless of whether caffeine comes from green tea extract, coffee beans, or caffeine anhydrous, it works the same way. The difference between getting caffeine from synthetic sources and getting it from natural sources and getting it from synthetic sources is like getting a diamond versus getting a diamond from a Tiffany bag. In other words, you’re not just getting the benefits of the caffeine, you’re getting the benefits of the whole package.
Green tea leaves (the kind in nature, before they’re processed) are rich in a type of antioxidants called polyphenols. One family of these polyphenol antioxidants is the catechins.
Green tea contains six primary catechin compounds: catechin, gallocatechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate (also known as EGCG). EGCG is the most studied polyphenol component in green tea and the most active. [Source: Green Tea, University of Maryland Medical Center]
Drinking an energy drink or energy water made with green tea extract is not the same thing (health benefit-wise) as drinking plain green tea, but when you get your caffeine from green tea extract, you’re getting some of those antioxidants too. Green tea antioxidants have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the leaf of a plant. There is a particular molecule, nicknamed “REB A” that is responsible for the sweetness. This is why you’ll sometimes see brands or ingredient lists that call out REB A specifically – Stevia purity is a big deal.
Finding a high-quality stevia extract is no simple task. Oh sure, we know what molecule is responsible for the sweetness, but isolating that molecule and delivering it is far more complicated than producing table sugar. Sugar is sugar is sugar, right? But water doesn’t always taste the same, even if it’s just water. The same goes for Stevia. In fact, tasting Stevia samples was one of the tasks I dreaded most while I worked as a product developer for a major supplement company. One bad sample, and you’d be experiencing a bitter metallic aftertaste the rest of the day (or week: See “A Food Science Horror Story”).
It turns out that some people are Stevia Super Tasters so they will get a bitter metallic aftertaste with Stevia when many others would taste only sweetness. This bitter metallic aftertaste is why stevia is often paired with another natural sweetener, erythritol.
Erythritol is one of my favorite sweeteners, and we’ve talked about it before in other reviews. Erythritol makes Stevia better when they’re combined. Some people get a bitter-metallic sensation with Stevia extract, but erythritol masks the unfavorable attributes of Stevia. Erythritol is 60-70% as sweet as sucrose and has a very similar taste. It does not raise blood glucose levels and it delivers a cooling effect. While it’s non-caloric like Stevia, it has a molecular size that gives it more mouthfeel. Think fruit juice versus fruit smoothie: the fruit smoothie has a heavier “mouthfeel”.
Erythritol occurs naturally, like monk fruit and Stevia. It’s made through natural fermentation. It’s a sugar-alcohol, like the Xylitol often used in sugar-free gum. With xylitol, however, too much of it can really upset a person’s stomach. With erythritol, a person could consume twice as much – at least 0.66 grams per kilogram of body weight – before they started getting same stomach issues. Additionally, erythritol has been proven through clinical studies to reduce plaque build-up.
Natural Flavors and Juice Concentrates
The natural flavors used in the energy waters match the flavor of the beverage itself. For example, the Pomegranate Energy Water has natural flavor from, you guessed it, pomegranate. The same goes for the Juice Concentrates – the Grapefruit Energy Water features a teeny bit of grapefruit juice concentrate and the Pomegranate Energy Water features pomegranate juice concentrate. The exception is the Lime Energy Water, which has with natural lime flavor but lemon juice concentrate. All flavors and juice concentrates are Organic.
When to Consume: Caffeine Content and Level of Fatigue
This is another energy drink that breaks the stereotype that all energy drinks are dangerous concoctions of caffeine and sugar. However, this energy drink is not “weak sauce”. It has 100 mg of caffeine per can, which is the limit of caffeine consumtpion per day for those under 18 years old. For healthy adults, that limit is 400 mg caffeine per day.
With 100 mg caffeine per can, this product fits FATIGUE LEVEL 2. Fatigue Level 1 is when you’re tired because of dehydration and need (uncaffeinated) water. Fatigue Level 2 is home to several other “energy drinks in disguise”, healthy alternatives that are as strong as an 8-oz Red Bull but seem so much cleaner and healthier.
This doesn’t taste like an energy drink because it’s an energy water. If you’re looking for something with Organic ingredients, low-moderate caffeine levels, light flavor, no Calories, no sugar, no artificial colors or flavors or sweeteners, this is another “energy drink in disguise” you can feel good about drinking.
Energy Drink of the Month and the Book Excerpt of the Week will return after I get over this running-induced-cold*. In the meantime, please check out my new blog: West Coast Meets Midwest.
*About that running-induced-cold…
Did you know that 🍒cherry juice🍒 can help minimize Exercise-induced Airway Inflammation?
(And In Related News I’ve given myself a cold by running too hard: running➡️Dry throat➡Upper Respiratory Tract symptoms ️➡️Exercise-induced airway inflammation)
So many puns… Does your energy come from an Organic source or is it an innate, inherent, organic burst of energy? If Organic Chemistry is the study of carbon-based molecules and coal is combustible compressed carbon matter, can we call coal “organic energy”? Can we call a beverage Organic if it’s carbon-ated? All puns aside (for now), let’s talk about a carbonated energy drink that is certified-Organic.
Gjalla and the Energy Drink of the Month – June 2017
Energy Drink of the Month – June 2017
Gjalla and the Nutrition Facts of theEnergy Drink of the Month – June 2017
The Energy Drink of the Month for June 2017 is Guru Organic Energy.
Guru has other energy drinks to offer, but for this month we’ll focus on the original. As with any energy drink, we need to discuss the WHO, WHAT, and WHEN:
Who is this for? What ingredient phobias and preferences does it cater to?
What are the key ingredients and what do they do?
When should someone drink this, based on caffeine content and the 5 Levels of Fatigue?
Who It’s For: Ingredient Preferences and Phobias
Guru is certified-Organic, gluten free, non-GMO Project Verified, and artificial free. The drink is sweetened with Organic cane syrup and also Organic white grape juice concentrate. In total, there are 30 grams of sugar.
This is an energy drink without the stereotypical energy drink ingredients that strike fear into the hearts (bad pun, #arrthymia) of those that think all energy drinks are more dangerous than coffee. Guru Organic Energy does not contain taurine, carnitine, glucuronolactone, or any B-vitamins. It does contain guarana though, but we’ll get to that. Don’t panic.
Did you know the word “Organic” has more regulations around it than the words “energy drink”? You can’t use the word “Organic” on the label unless the product meets specific regulations, and that compliance is confirmed through certification. Of course, these regulations are not without flaw and Organic products are not immune to consumer confusion about the implications of the term.
Guru Organic Energy Nutrition Facts – Energy Drink of the Month for June 2017
Guru Organic Energy ingredients
What’s In It: Key Ingredients and Functions
Citric Acid and “Apple Acid”
“Apple acid” is a synonym for malic acid, but perhaps “malic acid” sounds more chemical-y to some people. The genus for apple is Malus, and malic acid is what gives apples their characteristic tart taste. Both citric and malic acids are organic acids that occur naturally in fruits like lemons and apples. Some sugar-free energy drinks get carried away with the use of citric acid because it can provide a tartness that makes up for a lack of sugar. However, too much citric acid can sting the tongue. That’s not a problem for Guru, fortunately.
Green Tea Leaf Extract
Green Tea Leaf Extract is the predominant source of caffeine in Guru Organic Energy. In addition to the caffeine, green tea extract also provides health benefits in the form of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This mouthful of an antioxidant is one of the reasons green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet (second only to water).
The catechin and polyphenol content in this beverage are not claimed, so Guru cannot be called an “antioxidant beverage”. Nonetheless, the more green tea you can get in your diet, the better (the same cannot be said for caffeine, however). The benefits of green tea extract are vast — especially in isolated cells, test tubes, and lab rats. Green tea’s benefits for humans are harder to prove but, to quote from this informative and delightful article by our friends at Compound Interest,
“…the combination of L-Theanine and caffeine can improve speed, performance and accuracy in cognitively demanding tasks – put simply, L-Theanine ‘smooths out’ the stimulating effects of caffeine. – Compound Interest, The Chemistry of Tea
Guarana Seed Extract
Guarana has a lot in common with Snape, oops, I meant Professor Snape. When energy drinks first came out, people were afraid of guarana and claimed it was dangerous and devious. Now it’s an ingredient people are proud of and happy to see.
Way back in the mid-2000s, (before I started this blog, unfortunately) guarana was considered bad because of the additional caffeine it provided. Drinks that had both caffeine and guarana were thought to be the most dangerous of all because of the cumulative caffeine content. Note, this was before energy drink companies started putting “Caffeine from All Sources” on the labels. With the whole food and artificial free movement, guarana became more acceptable and appreciated because it is a natural source of caffeine
Did you know that not all ginseng offers the same health benefits? Panax ginseng, also called Asian or Korean ginseng, is the good kind. Siberian ginseng doesn’t contain any of the characteristic chemical compounds, called ginsenosides, that make ginseng “Ginseng”. When harvested, ginseng can be dried and bleached to become white ginseng, or steamed and air dried to become red ginseng.
If you were a lab rat, ginseng might improve memory. With humans, the data is less convincing. Ginseng allegedly helps reduce stress but that’s only when it’s sipped warm or when the root is chewed. How convenient that the act of holding a warm object is also attributed to stress reduction. So is the act of mastication. Suffice to say I’m not sold on the power of ginseng…but it either doesn’t help you or it does. Nothing suggests it’s going to hurt you, especially in the amounts found in energy drinks.
When To Consume: Caffeine Content and the 5 Levels of Fatigue
This product contains 142 milligrams of caffeine from the green tea extract and the guarana seed extract combined. As a reminder, people under 18 should have no more than 100milligrams of caffeine a day, and healthy non-pregnant adults should have no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day.
This may be an Energy Drink in Disguise, but it has almost as much caffeine as a Monster Energy (Guru: 142 milligrams, Monster, most flavors, 160 milligrams). That makes this FATIGUE LEVEL 3! This is not a drink you want to drink every day because you want to save the stronger caffeinated beverages for when you are more than just dehydrated or a little tired.
We talked about Fatigue Level 3 during the 10 Day Caffeine Challenge. Here’s a refresher about why this level is special:
Guru Organic Energy is a great alternative to stronger caffeinated beverages like Monster Energy. With 142 milligrams of caffeine, this is not something you want to consume every day. However, with its artificial free, certified-Organic, Non-GMO, gluten free ingredients, this is a beverage you can be proud to drink.