What I Learned After 10 Years of Researching Energy Drinks – GreenEyedGuide Presentation for Cal Poly Pomona

Does Taurine really come from bull sperm? How much caffeine do 18-year-olds drink in the US? Are energy drinks worse for your heart than coffee? How have energy drinks changed our caffeine habits from 20 years ago?

With 10+ years of researching the energy drinks and their ingredients, food scientist and biochemist GreenEyedGuide answers all those questions and more. This presentation was shared at the All Club All Student Conference at Cal Poly Pomona, hosted by CPP Food Science Society January 11, 2018.

Contents

Background and Methodology
Common Ingredient Misconceptions
Caffeine Consumption in the USA
Common Energy Drink Misconceptions
5 Levels of Fatigue

Full Transcript

How many of you, students, teachers, everyone – how many of you have had those nights where you just cannot fall asleep. Maybe you can’t stop thinking about something; maybe you can’t get comfortable; maybe there’s light and noise – for whatever reason, you can’t fall asleep.

Now think about the last time you woke up exhausted. Your alarm goes off, you get up, start moving around and you just feel it, in your eyes, all over your body – you’re exhausted. And right then and there, part of you knows that this day is going to be awful, because it’s the beginning of the day, and you’re not going to have a chance to sleep for several hours.

This was my life throughout high school.

I was a straight-A student with all honors and advanced placement classes. I did gymnastics 20 hours a week and competed nation-wide. Also, I helped my mom (a single working mom) take care of my 3 siblings. I constantly got 5 hours of sleep or less and fell asleep in class.

Starbucks didn’t exist. Energy drinks didn’t exist. Can you imagine such a world?

My story isn’t that special – here in this room, there are hundreds of you who struggle to balance work, school, family, etc.

What makes my story special, however, is that I started studying biochemistry the very same year Monster Energy hit US Markets. From the moment an energy drink was put into my hands, I knew I wanted to study the science behind it.

Some say it’s hard to be a woman in a science field. For me, personally, it’s been more difficult to be a scientist for something which people have already made up their minds.

When I tell people I research energy drinks. Can you imagine what they say? I usually get 1 of 3 responses:

  • Energy drinks, like how bad they are? Do you talk about how they’re like poison?
  • You study energy drinks? Why? Aren’t there enough teenagers on YouTube who review energy drinks? Why don’t you study something that matters?
  • Wow, energy drinks. What did you learn?

I’ve learned so much, sometimes I think I need a pensive. As scientists, we often find ourselves at odds with fear and misconceptions. With energy drinks, there are misconceptions about the ingredients, misconceptions around the products themselves, and even misconceptions about how much caffeine our great nation consumes.

What makes my work different from that of a dietitian or any other food scientist? My focus has always been very specific: energy drinks and their ingredients. My research includes a comprehensive literature review of the top 20 energy drink ingredients. For each ingredient, I reviewed clinical trials, studies on proposed biological mechanisms, interactions between ingredients – anything and everything that helped me understand what the ingredient would do in the human body.

I did this literature review while I was earning my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and master’s degree in food science. My education gave me a solid foundation for me to put what I was reading into context.

I also reviewed regulatory documents from the US and other countries. In the US, there is no legal definition for the term “energy drink”, but groups like the American Beverage Association offer some guidance documents to help fill the gap. I also learned from the Warning Letters the FDA issued to manufacturers of supplements and caffeinated beverages.

I studied proceedings from the Mayo Clinic, regulations from Health Canada, and the Official Scientific Opinions of the Scientific Committee on Food, and European Food Safety Authority.

So, what have I learned…

Let’s start with my all-time favorite ingredient misconception…

Red Bull sold 13 BILLION Dollars of product in 2015. I don’t know how this taurine myth got started, but it doesn’t make cents – it’s not economical.

The name *TAURINE* does come from Bos taurus, the genus and species of ox.

Taurine was first isolated from ox bile in 1822. (Bile is a fluid made by the liver that aids digestion)

TAURINE IS ALREADY INSIDE YOU! We get taurine from high protein food like meat. Also, the human body makes taurine from amino acids cysteine and methionine.

Why do we need taurine?

Imagine you need to get from point A to point B. You normally walk, but it’s pouring rain, and you’re wearing your nice clothes. Taurine is like a taxi that can deliver you to your destination safely, so you don’t get soaked. This is how Taurine helps with fat absorption.

The fat molecules in the food you eat can’t be metabolized if they can’t be absorbed, and your body is mostly water. So how do they get to the place they need to be without getting soaked? Taurine links with a bile salt so it’s part-water-soluble and part-fat-soluble. The fat-soluble part is like the inside of the taxicab – Hop in, let’s go get digested.

Taurine has another important job – protecting the heart. Taurine helps your body restore the ideal balance of sodium and potassium, reducing water retention and relieving uncomfortable bloating.

It also helps regulate the levels of calcium ions inside heart muscle cells, protecting the heart from calcium imbalances that can lead to heart muscle damage.

This is why taurine is prescribed for congestive heart failure and, coincidence or not, the amount prescribed is about the same amount found in one of the leading brands of energy drinks.

Another ingredient misconception involves Ginkgo. In Chinese medicine, ginkgo is associated with health benefits ranging from memory to anxiety to tinnitus.

I’m sorry, but the cake is a lie.

One of the most comprehensive studies on ginkgo involves 3,000 people over 8 years, where ginkgo was consumed at 120 mg a day. But ginkgo didn’t reduce the incidence of dementia or Alzheimer’s. So, does ginkgo help with memory over the short term? For every well-conceived study suggesting gingko has an effect, there’s another one, just as well conceived, that shows no significant difference.

If I were to ask you what the #1 energy drink ingredient is – the most used ingredient in all energy drinks, would you guess caffeine? It’s Vitamin B12. There are more energy products with B12 than caffeine.

Why? B12 must do some pretty amazing things in the body then… I mean there are those B12 shots, right? B12 must be like an energy super-hero….

As it turns out, B12 makes a great wingman.

As you drink your tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, think about all the cells from your mouth down your esophagus and your GI tract. Those cells go through a lot of wear and tear, and Folate’s job is to help DNA synthesis so those cells can be repaired or regenerated. But folate would be stuck without B12.

As folate goes through this cycle, it comes to a point where it’s stuck with its hands full. This is like when you’re holding two coffees and you’re trying to pull open a door. B12 comes along and helps folate get unstuck so it can go back to work.

None of this has to do with energy though.

B12 is also Biotin’s wingman. Boring Basic Biotin only knows one dance move it takes a carbon dioxide molecule from one place and adds it onto another place.

In this reaction down here at the corner, Biotin makes a molecule that’s 3 carbons long 4 carbons long. B12 reorganizes that molecule and poof – it can enter the Krebs cycle, the massive wheel of energy in the body.

So yes, B12 helps, but look at all the reactions involving B2, B3, B5… those are the real heroes when it comes to energy.

If you’re not a fan of energy drinks, I respect that, but there’s a far greater issue.

We have misconceptions about how much caffeine we drink as a society. If I asked you how many milligrams of caffeine you have every day, would you know the number? Probably not. Who cares, I know how many cups of coffee, isn’t that enough? No. Here’s why.

This figure comes from a study published in 2012. When I read it, I loved it so much, I wrote an email to the author. She wrote me back – it was awesome.

In this study, they surveyed ~42,000 people from all age groups and demographics. They made sure their sample was representative of the US population. They asked people how much caffeine they consumed, and they did something no other study has ever done before or since.

When I read research articles about “Caffeine in the Military” they ask how many energy drinks did you consume. They don’t ask which ones, they don’t distinguish sports beverage from energy shot from coffee or tea.

In this study, they got specific. They got the specific brands and flavors of energy drinks, coffee, tea, energy shots, sports beverages, chocolate beverages. Then they used the Caffeine Informer database to calculate exactly how much caffeine was in that brand, that size, that flavor.

This graph is the most accurate representation we have for Caffeine Consumption, from any source, excluding medication, in the US.

Two things to keep in mind – The American Academy of Pediatrics says those under 18 should not consume more than 100 milligrams of caffeine a day. If you’re a healthy adult, several organizations from several different countries agree 400 milligrams is the max.

So right away we see the caffeine crisis in America isn’t as bad as one might think.

This paper I love so much gets even better. For each age group, we now know where that age group gets their caffeine. These numbers are not exclusive. If you’re a 17-year-old and sometimes you drink soda, sometimes you drink tea, this graph counts all those occasions.

For tweens and teens, we see the biggest contribution to caffeine is soda. 77% of this age group get their caffeine from soda.

Second is tea, then coffee, then energy drinks are last.

What happens when this group reaches adulthood? What do you think the #1 category is going to be?

For college-age people, soda is still the #1 contributor. And tea is still #2! But look at how much coffee has grown.

Energy drinks are still in last place! And these two age groups have the highest energy drink consumption across the whole age range. It never gets better (or worse?) than 10% of the age group.

As people get older, they drink less soda and more coffee. We see this trend through the whole age range. The seniors and super-seniors are primarily coffee drinkers and tea drinkers.

Here’s a study I would love to run. People who are under 21 have never lived in world without Red Bull. I would love to know whether this coffee and soda trend applies to energy drinks that look like soda versus energy drinks that look like coffee.

As people get older, they drink less soda and more coffee. We see this trend through the whole age range. The seniors and super-seniors are primarily coffee drinkers and tea drinkers.

Here’s a study I would love to run. People who are under 21 have never lived in world without Red Bull. I would love to know whether this coffee and soda trend applies to energy drinks that look like soda versus energy drinks that look like coffee.

Assuming you drank the whole container, which drink has the most caffeine?

Surprising, right? Also surprising that this juice drink here has about the same amount of caffeine as Red Bull. True, one’s natural caffeine, one’s not, so let’s look at Red Bull and V8. Would parents freak out if they caught their kids drinking V8?

You already know the caffeine amount in the coffee, so how does that compare to a monster energy, a “pre-workout” drink, and a coffee flavored protein drink? The protein drink has more caffeine than the Monster. Again, how many parents would freak out about their kids drinking this? How many would even realize how much caffeine is in here? It looks like a Muscle Milk competitor. If you’re a student-athlete and you drink 2 of those Muscle Milk drinks a day, then switch it with this thinking they’re the same, we could have a problem.

This is why this is so important – if we continue to say things like “all energy drinks are dangerous concoctions of chemicals, caffeine, and sugar”, we are missing out on a potentially life-saving opportunity to bring the focus to overall caffeine consumption.

“But Danielle, surely caffeine from an energy drink is worse than caffeine from coffee, right?”

Last year, a teen in South Carolina died from a caffeine overdose. Among the things he drank that day:

  • Mountain Dew
  • McDonald’s latte
  • Undisclosed energy drink

The energy drink was the last thing he consumed. We don’t know how much caffeine was in that drink, or what other ingredients were in it. Which means we can’t talk about ingredient interactions. We’re missing some critical data, but this article states that a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found energy drink consumers could be at higher risk of abnormal heart beats and dangerous changes in blood pressure.

Any paper proving energy drinks are worse than coffee would be a major game changer, so I took a look at the study myself.

This study was double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, and cross-over. They did find that 2 hours after consuming an energy drink, participants had QT prolongation of ~10 milliseconds. A prolongation of 60 ms is a marker for life-threatening arrhythmias.

However, they stated pretty clearly that there was no difference in heart rate or blood pressure at any point between placebo and energy drink groups. How does “no difference” get translated into “dangerous changes in blood pressure”?

This quote is from the authors of that study. This was randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and cross-over – which is like gold standard as far as trials. BUT they only included 18 people, people in their mid-20s. If you haven’t hit 30 yet, let me tell ya, your metabolism gets a lot different.

Also, they used 320 milligrams of caffeine, which is over 150% the recommended limit per serving. Healthy adults are only supposed to have 200 milligrams of caffeine at a time.

This isn’t the only study to get misinterpreted. There’s a study in Pediatrics which I can’t stand because it’s constantly misquoted. When that study came out in 2012, headlines all over the place said, “energy drink consumption is on the rise in teens”.

Know why it’s on the rise? Because this study looked at caffeine consumption starting in 1990. So yes, energy drink consumption is on the rise…. FROM ZERO.

If you read the actual paper, the authors state mean caffeine intake has not increased among children and adolescents in recent years. We’re not drinking more caffeine, we’re just getting it from different places. Which brings me back to my point.

“If there’s a kid out there anywhere who thinks they can avoid all energy drinks but consume as many Mountain Dews, McDonald’s Caffe Lattes or Starbucks Grande coffees in one day as they want, we have failed.”

So how do we protect ourselves and our youth from the dangers of caffeine? I give you the 5 Levels of Fatigue. Ladies and Gentlemen, with this system I have helped bartenders cut back from 4 Monsters a day to half a can a day. I have helped my family, friends, and strangers on the internet avoid caffeine toxicity, dependence, and tolerance.

Here’s how it works:

Ever have one of those days where you’re just… amped. Maybe you just aced a final. Maybe that person you’ve been crushing on smiled at you. Maybe your favorite team just made the playoffs.

At Fatigue Level 0, you need no caffeine – you’re feeling great, awake, alert, alive.

Fatigue Level 1. Dehydration causes fatigue. If you’re feeling tired, whether it’s 5 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon, your first task is to drink water.

It doesn’t have to be plain water. Put some cucumbers in it, get carbonated water, add regular MIO, whatever, just don’t reach for caffeine. Not yet.

Fatigue Level 2. At this point, you have ruled out dehydration. Time to get some help. There are plenty of energy drinks with less than 100 mg per container, and with caffeine from a natural source. Here are some of my favorite examples.

For best results, you’re looking for something with natural caffeine, something NON-carbonated, and something with no sugar.

Carbonation and sugar do not belong in Fatigue Level 2.

Fatigue Level 3. Struggle City, population = you.

For best results, do not exceed 200 mg. That’s the limit for a single serving anyways.

You STILL don’t want anything carbonated – not yet.

Instead of carbonation, look for something with at least some juice content. That juice should give you a teeny bit of sugar, and drinks with juice are almost never carbonated. We don’t want carbonation yet.

Fatigue Level 4. out of 5. This is it. This is “Fall Asleep Standing” mode. This is “need to pull an all-nighter” or double-shift time.

Do. Not. Consume Fatigue Level 4 on a daily basis. Why? Because this is for emergencies only. What would happen if you had a fire drill at your school or work every day? You’d start ignoring it. And so it goes if you have this much caffeine every day. If you want the caffeine to work, you must not consume this caffeine on a regular basis.

Because it’s an emergency, it’s okay to go above the 200 mg – at – a time limit. This is also the point where we introduce carbonation. Why?

Ever wonder why champagne makes you drunk faster than beer or wine? It’s all about the bubbles. The bubbles irritate your stomach slightly, making it easier for your stomach to absorb 3 things – aspirin. Alcohol. Caffeine. Please do not consume all 3 at once.

Everything else has to wait until it gets to your small intestine to be absorbed. Caffeine gets in through the stomach, and when there’s carbonation involved, it gets in that much easier.

So if you had two energy drinks, each with 100 mg caffeine – the carbonated one is going to feel stronger. This is why the 5 levels of fatigue is a scale. There are incremental increases based on ingredients like sugar and caffeine.

Level 5 is sleep. There comes a point where no amount of caffeine can save you. There comes a point where you must give in and get some rest. When you hear stories about people who fall asleep while drinking an energy drink, it’s because they did not have the courage to admit to themselves when they’ve reached their limit. It’s extremely difficult to ask for help, to accept our limitations. But if we’re going to stay healthy, we have to acknowledge when we reach that point.

I am on a mission to promote safe caffeine consumption. If you would like to learn more about my campaign, what I do, my book, a particular drink, a particular ingredient, save this page in your favorites.

If you want to be an advocate for safe caffeine consumption, there are 3 things you can do:

  1. Don’t judge – If you’re a coffee drinker, don’t judge someone holding an energy drink. Maybe their drink isn’t as strong as you think. Maybe they could use your help, not your criticism if they’re always at Fatigue Level 4.
  2. Don’t mix caffeine and alcohol. Ever. Caffeine makes you feel like you’re not drunk (and isn’t that the fun part?) Your reflexes are still impaired and worse – if you’ve had too much alcohol, you won’t pass out when you’ve had too much. This is your body’s way of protecting you. Don’t break that protection.
  3. Don’t be boring. Caffeinated drinks are a spectrum. You wouldn’t wear the same color every single day, unless you’re Batman or Black Widow, so don’t drink the same caffeine every single day. Follow the 5 Levels of Fatigue

Thank you all.

 

Science Behind EMV Jabu Energy Drink – Quick Review

Science behind Jabu Emv

Notable Ingredients

  • green tea leaf extract
  • guarana seed extract
  • yerba mate leaf extract
  • stevia and isomaltulose

Interesting and Unusual Ingredients In This Energy Drink

Isomaltulose is a natural sweetener found in honey and sugar cane extract. It has the same two “members” that make table sugar: glucose + fructose = sucrose. However the glucose and fructose are arranged (i.e., holding hands) in a different way than they do in sucrose.  As a result of this arrangement, isomaltulose is only half as sweet as sucrose.

This energy drink contains JABUTICABA, which is basically a Brazilian grape. Jabuticaba fruit contains protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin C and some B vitamins.

Jabuticaba has polyphenol antioxidants like those in cranberries and grapes. These antioxidants have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties…in test tubes and lab rats. It’s difficult to prove these benefits outside of a controlled cell or rat cage because life is too complicated to prove a cause and effect of this magnitude.  In other words, it’s extremely difficult to control for things like diet, stress, sunlight, exercise, the number of hours sitting down, etc. to conclusively prove whether polyphenols prevent cancer.

When Juice Becomes A Tool

Jabuticaba isn’t very high on the ingredients list, meaning there might not be enough of it in this drink to be an effective dose for those antioxidant health benefits. The same can be said for the other juices in here too: apple, grape, acai, and acerola. All of these juices offer some variety of health benefits related to the benefit of antioxidants. But the dosage makes a difference. So does the order.

Apple and Grape juice are the most predominant, and they are very sweet, which tells me this drink is using those juices more for flavor and sweetness than for health benefits.

Regardless, this is a healthier alternative to the stereotypical energy drink. This energy drink has 80 mg caffeine (same as Red Bull) from 3 leaf extracts: 1.Green Tea, 2.Guarana, 3.Yerba Mate. With 80 mg caffeine, this drink fits Fatigue Level 2. [See 5 Levels of Fatigue to see how to use this system to avoid caffeine toxicity, dependency, and tolerance]

You can find more about the science behind energy drink ingredients here at GreenEyedGuidecom and within my book, “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks- How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” on Amazon (and now on Audible!!!).

Let’s connect!

Watch GreenEyedGuide present the 5 Levels of Fatigue for Cal State Fullerton’s COMM Week 2017

In late April 2017 I had the pleasure of being involved in the Jack Up Your Life L.I.F.E (Living Incredibly For Ever) Symposium as part of California State University of Fullerton’s Communications Week. My presentation is finally available for those who were not able to attend the event in person.

Watch the GreenEyedGuide presentation below:

The 5 Levels of Fatigue and how to use this system to stay healthy, happy, and energized

[GreenEyedGuide starts ~26 min mark but I highly recommend listening to all the speakers]

NOTE:  the full Symposium page is located here.

WARNING: Video contains strong language! Discretion is advised.

 

Let’s connect!

 

 

Cool Blue Revitalizer, Red Bull Purple Edition, Iconic Protein Coffee Drink, Monster Hydro Mean Green, F’Real Frappe Coffee, and West Coast Chill: June Recap of Quick Reviews – Science of Energy Drinks

Here’s a recap of the quick reviews posted this month for the “Science of Energy Drinks” series on the GreenEyedGuide Instagram and Facebook pages: Cool Blue Revitalizer, Red Bull (sugarfree) Purple Edition, Iconic Protein Coffee Drink, Monster Hydro Mean “Green” (more like yellow), F’Real Frappe Coffee, and West Coast Chill (caffeine free!) energy drink.

Cool Blue Revitalizer

  • Caffeine Content 100 mg = Fatigue Level 2

Science Behind Cool Blue Revitalizer

Science Behind Cool Blue Revitalizer: This drink makes a big deal about 3 natural ingredients but it’s UNNATURALLY blue.

✔1. “Real Sugar” – true, but it ALSO has sucralose.
✔2. “Natural Flavor” – I guess BLUE drink =BLUE-berries? To me this drink tasted like CITRIC ACID OVERLOAD!!! WOAH BUDDY!
✔3. “Natural Caffeine” – From where? The label doesn’t specify but it’s 100 mg caffeine [#fatiguelevel2]
🤓PET PEEVE: 1 container= 1.3 Servings? Really…you couldn’t change your formula or can size?
🔬SODIUM BENZOATE— Did you know that benzoate salts like this one prevents growth of microorganisms like yeast and mold; it’s used for preservation of sour food (pH 4 and lower) and is often used with other preservatives especially at low pH (acidic food).
🔬SODIUM BENZOATE SAFETY NOTES — Consumers can ingest up to 5mg per kg of body weight of benzoic acid and its salts according to European Commission – Scientific Committee on Food. There are safety concerns suspected but unconfirmed for benzene formation from benzoic acid with ascorbic acid. However, this risk “cannot be reliably assessed on basis of data available” per BfR Expert Opinion. [More Info on the “Panera KNOW-No List“]

Red Bull Purple Edition (sugarfree)

  • Caffeine Content 114 mg = Fatigue Level 3

Science Behind Red Bull Purple Sugar Free

The Science Behind RED BULL PURPLE EDITION: Red Bull has less caffeine and fewer ingredients than Monster and Rockstar. No guarana, carnitine, glucuronolactone, ginseng, or ginkgo; NO PRESERVATIVES! NO SUGAR!

🤓Since Red Bull has been around a long time there are mounting scientific studies testing its effectiveness
🤓Red Bull is not only the NUMBER ONE SELLING ENERGY DRINK BRAND  on the PLANET, they also set the standard for energy drink industry SAFETY GUIDELINES. Red Bull was the FIRST ENERGY DRINK Company to list caffeine content on their cans several years ago, paving the way for other companies to follow suit.
🤓FURTHERMORE Red Bull has been open about their commitment to food safety and quality – you can read all about that HERE: ⚡ Red Bull on Caffeine Safety and Transparency
✔This MAY NOT BE FOR YOU IF you are trying to avoid artificial flavors and/or sweeteners – This drink has Sucralose and Ace-K but I am more concerned about the KNOWN effects of high sugar intake than the DEBATABLE effects of these two sweeteners.
✔Ace-K has been USED AROUND THE WORLD for 15 years and used in the US since 1988.
✔Sucralose was approved by FDA in 1998, and it’s considered safe by government/regulatory agencies worldwide.
✔As far as caffeine interactions that (maybe?) make energy drink more dangerous than coffee, I enjoy Red Bull’s simple ingredients, sugarfree options, and moderate caffeine content. 🤓💚⚡⛾⚡🔬⚡

Iconic Protein + Coffee Drink

  • Caffeine Content 180 mg = Fatigue Level 3

Science Behind Iconic Protein Caffeine drink

If caffeine is best for PREworkout and protein is best for POSTworkout, what do you do with a CAFFEINE+PROTEIN COMBO?
🤓 DRINK IT!
But seriously, here’s what you should know:

✔ This drink has 180 mg caffeine per container. That’s as much as a Monster Energy (160 mg)
✔Caffeine doses of 3-6 mg caffeine per kg bodyweight are the best for pre-workout. That’s the range used in “[X] Til Exhaustion” studies (cycling, running, rowing…)
✔ Protein doses of 20-25 grams* protein taken in the 30 min window after workout is ideal for muscle growth but overall protein consumption matters too. *NOTE bigger protein doses don’t mean bigger results
✔ONLY 3 GRAMS SUGAR from Agave. Sweetness also comes from MONK FRUIT (aka Luo Han Guo) & STEVIA! I LOVE seeing these natural sweeteners used in caffeinated beverages 🤓💚🔬➕⛾➕🏋️‍♀️

Monster Hydro Mean Green

  • Caffeine Content 125 mg = Fatigue Level 3

Science Behind Monster Hydro

As the GREENEyedGuide I’m bummed “Mean GREEN” is yellow.

As a Food Scientist, I know artificial green is hard to keep green and natural green often involves spirulina, which has the slightest seawater taste. I don’t normally talk about taste in my reviews bc it’s subjective, but this tasted like flat Moutain Dew or old lemonade to me. 🤓💚🔬⛾

KEY Ingredients:
✔Sugar sources include sucrose (table sugar), glucose, and artificial sweetener sucralose. 23g! Not awful but <10g is my sweet spot (food pun!)
✔NO GUARANA OR TAURINE OR CARNITINE so really different than the typical Monster Energy Blend.
125 mg caffeine per bottle, compared to 180mg in most flavors of Monster Energy.

Is Monster Hydro a healthier alternative to Monster Energy?
YES in terms of lower caffeine content and FEWER Caffeine-(other ingredient) INTERACTIONS, which some people* think make some energy drinks more dangerous than coffee.
*I’m on the fence about this. Caffeine-Taurine-glucuronolactone combos are fine but no data for or against caffeine-carnitine combos yet.

F’real Frappe Coffee

  • Caffeine Content not disclosed – Unknown Level of Fatigue

Science Behind FReal Frappe Coffee

That Moment When you want to hide your CAFFEINE CONTENT so badly, you COMPARE yourself to something AMBIGUOUS. “2x caffeine as leading frozen coffee” 

Who is the leading FROZEN coffee and HOW MUCH caffeine do they have? It is FALSE to assume a cup of coffee has a standard amount. 1 cup at Starbucks doesn’t equal 1 cup at Pikes or 1 cup at your hotel.
Neat concept with the DIY F’Real Blender machine but if we’re going to GET REAL (or “f’real”) ABOUT CAFFEINE SAFETY we need EVERYONE to report caffeine content.

Have you ever seen a bottle of ALCOHOL that DID NOT disclose the %?
PS – sixty-one grams of sugar y’all. Sixty. One. But look at how clean and simple the ingredients are. Too bad simple doesn’t = healthy. 🤓💚⛾🔬

West Coast Chill (caffeine free energy drink)

  • Caffeine Content = ZERO! Fatigue Level 0-1 Energy Drink

Science Behind West Coast Chill

An energy drink with NO CAFFEINE?!? Does the term “energy drink” mean anything anymore!?!

Let’s inspect it: 🤓💚⛾🔬Active ingredients include:
🤓Ribose – a compound that participates in an odd (pun) energy producing reaction called the Pentose phosphate pathway. Promising science, just hasn’t caught on yet.
🤓Ginseng – be skeptical of benefits!
🤓Arginine – amino acid with important jobs in the body (Urea Cycle Waste Removal). HOWEVER the BEST way to supplement arginine is to TAKE Citrulline!
🤓B-vitamins AND minerals – minerals aren’t usually in energy drinks. Curious… 🤓💚🔬⛾📚

Click HERE to learn more about how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue.

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Energy Drink of the Month – June 2017: Guru Organic Energy

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Compound Interest Acids
Check out the full article for Common Fruit Acids at Compound Interest

 

  • 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
  • Panax Ginseng
    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.

 

Capture
Source: Caffeine Informer

 

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 100 milligrams 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:

Bottom Line

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.

GURU SITES:

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Review the entire ENERGY DRINK OF THE MONTH SERIES

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