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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Kickstart Recharge versus Kickstart Hydrating Boost: Two strategies to fight fatigue

While Kickstart Recharge and Kickstart Hydrating Boost offer mostly the same ingredients, there are some non-trivial differences that show they target fatigue in different ways. To understand these differences in these caffeinated beverages, we need to review the connection between hydration and fatigue, and the relationship between fatigue and vitamins C and E.

But first, a closer look at the ingredients

Kickstart Recharge and Kickstart Hydrating Boost are very similar in terms of ingredients. They both contain 68 milligrams of caffeine per can, which is less than the caffeine in a can of Red Bull. There are more Kickstart flavors available, but let’s focus on two flavors from the Recharge group and two from the Hydrating Boost group. As shown in the table below, all four have the same first three ingredients. After that, the Recharge group differs from the Hydrating Boost group, but the two Hydrating Boost products have identical ingredients lists.

kickstart-comparisons

Blood Orange has blood orange juice, Blueberry Pomegranate has blueberry juice, but Watermelon has no watermelon juice, and Strawberry Kiwi has no strawberry juice. Unlike the Recharge group, the Hydrating Boost group has to rely entirely on the added flavors to make it taste like the fruits it’s named after. This seems to explain why the Hydrating Group has both natural and artificial flavors. Natural flavors are usually less potent and less permanent than artificial flavors. Perhaps natural watermelon flavors were not enough in the absence of any watermelon juice.

20161120_2138071

Hydration and Fatigue – The Hydrating Boost Strategy

 

Hydrating Boost aims to give you energy by giving you coconut water to fight fatigue from dehydration.

“By the time a person loses 1% to 2% of body weight in fluids, he or she will be thirsty. Even this small water deficit can cause one to feel tired. At 4% loss of body weight, muscles lose significant strength and endurance”
[Straus, L. The Liquid Diet: Role of Water. Introduction to Human Nutrition BILD 22. 2006;8:126].

There’s a reason the solution (pun intended) for Level 1 in my 5 Levels of Fatigue system is water! If you’re tired, you should reach for water before you reach for any caffeine. If you’ve already tried that, perhaps a caffeinated hydration beverage will do?

If you’re doing moderately strenuous activity for at least one hour or high-intensity activity for at least thirty minutes, an electrolyte beverage is preferred to plain water. Ironically, the strongest arguments for electrolyte beverages over water have to do with the fact that electrolyte beverages taste better. 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.

Keep in mind Kickstart Hydrating Boost only has 10% juice, and coconut water isn’t even one of the three most prominent ingredients. If you feel Kickstart Hydrating Boost’s coconut water (and caffeine!) gives you energy by keeping you hydrated, I will respect your opinion. Then I will encourage you to drink one glass of water for every can of Kickstart. When the Kickstart can is empty, maybe you should fill it with water and drink it all before you recycle the can.

20161114_224040

 

Vitamins C + E and Fatigue – The Recharge Strategy

Kickstart Recharge aims to give you energy by giving you antioxidants to fight muscle damage. Endurance exercise increases the amount of oxygen we breathe. This increased exposure to oxygen means an increase in free radicals.

“…free radicals can cause damage by joining with other body chemicals and changing their character, sometimes even producing a chain reaction by creating new free radicals that carry on.”
[YouTube video, “Oxygen, Antioxidants, and Free Radicals” watch here]

 

Free radicals are involved in fatigue and damage to muscle cells. Antioxidants like vitamin E attract these free radicals, slowing down the chain reaction and thus limiting the damage. In the process, vitamin E becomes a radical. Vitamin C can restore vitamin E so it can go back to attracting more free radicals. In turn, vitamin C can be restored by niacin (vitamin B3), which is also included in Kickstart Recharge at 60% of the Daily Value.

i-believe

Clinical trials providing antioxidants to treat or prevent various diseases have largely been unsuccessful. But don’t discount the Placebo Effect. If you believe that, for you personally, Kickstart Recharge’s antioxidants (and caffeine!) are giving you energy by limiting muscle fatigue and free radical damage, I won’t debate you.

Bottom Line

If you haven’t already, read the Energy Drink of the Month review for Kickstart Hydrating Boost. That should help you determine whether or not Kickstart is for you. If it is, you can use the power of science to determine whether you like the Hydrating Boost or Recharge fatigue busting strategy better.

Related Posts:

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ENERGY DRINK OF THE MONTH YEAR IN REVIEW (YEAR 1 AND YEAR 2…year 3 coming soon…)

 

 

 

 

Energy Drink of the Month – Nov 2016: Kickstart Hydrating Boost

There are a handful of “energy drinks in disguise” I’d recommend, but Mountain Dew’s Kickstart is not one of them. It’s certainly not the worst energy drink I’ve encountered, and I’m inspired to give it the full review deep dive because of its rising popularity. We’ll review WHO IT’S FOR (ingredient preferences and avoidances), WHAT’S IN IT (key and interesting ingredients), and WHEN TO CONSUME IT (caffeine and the 5 Levels of Fatigue). At that point, you can decide if this drink appeals to you. Read more

Energy Drink (Alternative) of the Month – Sept 2015: Elite Ops Energy Strips

I’ve been reviewing the Energy Drink of the Month for over two years now and each month I’ve appointed a product that beats the stereotype. For the first time, I am compelled by nerdy fascination to nominate something non-liquid for this award.

20150914_133457The Energy Drink (alternative) for the Month of September is EliteOps Energy Strips.

Thus far, only Fierce Arctic Mint flavored strips are available, but this product is brand-new! As of this review, the product is available online, in South Florida, and is scheduled to launch nationally in October 2015.

To truly appreciate this product, let’s review (1) The Brand and Its Values; (2) Who and what this is for and (3) What’s in it.

Read more

Energy Drink of the Month — June 2015: Spider Energy Mimic

I’m a sucker for puns, platitudes, alliterations and bold, symmetrical logos. This month’s pick has it all. Moreover, summer is the best time to try new things, whether it’s exploring a new city or sampling new food. This month’s pick is a drink I wouldn’t normally choose, for reasons I’ll explain later, but I just HAD to try it, for reasons I’ll explain later.

The Energy Drink of the Month for June 2015 is Spider Energy Mimic.

It’s just hitting stores now, June 2015, and a sugar-free version will be released later this year. (Check out this bold label – I can’t wait! I love the graphics!) No, this drink is not called Mimic because it is trying to mimic another energy drink that starts with letter M. If anything, the taste is closer to original Red Bull than original Rockstar or original Monster, but Spider Mimic is more tangy-fruity than either of those.

First, why I just HAD to try this drink:

Green and black is my ultimate favor color combo, and this spider logo brings up some very strong memories of a very important day for me (See box for tangent).

GREEN-EYED INSIGHT on SPIDER ENERGY MIMIC

What’s In It and Why?

This energy drink has no artificial colors or flavors, no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. It is sweetened with sucrose and glucose only, which accounts for its unique tart sweetness. If you are less concerned with overall sugar intake and more concerned about HFCS, and artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners, Spider Energy is more favorable than many other similar energy drinks. (No judgments – we all have different diet goals and needs)

Spider Energy Mimic Fact Panel
Spider Energy Mimic Fact Panel

The B-vitamin complex is represented, but thankfully Spider does not go crazy with the amounts. Yes, B-vitamins are water-soluble but more isn’t always better (I’ve discussed the consequences of too much niacin or vitamin B6 elsewhere).

From a quality assurance/food safety perspective, I’m glad Spider Energy Mimic uses extracts (Panax Ginseng Extract, Guarana Seed Extract, Green Tea Extract). In general, extracts contain more of the active and less of the background (inherent microbial growth and heavy metal content).

I also love that this label opted to include a chart of the actives. That’s a great way to empower your consumers, letting them know exactly what actives are in your product, at what amounts. Speaking of empowering consumers, the details about what all these actives do is captured in the Energy Drink Guide; to avoid repeating myself or minimizing the years of work that went into said guide, I’ll just encourage you to check this guide out. It is the ultimate resource to all things energy drink and caffeine safety.

Who and What is This For?

This whole can provides 55 grams of sugar, which is too much for many people (including myself). There’s an easy way around this, as demonstrated in this video.

This whole can provides 240 milligrams of caffeine so, with the sugar content and carbonation, by the 5 Levels of Fatigue system, this product is a Level 4: a serious boost that’s best reserved for energy emergencies than for everyday consumption. If you’re working two jobs, if you’re pulling all-nighters to move out of your apartment by the deadline, or it’s your turn to stay up all night scouring the city and fighting crime, this drink is appropriate. If you consume this drink multiple times a week you may be getting your body too used to large amounts of caffeine.

NOTE – According to the European Food Safety Authority, a single dose of 200mg caffeine, with a daily maximum dose of up to 400mg caffeine is considered safe. But I personally recommend that caffeine consumers try to get by on as little caffeine as possible, so that when you REALLY need it, the caffeine will be able to do its job. This is what the 5 Levels of Fatigue is all about – finding the drink with the attributes that match how tired you are, preventing over-consumption and dependence.

Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider Energy

Founded in 2009 under The Masters of Beverages, Spider Energy strives to be better than the “Big 3”. With a specific call-out to each on their main page, the main mission of Spider was captured perfectly in the following announcement from BevNet:

http://www.bevnet.com/news/2009/10-19-2009-spider_energy
http://www.bevnet.com/news/2009/10-19-2009-spider_energy

 Bottom Line

Spider Energy Mimic is not for everyone. Energy drinks, in general, are not for everyone, but even this particular energy drink is not for all energy drink consumers. It has a cleaner ingredient line than many of its competitors, so if the sugar is too much for you (and my nifty little trick in the video above doesn’t appeal to you), I HIGHLY recommend seeking the Sugar-Free Mimic, coming soon.

REFERENCES AND RELATED LINKS

Spider Energy Home

From: http://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-content/spider-energy-drink
From: http://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-content/spider-energy-drink

Caffeine Informer on Spider Energy (click the image)

The Energy Drink Guide — your one-stop reference for the common energy drink ingredients: what they are, where they come from, what they (are supposed to) do, and how much is too much