In October 2017 a news story surfaced that a man suffered a severe brain injury because of excessive consumption of energy drinks. Biochemist and Energy Drink Guide author GreenEyedGuide explains what consumers should take away from this news story.
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: Bai Sparkling Antioxidant Infusion, Cocaine Energy, and Monster Ultra Violet.
Bai Sparkling Antioxidant Infusion
Caffeine Content 45 mg per can = FATIGUE LEVEL 2
The Science Behind BAI Sparkling Antioxidant Infusion: A healthy (weak) energy drink! I LOVE how they have the caffeine content, not JUST the “like a cup of green tea”, which can be ambiguous/misleading for some consumers. (not all green tea has the same content).
I also LOVE the stated amount of polyphenol antioxidants. I did my master’s thesis on polyphenols and THE MORE YOU CAN CONSUME, THE BETTER! (Note: Benefits are generic, like reduced risk of cancer)
Finally, the caffeine comes from COFFEE FRUIT EXTRACT. Not coffee beans, the whole fruit/pulp surrounding the coffee bean. DYK this fruit pulp USED TO BE considered food waste until one day someone realized a way to extract valuable nutrients from it?
*READ “Coffeefruit extract – a food waste triumph” here: Energy Drink of the Month – Feb 2016: Bai Antioxidant Infusion
In terms of caffeine content, this is WEAK SAUCE! One step up from plain water, #FatigueLevel2. It’s HALF a RED BULL but hey, that might be EXACTLY what you need sometimes, just a lil’ boost from a “clean” and natural source.
NATURAL sweeteners (stevia & erythritol), NATURAL flavors (plus the lil’ bit of juice), NATURAL color (but it’s in a dark can so not sure why there needs to be any color). NATURAL(ly occurring) preservatives and acidulants (acidity controllers) malic acid, citric acid, sodium citrate.
Cocaine Energy Drink
Caffeine Content 280 mg caffeine = FATIGUE LEVEL 4
These pictures were sent to me to review. Not wild about the name of the drink but it’s not the worst energy drink I’ve come across.
✔280mg Caffeine per container is MORE THAN a can of ROCKSTAR and MORE THAN the 200mg limit per occasion recommended by the EFSA and other regulatory bodies. 👎 At least it is LESS THAN the 400mg caffeine/day limit 👍
✔18mg sugar is not great but it is LESS THAN the 36g limit and 25g limit for added sugars for men and women, respectively, from the American Heart Association
✔Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative that fights yeast and mold in acidic beverages (pH<4). Not sure where the “damages cells” fear-mongering comes from. Adults can eat 5mg PER KG OF BODYWEIGHT of sodium benzoate and be fine. [See my “Panera KNOW-No List for more: http://bit.ly/2hcPw23 ]
Monster Ultra Violet (“Monster Purple”)
Caffeine Content 160 mg per can = FATIGUE LEVEL 3
What do TAURINE & CARNITINE DO? Science Behind Monster Purple (Ultra Violet)
✔ Taurine is a 🚕Taxi Cab🚕
✔CARNITINE a doorman,
✔taurine & carnitine are in an “ENERGY BLEND” and
✔how much caffeine is in Monster (relative to safety limits for caffeine ingestion).
Click HERE to learn more about how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue.
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Turns out not a lot of college students in Quebec drink energy drinks, but watch out for how the news will spin concern about those who do.
Here’s the journal article (via capture because there’s no link to read the full thing):
This study involves over TEN THOUSAND college students across THIRTY-SIX different public colleges in Quebec.
Out of the 10,283 people who participated in the survey, only ~9.1% reported consuming an energy drink at least once a week in the previous month.
This means 9,348 out of 10,283 college students surveyed do not have an energy drink every week (like, zero energy drinks at all? For the whole week? In college?)
SPIN – ALERT
Because this is college, the study also looked at alcohol consumption and use of cannabis, glues/solvents, and amphetamines.
FACT – Mixing energy drinks and alcohol is a baaaaaaaaadddd idea. This study properly suggests that combination of alcohol and energy drinks poses a risk for serious adverse effects.
FALSE – Any statements like “college students who use energy drinks are more likely to abuse psychoactive substances…more likely to demonstrate excessive use of alcohol”
Approximately 1-in-4 people (247 out of 935, ~26%) who said they drink at least one energy drink said they also use psychoactive substances. This finding is not proof that energy drinks were a gateway to psychoactive substances for these people. How many people use psychoactive substances but not energy drinks?
There were even fewer people who reported consuming alcohol-energy drink combos (109 out of 935 people. 1.1%).
That means I have at least 109 more people to convince that this combo is a waste of booze (because you won’t feel it/can’t enjoy it) and a dangerous idea (because you won’t feel drunk, but you ARE in fact impaired).
The journal article conclusion reads
“A majority of respondents are not heavy users of ED (energy drinks), AED (alcohol+energy drinks), or ED with drugs.”
Can we just stop there and celebrate that for a minute before we give fodder to the “Energy Drinks are Poison” camp?
“Yet, the profiles of ED consumption potentially harmful to health that characterize some participants indicate that the potential health consequences of such behaviour are of concern.”
I am worried this last line will get translated as, “some participants who consume energy drinks exhibit behavior that is potentially harmful to health, so we should probably be worried about all energy drink consumers.”
WATCH OUT FOR SPINS!!!
- Science of Energy Drinks: Facebook.com/energydrinkguide
- Fitness + Caffeine: Facebook.com/greeneyedguide
- Energy Drinks + Fitness/Bodybuilding: Instagram
- 10 Second Label Reviews (and a few nerdy food scientist rants): Twitter
The following is a guest post written by Bruce C. McAlister and edited by GreenEyedGuide. As a writer, Bruce shares the different options writers have when they need an energy boost, and highlights some of the benefits of energy drinks.
Do writers need energy? Even if a writer is just sitting and typing most of the time, writing requires mental alertness and concentration. Just like any other person, writers need nourishment. However, with certain pressures, deadlines, and all-nighters, writers sometimes need an energy boost to keep them going. Since writers sit most of the time, eating more food is not such a sound option because they would most likely eat too much.
In effect, some writers rely on an energy boost from beverages, but they do not need to limit themselves to drinking coffee. There are several options to choose from. Consuming energy drink is one option, and there are a number of benefits that can help writers maintain the energy and focus they need while writing.
Energy Boosting Drinks for Writers:
This option is obvious. The caffeine in coffee helps improve focus, which is exactly what writers need. Plus, many people love coffee for its taste alone.
Writers need to stay hydrated. There are times when writers are in the zone and they don’t have the urge to get up and grab something to eat. At minimum, they should remember to drink some water. Dehydration can cause tiredness and loss of concentration.
- Green Tea
A cup of tea has less caffeine than a cup of coffee, but this is still enough caffeine for a boost of energy to help writers continue working on their composition. Tea also has antioxidants which provide several health benefits. Moreover, the boost from tea is less likely to cause the jitters than the boost from coffee.
- Orange Juice
According to health experts, flavonoids from fruits help pump-up the blood flow in the brain. This applies to flavonoids in orange juice as well. In effect, orange juice can increase mental energy needed to write.
- Yerba Mate Tea
This is a popular tea drink in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. The beverage is concocted from the leaves of the yerba mate plant. It contains more caffeine than most tea variants. Additionally, it has B-vitamins, antioxidants, magnesium, and potassium. It enhances clarity, focus, and mental energy without the headaches and jitters that result from other caffeinated drinks.
- Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are not just supplements for extreme athletes. Energy drinks are also popular among students looking to boost their brain power when studying for exams. Writers can also benefit from energy drinks.
Benefits of Energy Drinks for Writers
- Energy and Focus
Energy drinks make people feel more energetic, alert, awake, enthusiastic, and productive. Thanks to the caffeine content, this can help writers stay focused on their writing. With improved focus, some writers might feel energy drinks help them think more quickly.
- Standardized Caffeine Content
While the caffeine content of coffee and tea can vary drastically, caffeine from energy drinks is standardized and is normally declared on the label. Caffeine content in tea and coffee varies by brewing method, the quality of the beans and leaves used, and other factors. However, energy drinks have standardized recipes so the caffeine content in a bottle or can stays consistent. With this consistency, writers can determine exactly how much caffeine they will ingest. As a result, they can then manage their intake more accurately, and avoid the negative effects of consuming too much caffeine.
Most energy drinks are served cold so it’s so possible to consume them more quickly than a cup of tea or coffee. While it is never recommended to “chug” an energy drink, the cold temperature can offer convenience for people who don’t have the time to prepare coffee or tea. Basically, energy drinks are ready to drink – no need to boil, heat, or brew.
- Flavor Variety
Energy drinks have a wide array of flavors to choose from. When writers start getting bored with the taste of tea or coffee, there are several flavor options from the wide variety of energy drinks. There are energy drinks that taste like soda, some that taste like coffee, some that taste like fruit juice, and some that taste unique.
- Additional Nutrients
Other than caffeine, energy drinks have additional nutrients that can help writers improve their writing game. These nutrients include B-vitamins, taurine, glucuronolactone, and ginseng. These nutrients come with their own benefits which can help writers get through all-nighters.
- Invigorating Taste
Many energy drinks are served cold and carbonated. Carbonation helps some people feel instant refreshment. On a hot day, some people will find a cold, carbonated energy drinks easier to consume than hot coffee mixed with milk or dairy.
- Calorie Free
For people trying to control their Calorie or Sugar intake, there are many Zero Calorie and Sugar-free energy drink options. For some people, these options might be more appealing than consuming coffee without cream and sugar.
Writers have several options to boost their energy when they write. These beverages should be consumed in moderation since too much caffeine can be harmful. Writers should try these beverages when they find themselves struggling to stay focused, staring into nothingness, or consistently yawning. If you are a writer and find yourself struggling to finish your composition, which of these beverages will you choose?
Bruce C. McAlister is one of the proponents of http://getessaynow.com/ . He is also a successful writer, social media strategist, and entrepreneur working as the marketing arm for their business. Bruce travels to help stop world hunger. He believes that 90% of world issues can be solved using proper communication. This is what inspires him to write.
Review the entire ENERGY DRINK OF THE MONTH SERIES
- Get your copy of 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”
- HELP ME TURN MY BOOK INTO AN AUDIO BOOK – SUPPORT ME ON PATREON
- Explore the CAFFEINE INFORMER database
- Need help with quitting caffeine? I HIGHLY recommend this guide: Awake: How to Quit from Caffeine for Good
For Day 6 of the GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge we talk about FATIGUE LEVEL 4 (out of 5) aka ENERGY EMERGENCIES! What happens when you reach Fatigue Level 4 and what kinds of energy drinks/caffeinated beverages should you use?
***PLAY ALONG – show me your FAVORITE FATIGUE LEVEL 4 drinks on Instagram/ Facebook/Twitter and tag @GreenEyedGuide, or add your pictures to the Caffeine Challenge Event page at Facebook.com/GreenEyedGuide/events
Through this challenge, you’ll learn how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue to reap the benefits of caffeine while avoiding addiction, dependence, tolerance, and toxicity.
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