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.
The world of energy drinks is vast, and there isn’t enough time to give every drink the full “Energy Drink of the Month” deep dive review. In my attempt to guide my fans through this world of energy drinks, I like to share the science behind the various caffeinated beverages I come across in my travels.
The Science Behind Bang Energy
THIS DRINK IS A PARADOX!!! The caffeine content means you should not have this every day, but the ingredients suggest this drink is trying to be an everyday workout supplement. Read more
In August 2013 a book I’d been working on for 10 years was finally published! Now, August 2017, it’s available as an audiobook! My only regret is it took me so long to save enough to make this happen – I’m guessing if you’re busy enough to need caffeine, you’re busy enough to prefer an audiobook over the real thing.
Since I first started studying biochemistry and energy drinks in 2003, my biggest goal has been to help people consume caffeine safely.
Here’s how you can listen for free and help me promote “my baby”:
STEP ZERO: Make sure you’re not signed in to Amazon or Audible. If you already have an Audible account, skip to the bottom for Step Three.
STEP ONE: Visit this link and get a 30-day trial of Audible along with my book:
You should see a page that looks like this:
STEP TWO: Click “Sign Up Today & Save” and complete the check-out process
If you already have an Audible Account:
STEP THREE: You can use this link to find my book:
That’s it! That’s all! In just a few steps you’ve helped me and put the ultimate guide to the science of energy drinks in your hands (or, ears, I suppose).
Thank you for helping me share this book. Special thanks to Agent Smith of the Double Cross Committee for bringing my baby to life and for literally giving a voice to all my cheesy puns throughout the book.
Related Posts for the Energy Drink Guide:
- ARE YOU A MONSTER OR A ROCK STAR: a guide to energy drinks – NOW AVAILABLE in paperback
- My Baby: Now available on Amazon and B&N!
- Celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of the Energy Drink Guide
- Energy Drink Guide Audiobook Sneak Peak for GreenEyedGuide Patreon Supporters
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.
Subscribe to GreenEyedGuide on WordPress, Instagram, and Facebook to see more of these “Science Of” quick reviews!
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