Energy Drink of the Month — Sept 2016: Six Star Pre-Workout Explosion

Are you setting new resolutions for a new school year, trying to get used to a new schedule, or just trying to get in shape before the holiday season? This month’s pick is dedicated to September, and all the changes it brings.

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The Energy Drink of the Month for September 2016 is Six Star Pre-Workout Explosion.

One serving is one scoop of powder, delivering 135 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. Though this is a dry powder and not a Ready-To-Drink (RTD), we’ll review the Who, What, and When as we do for every Energy Drink of the Month.

 

Who is this for? Target Audience

As it says right on the label, Six Star Pre-workout Explosion is for active men and women, bodybuilders, and strength athletes. But to find out if this product is worth a try, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you workout for more than 20 minutes? Does your workout exceed the intensity where you find it hard to talk normally / find yourself out of breath?
  • Are you more concerned about limiting sugar and calories than avoiding artificial colors and sweeteners?
  • How much caffeine can you handle?

What is in it? Ingredients and Function

The key ingredients in this product include caffeine (duh), beta-alanine, arginine and citrulline, creatine, vitamin C, and vitamin B3 (niacin).

Caffeine is a stimulant, but it also has been shown to increase muscle endurance and athletic performance in reliable scientific studies. Have you seen my YouTube presentation, Caffeine in Workout Supplements and the 5 Levels of Fatigue yet?

Arginine and citrulline are ingredients we’ve reviewed in depth during for the Ingredient Focus series. In general, citrulline and arginine help the body remove biochemical waste, and they help improve blood flow. For more detail, see the Ingredient Focus three-part series on citrulline: What It Is, What It Does, Dosage and Side Effects.

Creatine and beta-alanine are both ingredients intended to help build muscle and increase muscle strength. In both cases, total doses of 3-6 grams per day are needed on a regular basis to have an effect. Beta-alanine has some fascinating studies behind it (nerd alert!), especially since one brand (CarnoSyn) owns the market and has been responsibly proactive about proving this ingredient’s benefits. In general, beta-alanine is claimed to increase muscle strength and power output. However, the specifics on how much one really needs and how exactly this ingredient works is worth further investigation. Beta-alanine will be our Ingredient Focus pick for this month, so stay tuned for that!

Niacin is like the person everyone wants at their party. Did you know that niacin participates in over 200 reactions in the body – most of them used to produce ATP (the chemical form of energy)? Did you know that niacin deficiency symptoms include the three Ds: dementia, diarrhea, and dermatitis? Niacin is one of my favorite vitamins to talk about, especially since it disproves the idea you can never have too much of a water-soluble vitamin. It’s a popular vitamin in energy drinks, and yet with a 35 mg dosage, some people experience “niacin flush”.

If you’re a nerd like me and you want to learn more about what niacin does and why its story of discovery and application is so interesting, check out 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”

 

When to take it? 5 Levels of Fatigue

During grad school, when I was doing research on energy drinks and their ingredients, I developed the 5 Levels of Fatigue. This system is designed to match the type and potency of caffeinated beverage with one’s true level of fatigue. In short, if you always reach for the strong stuff when you’re bored (not tired), it won’t work when you really truly need it.

This product contains 135 mg caffeine per serving, but the label of this product encourages people to have TWO servings! While the EFSA has ruled that up to 200 mg caffeine is safe to consume in one occasion, TWO servings would be 270 mg caffeine. That’s more than a whole can of Rockstar, more than the EFSA recommends consuming in one sitting, and more than half the safe daily max of 400 mg caffeine per day. According to the 5 Levels of Fatigue, this product is Fatigue Level 4. In short, this Pre-Workout Explosion may be too powerful for some people (and there’s no shame in that!).

While the EFSA has ruled that up to 200 mg caffeine is safe to consume in one occasion, TWO servings would be 270 mg caffeine. That’s more than a whole can of Rockstar, more than the EFSA recommends consuming in one sitting, and more than half the safe daily max of 400 mg caffeine per day.

 

Bottom Line

There’s a good reason Caffeine Informer considers pre-workout supplements one of the 8 Most Dangerous Caffeinated Products.  This is a large dose of caffeine per serving — not larger than what is considered safe in one sitting, but large enough to warrant careful consumption by the user.

I’ve been using this product as my pre-workout for about one month (*individual results may vary*) and I have found I don’t need any other source of caffeine the rest of the day. What helps most is that I add one (non-heaping) scoop to a 20 oz water bottle, and it takes me the full 90 minutes of my morning workout to get through the whole drink. Moderation and pacing are critical to consuming caffeine safely and effectively.

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

Explore the CAFFEINE INFORMER database

Visit the Energy Drink Guide Facebook page (Woo-hoo!!! 100 Likes!)
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Get your copy of “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely”

Confessions of a Shady Supplement Supplier

After reading a research review on the adulteration of dietary supplements, I was inspired to write a confession. I work for a supplement company that gets complaints for being “too diligent” with our auditing and micro testing requirements, but I’ve seen enough to make me think twice about buying supplements online. If this confession makes you angry, remember this is a fake confession. The bad news is some supplement suppliers are ACTUALLY this negligent. The good news is you can spot the shady ones by asking the right questions…let me demonstrate.
Read more

Happy Caffeine Awareness Month! Top 10 ways to improve your caffeine IQ

March is Caffeine Awareness Month, and what better way to celebrate than to revisit some of the most popular caffeine-related GreenEyedGuide posts! Remember that rebuttal to BroBible’s energy drink article or the open letter to Time magazine? How about the three tips for parents or the two Year-In-Review lists of all the “Energy Drink of the Month” winners? Do you remember what happens when energy drinks dress up like workout supplements?
(Click the title to open the article in a new tab)

ONE – BroBible on Energy Drinks — All the Facts They Got Wrong

BroBible may be have expert insights on some matters, but their article on energy drinks proves biology and food science isn’t in their wheelhouse. Here’s the point-counterpoint to all the misleading statements in their article.

BroBible's misleading infographic on energy drink "science"
BroBible’s misleading infographic on energy drink “science”

TWO – Open Letter to Time regarding energy drink article in “The Answer Issue”

As a food scientist who’s studied energy drinks for over 10 years, Ms Sifferlin’s article came across as yet another “all energy drinks are lethal” story. While the article was missing many crucial facts, there were three points in particular that should be part of the conversation.

energy drink spread

THREE – Caffeine in Workout Supplements and the 5 Levels of Fatigue

This presentation covers the effects of caffeine when it’s consumed before, during, or after a workout. We also review how the Five Levels of Fatigue helps people determine which caffeine products (if any) are right for them.

FOUR – Energy Drinks and the ER — perspective

Energy drinks are in the news again, and this time the story is the reported increase in emergency room visits attributed to energy drinks. Are these stats more indicative of consumer misuse or that energy drinks are inherently more dangerous than other caffeinated beverages? Some clues to consider.

FIVE – Friends with the Monster? 3 Crucial Counterpoints to the Energy Drink Debate

As always, my goal is to educate and inform, to provide an alternate perspective to help people look past confusing scientific jargon and learn the tools to making the best choices for their lifestyle. Caffeine is not always the answer but to find the right answers we must ask the right questions.

SIX – Pop Quiz: Test your Caffeine IQ

Do you know the most common energy drink ingredient? (NO – IT’S NOT CAFFEINE!) Test your caffeine IQ with these 5 questions.

 

SEVEN – Kids and Energy Drinks — 3 Things Every Parent Should Know

How concerned do parents need to be about the use of energy drinks in kids and teens? In the Green-Eyed Guide guest blog on The Scientific Parent, we review the three major details often left out of these conversations on caffeine, and how these details can dramatically boost our efforts to keep ourselves and our kids healthy and safe.

Sci Parent

EIGHT – Caffeine Consumption in the USA

A study published in January 2014 involving over 40,000 people defines beverage caffeine intakes in the US, revealing the amounts of caffeine consumed and from what source per age group. As your Green-Eyed Guide, I’m going to explain what it all means.

Used with permission from Caffeine Informer. Source: Caffeine Safe Limits
Used with permission from Caffeine Informer. Source: Caffeine Safe Limits

NINE – Caffeine Consumption in the USA Part II: The Specifics

What can 42,000 people tell us about the caffeine habits of the US population? Plenty, if you look at the right details. Understanding this information is critical to any conversation about caffeine safety.

TEN – Putting Caffeine in Gum is a BAD IDEA, here’s why…

With new caffeinated foods popping up, the FDA is getting more pressure to reevaluate the safety of caffeine, particularly for adolescents. We evaluate the impact of caffeinated gum and why CANADA has the best caffeine regulations.

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ENERGY DRINK OF THE MONTH YEAR IN REVIEW (YEAR 1 AND YEAR 2)

Visit the Energy Drink Guide Facebook page (sooo close to 100 Likes!)
Follow the GreenEyedGuide on Twitter
Follow GreenEyedGuide-the-NPC-Figure-Athlete on Instagram and Tumblr

Get your copy of “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely”

 

Comments on Caffeinated Flour

While I am all for food science innovation, I am extremely cautious to with anything that makes it harder for one to keep track of how much caffeine they’ve consumed. Yes, I know there’s an app for that. But in a world that both loves coffee and loves to talk about the “dangers of energy drinks”, coffee flour warrants some concern.

An article in FWx discusses new caffeinated flour which can provide 100 mg (aka more than an 8 oz Red Bull) per 4 g flour. The innovation implications are enormous, and wonderful — a product developer’s dream come true! For caffeine and carb lovers, this innovation is the greatest thing since sliced bread! HOWEVER, the application can easily cause problems for those who do love all things caffeine (and/or carbs).

What if someone uses the new caffeinated peanut butter on their caffeinated toast? What if they then wash it down with a large cup of coffee or tea (caffeine amounts vary) or even just something made with green tea extract (such as a V8 V-fusion: 80mg caffeine from green tea extract)?

The European Food Safety Authority confirmed that up to 200 mg caffeine can be consumed per sitting, and 400 mg caffeine is the maximum daily dosage that is safe for healthy adults (anyone under 18 should stick to 100 mg, unless you’re Canadian then it’s just anyone under 14). How easy will it be for one too many (caffeinated) bagels or bear-claws to put someone past the point of safe caffeine consumption?

This innovation should be celebrated, with caution. Let us take this opportunity to revisit caffeine safety and how energy drinks aren’t the only “danger” for over-consumption.

~GreenEyedGuide

RELATED READING

EXPLORE THE CAFFEINE INFORMER DATABASE

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Visit the Energy Drink Guide Facebook page (sooo close to 100 Likes!)
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Get your copy of “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely”