10 Energy Drinks That Won’t Hurt Blood Vessels

A study presented at the November 2018 American Heart Association conference claimed, “Just one energy drink may hurt blood vessel function.” It’s been a few months since the last “energy drinks are killing people” freak out, so I suppose we were due.  Instead of pointing out all the limitations in the study (because this Healthline article beat me to it and did a great job) I’m going to skip the science for today and just talk about the 10 energy drinks that will not hurt your blood vessels.

Wait, what? Don’t ALL energy drinks hurt your blood vessels?

Yes and no: Some would argue the drinks I’m going to list below aren’t really “energy drinks”. And that’s true – they are not the stereotypical energy drink, but they are caffeinated beverages intended to give the drinker energy. If you want to call them “caffeinated beverages” instead of “energy drinks”, I don’t care.

To me, the larger problem is that these kinds of drinks are always omitted from the “energy drinks are dangerous concoctions of high caffeine and sugar” stories. While there are indeed QUITE A FEW energy drinks with high amounts of caffeine and sugar, there has also been a huge wave of energy drinks that don’t match the stereotype.

Too often, research studies and news stories only address the worst without acknowledging how wonderful it is we have more options than Red Bull, Monster, and their copycats. We’ve come SO FAR in the energy drink world since 2003…I sure wish more people would act like it.

Moving on…

AHA News Brief - Just one energy drink may hurt blood vessel function
Source: https://newsroom.heart.org/news/just-one-energy-drink-may-hurt-blood-vessel-function

Just one energy drink may hurt blood vessel function if…

In the study presented at the AHA conference, the energy drink used was (take note!) 24-ounces. There’s no information about what ingredients were in this giant energy drink, but the authors note the following:

Higgins and colleagues believe that the negative effect may be related to the combination of ingredients in the energy drink, such as caffeine, taurine, sugar and other herbals on the endothelium (lining of the blood vessels). – AHA Meeting News Brief

How much caffeine? They don’t say.

How much sugar? They don’t say.

What kind of “herbals”? They don’t say.

Thanks, super helpful!

I’m sure this information will be included in the poster, itself, or if/when this study gets published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. However, I’m going to get all high-and-mighty and say it’s pretty irresponsible to omit this information from the press release knowing the headline “energy drinks hurt blood vessels” is going to be picked up by several major news outlets.

(Try it: Google “energy drinks” and “blood vessels” and look at how much Click-Bait comes up)

To me, omitting the specifics of the energy drink when suggesting it causes harm is like saying, “Just one vegetable may give you E coli.” This information is not helpful, it just causes fear. Up your game, would you please?

These are all energy drinks

Okay, so what caffeine CAN I drink?

Since we already know we’re not supposed to have more than 200 mg caffeine at one time (thank you European Food Safety Authority!), all we have to do is find a caffeinated beverage without this “dangerous” combination of caffeine, taurine, sugar, and so-called “other herbals”.

…also, it would help if the energy drink was NOT in a giant-a$$ 24-ounce can. Gee, I wish there were more energy drinks that came in 8.4- or 16-ounce cans…

The following caffeinated beverages are low-sugar or sugar-free, taurine-free, herbal-free, and have less than 200 mg caffeine per serving. They are alphabetized to avoid indication of my favorites (it’d be like picking a favorite puppy)

  1. Avitae Caffeinated Water
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  2. Bai Antioxidant Infusion (yes, this has caffeine!)
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [Caffeine Informer]
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
    (and why not Bang Energy)
  4. Clean Energy Organics
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer-N/A]
  5. Hydrive
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  6. Main Squeeze
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [Caffeine Informer-N/A]
  7. Mati
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  8. Mio Energy
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  9. Steaz Iced Green Tea
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  10. V8 Energy
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  11. BONUS!!! Elite Ops Energy Strips (Not an energy drink but an energy strip)
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer-N/A]

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Book GreenEyedGuide as a guest speaker here


I’ve researched the science and safety behind energy drinks and their ingredients since 2003. This book is the culmination of my research:

Explore the CAFFEINE INFORMER database

Need help with quitting caffeine?


Energy Drink of the Month – Oct 2017: Clean Energy Organics

Following your passion requires vision, commitment, persistence, and long hours. October challenges your vision and commitment because it brings shorter days, midterms,  the distractions of a looming Holiday Season, and the time crunch to meet End of the Year company objectives. This month, we review an energy drink-in-disguise designed to “complement your work hard/play hard lifestyle” with green coffee beans, monk fruit, erythritol, and coconut water. Read more

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!

Energy Drink of the Month – September 2017: Guru Energy Water

The year I started college, Monster and Rockstar were just hitting US markets. Welcome to September 2017, where Red Bull is older than the people entering college this fall. Whether you’re a student, a parent of school-age kids, or an adult savoring the last days of summer, September can bring changes that drain your energy. It’s a great time to consider a new energy drink, but one that won’t blow your summer body, one that keeps you hydrated and refreshed through the summer heat, and one that isn’t too strong. After all, you want to save those strong energy drinks for finals week and Black Friday shopping. Read more

Consumption of Energy Drinks Among College Students in Quebec – Energy Drinks in the News (SPIN ALERT)

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):

source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28252368
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28252368


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?)



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.”




Let’s connect!