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!!!).
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.
The Energy Drink of the Month for September 2017 is Guru Energy Water.
Guru offers three flavors of Energy Water: grapefruit, lime, and pomegranate. Guru has other energy drinks to offer too, which can all be found at Guru’s Products Page.
Who It’s For: Ingredient Preferences and Phobias
There are so many energy drinks available these days that no one should have to compromise their ingredient preferences and phobias. Not a fan of carnitine? That’s okay. Not sure you trust artificial colors or flavors? That’s fine too! There are plenty of energy drinks on the market to meet all kinds of ingredient combos you may be seeking.
Does Guru Energy Water have the ingredients you’re looking for?
Like with Guru Organic Energy Drink, Guru’s Energy Water is certified-Organic, gluten-free, non-GMO Project Verified, and artificial free. Unlike Guru’s Energy Drink, the Energy Water is Calorie free and sugar-free.
Guru’s Energy Drinks(both regular and Lite) are sweetened with Organic cane syrup, Luo Han Guo, and Stevia, but Guru Energy Wateris sweetened by Stevia and erythritol
X Artificial sweeteners X Artificial flavors X Sugar X Calories X B-vitamins X Stereotypical energy drink ingredients such as taurine, carnitine, glucuronolactone
What’s In It: Key Ingredients and Functions
Guru Energy Waters offer a simple ingredient list: carbonated (or “sparkling”) water, erythritol, flavor, green tea extract (the source of caffeine), juice concentrate, and Stevia. Do you know what these ingredients do?
DID YOU KNOW:
Beverages labeled as containing “sparkling water,” “seltzer water,” “soda water,” “tonic water,” or “club soda” aren’t included as bottled water under FDA’s regulations. These beverages are instead considered to be soft drinks. [Source: Bottled Water Everywhere: Keeping It Safe]
Green Tea Extract
Regardless of whether caffeine comes from green tea extract, coffee beans, or caffeine anhydrous, it works the same way. The difference between getting caffeine from synthetic sources and getting it from natural sources and getting it from synthetic sources is like getting a diamond versus getting a diamond from a Tiffany bag. In other words, you’re not just getting the benefits of the caffeine, you’re getting the benefits of the whole package.
Green tea leaves (the kind in nature, before they’re processed) are rich in a type of antioxidants called polyphenols. One family of these polyphenol antioxidants is the catechins.
Green tea contains six primary catechin compounds: catechin, gallocatechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate (also known as EGCG). EGCG is the most studied polyphenol component in green tea and the most active. [Source: Green Tea, University of Maryland Medical Center]
Drinking an energy drink or energy water made with green tea extract is not the same thing (health benefit-wise) as drinking plain green tea, but when you get your caffeine from green tea extract, you’re getting some of those antioxidants too. Green tea antioxidants have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the leaf of a plant. There is a particular molecule, nicknamed “REB A” that is responsible for the sweetness. This is why you’ll sometimes see brands or ingredient lists that call out REB A specifically – Stevia purity is a big deal.
Finding a high-quality stevia extract is no simple task. Oh sure, we know what molecule is responsible for the sweetness, but isolating that molecule and delivering it is far more complicated than producing table sugar. Sugar is sugar is sugar, right? But water doesn’t always taste the same, even if it’s just water. The same goes for Stevia. In fact, tasting Stevia samples was one of the tasks I dreaded most while I worked as a product developer for a major supplement company. One bad sample, and you’d be experiencing a bitter metallic aftertaste the rest of the day (or week: See “A Food Science Horror Story”).
It turns out that some people are Stevia Super Tasters so they will get a bitter metallic aftertaste with Stevia when many others would taste only sweetness. This bitter metallic aftertaste is why stevia is often paired with another natural sweetener, erythritol.
Erythritol is one of my favorite sweeteners, and we’ve talked about it before in other reviews. Erythritol makes Stevia better when they’re combined. Some people get a bitter-metallic sensation with Stevia extract, but erythritol masks the unfavorable attributes of Stevia. Erythritol is 60-70% as sweet as sucrose and has a very similar taste. It does not raise blood glucose levels and it delivers a cooling effect. While it’s non-caloric like Stevia, it has a molecular size that gives it more mouthfeel. Think fruit juice versus fruit smoothie: the fruit smoothie has a heavier “mouthfeel”.
Erythritol occurs naturally, like monk fruit and Stevia. It’s made through natural fermentation. It’s a sugar-alcohol, like the Xylitol often used in sugar-free gum. With xylitol, however, too much of it can really upset a person’s stomach. With erythritol, a person could consume twice as much – at least 0.66 grams per kilogram of body weight – before they started getting same stomach issues. Additionally, erythritol has been proven through clinical studies to reduce plaque build-up.
Natural Flavors and Juice Concentrates
The natural flavors used in the energy waters match the flavor of the beverage itself. For example, the Pomegranate Energy Water has natural flavor from, you guessed it, pomegranate. The same goes for the Juice Concentrates – the Grapefruit Energy Water features a teeny bit of grapefruit juice concentrate and the Pomegranate Energy Water features pomegranate juice concentrate. The exception is the Lime Energy Water, which has with natural lime flavor but lemon juice concentrate. All flavors and juice concentrates are Organic.
When to Consume: Caffeine Content and Level of Fatigue
This is another energy drink that breaks the stereotype that all energy drinks are dangerous concoctions of caffeine and sugar. However, this energy drink is not “weak sauce”. It has 100 mg of caffeine per can, which is the limit of caffeine consumtpion per day for those under 18 years old. For healthy adults, that limit is 400 mg caffeine per day.
With 100 mg caffeine per can, this product fits FATIGUE LEVEL 2. Fatigue Level 1 is when you’re tired because of dehydration and need (uncaffeinated) water. Fatigue Level 2 is home to several other “energy drinks in disguise”, healthy alternatives that are as strong as an 8-oz Red Bull but seem so much cleaner and healthier.
This doesn’t taste like an energy drink because it’s an energy water. If you’re looking for something with Organic ingredients, low-moderate caffeine levels, light flavor, no Calories, no sugar, no artificial colors or flavors or sweeteners, this is another “energy drink in disguise” you can feel good about drinking.
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.
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?
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.
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 ]
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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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: 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
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
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
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. 🤓💚🔬⛾
✔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
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
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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