Energy Drink of the Month – March 2017: MATI Healthy Energy

This month we examine another energy-drink-in-disguise, the health benefits of the ingredients, and the caffeine comparisons to similar products. This product has one of the simplest ingredient lines I’ve ever seen, and it lives up to the “Healthy Energy” proclaimed on the label. Read more

Energy Drink of the Month – December 2016: Core Organic

How do you describe a beverage that is a hybrid of juice, water, and tea? This month we’ll review a beverage that aims to give you the health benefits of tea, the hydration of water, and the flavor of fruit juice. While the caffeine content is negligible, there is tea in it, and Fatigue Level 1 is dehydration! We’ll review WHO IT’S FOR (per diet/lifestyle and ingredient preferences), WHAT’S IN IT (key ingredients), and WHEN TO CONSUME IT (per caffeine content and the 5 Levels of Fatigue).

*Spoiler Alert* I’ve got three minor Food Scientist pet peeves with this beverage, and I would love to hear your thoughts on these observations.

The Energy Drink (alternative) of the Month is Core Organic Pomegranate Blue Acai.

Other flavors available include Peach Mango, Watermelon Lemonade, Orange Clementine, Coconut Colada, and Orchard Pear. If you’re familiar with my Energy Drink of the Month series, you know I almost always pick the pomegranate blueberry flavors.

WHO IT’S FOR

This Core Organic “fruit infused beverage” is certified Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, low glycemic, and Vegan.

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  • PET PEEVE #1: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
    • Why would any of those be in a fruit-infused beverage? Does anyone else feel like Core Organic is trying to win consumers by tapping into that fad?

This beverage could appeal to you if:

  1. You are limiting your sugar intake and your “liquid calories” – This drink has less than 1 gram of sugar per serving and only 5 Calories per serving (10 Calories per bottle)
  2. You are avoiding artificial sweeteners – This drink is sweetened with Stevia and Organic erythritol (we’ll review this below)
  3. You are avoiding artificial colors and/or flavors – The color comes from Organic vegetable juice and fruit juice, and the flavor comes from a combination of natural flavors
  4. You are not really a tea drinker but still want the benefits of drinking tea – This drink has 75 milligrams of polyphenol antioxidants, which is “the antioxidants of half a cup of blueberries or cherries” according to the press release in BevNET

core-organic-pomegranate-blue-acai-ingredients

WHAT’S IN IT

Fruit Juice

  • PET PEEVE #2: This is a “fruit infused” beverage but the fruit juice doesn’t play a very big role. 

There’s only 4% juice per serving. The FDA does consider coconut water a juice, but since it’s behind erythritol in the ingredient’s list, we know there’s more erythritol than coconut water in this drink.

The Organic lemon juice is behind the Stevia extract, which is very telling! Since Stevia is something you can’t use in large amounts, there can’t be more than one lemon’s worth of lemon juice in here. Since the lemon juice comes before citric acid, it seems both the lemon juice and the citric acid are in this drink to control acidity. If you want to keep mold out of your fruit juices, you have to either control the acidity or use preservatives.

The last two fruit juices are the last two ingredients in the list, meaning they’re the smallest portions of the recipe. There’s fruit juice used for color, and Maqui berry juice powder used to deliver antioxidants.

5-in-1 weight loss supplement combo IS effective, but thanks to WHICH combo?

White Tea, Maqui Berry, and Polyphenol Antioxidants

The good news is consumption of polyphenol antioxidants is associated with improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk of cancer. Consumption of green and white tea is associated with lower risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. The bad news is white tea is such a small portion of this recipe, and Maqui berry is literally the last/most sparse ingredient!

Maqui berry is a “Chilean blackberry”, according to a paper in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. It might have a lot of antioxidants in nature but one paper suggests the juice making process results in a “substantial loss” of the polyphenol antioxidants in Maqui. If you can figure out how to minimize these losses, there are some encouraging (but still uncertain) health benefits. A group of antioxidants called “anthocyanins” extracted from Maqui berry improved fasting blood sugar levels in (wait for it) obese diabetic mice.

“Animal research can be useful, and can predict effects also seen in humans. However, observed effects can also differ, so subsequent human trials are required before a particular effect can be said to be seen in humans. Tests on isolated cells can also produce different results to those in the body.” – see the Compound Interest infographic on Scientific Evidence

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.

Core Organic beverage nutrition facts ingredients caffeine content
Caffeine content is “about the same as a cup of decaf coffee”, so does that mean 45mg? There is no standard for this!

WHEN TO CONSUME

  • PET PEEVE #3: There is no such thing as a standard cup of coffee or cup of tea.
    • It’s not clear how much caffeine is in this product, but we should assume the content is negligible. The white tea is the only source of caffeine, and white tea is not a very prominent ingredient.

Core Organic is not promoting itself as a drink that would give you energy, but since it includes white tea extract, I wish they could include some caffeine information on the label.

Dehydration is Fatigue Level 1, so picking a beverage with negligible caffeine content is a great way to ensure you don’t reach for the caffeine too soon. If you always reach for the same caffeinated beverage, and if caffeine is always your first solution when you’re tired, there will come a day when the caffeine no longer works for you. This is precisely why I developed the 5 Levels of Fatigue!

Bottom Line

This water/juice/tea hybrid is not marketed as an energy drink, but it’s a good solution (pun intended) for beating the fatigue that comes with dehydration. While you will not get the full benefits of drinking plain tea, you still get the benefits of the 75 milligrams of polyphenol antioxidants per serving.

Core Organic main site

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

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Food Scientist, Bulldog Review Rockstar Cucumber Lime [YouTube]

Gjalla (my bulldog) and I created a quick review of Rockstar Cucumber Lime: Who it’s for (target audience), What’s in it (key ingredients), and When (if ever) to consume (5 Levels of Fatigue). Some drinks aren’t worthy of reviewing a la “Energy Drink of the Month”, but are still worth reviewing.

Want more reviews like this? Let me know in the video comment section. 

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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”

 

Energy Drink (alternative) of the Month – May 2016: Beachbody Performance Energize

The Energy Drink (in powder form) of the Month is Beachbody Performance Energize. We discuss its caffeine content and the food science behind its key ingredients. I also discuss why I’ve chosen a powder for the first time in the nearly three years I’ve been doing this series. Follow the “Energy Drink of the Month” series right here on GreenEyedGuide.com
PS- I’m wearing my Invisalign like a good girl. ;D

Links:
OFFICIAL BEACHBODY Video: Dr. Nima discusses the science behind Energize

Confessions of a Shady Supplement Supplier (how to spot red flags and ask the right Qs before you buy supps)

Energy Drink of the Month series

Follow my training for Figure on Instagram

Science Behind Mate Bros Yerba Mate Energy Drink

Mate Bros yerba mate energy drink is no longer manufactured, but it is another example of how not all energy drinks fit the Red Bull stereotype. Still, there’s a lot to learn by looking at the ingredients, especially since there are still plenty of yerba mate energy drinks on the market.

For a more complete list of other Yerba Mate based drinks, check out this blog from Yerba Mate Culture.

Did you know sleep-deprivation makes it harder for us to connect with others? Sleep-deprivation lowers our Emotional Intelligence, meaning we struggle to keep our own emotions in check and struggle to read the emotional cues of other people.

But what if an energy drink could help you connect with others?  It’s this spirit – and the spirit of the holiday season – which inspired this pick for the Energy Drink of the Month review.

The Energy Drink of the Month for December 2015 is Mate Bros Yerba Mate.

mate bros yerba mate energy drink

Mate Bros yerba mate energy drink is another “energy-drink-in-disguise” because it doesn’t fit the energy drink stereotype. To understand all the ways this energy drink is different, let’s explore the ingredients in this “Natural Energy Brew”.

Mate Bros Energy Drink Ingredients

Mate Bros yerba mate energy drink ingredients

This product has only six ingredients. SIX! This is definitely a selling point for people who don’t like the stereotypical energy drink with “chemicals” and unpronounceable ingredients.  Mate Bros energy drink ingredients are water, sugar, lemon juice from concentrate, yerba mate leaf extract, reb A (stevia), and natural flavor.

Let’s take a closer look at these ingredients:

Water

This is a non-carbonated product, which means it’s closer to being a tea than a stereotypical energy drink. The fact it’s non-carbonated also makes it a very low Fatigue Level 2 drink in the 5 Levels of Fatigue system

  • As a reminder, the 5 Levels of Fatigue is a system for finding how much caffeine you need based on how tired you are.

Sugar

Only 6 grams, and just plain sugar, not any of its acronyms.

Lemon Juice from Concentrate

This is the source of the 10% vitamin C and the 8% juice on the facts panel. In this case, lemon juice is not just for flavor, it’s a natural preservative. The acidity of the lemon juice makes it hard for bacteria and mold to grow. Note the absence of any other preservative in the ingredients list. 

 

Caffeine Informer Mate Tea

Yerba Mate Leaf Extract

According to the Mate Bros label, the Yerba Mate inside provides 99 mg caffeine per serving (per can). This is consistent with the content of Mate Tea, according to Caffeine Informer’s massive database (see Caffeine Informer image, above)

    • For more information about where yerba mate comes from and how it differs from other sources of caffeine like green tea and guarana, get your copy of the Energy Drink Guide:
      Energy Drink Book - fan photo Energy Mafia

Reb-A (Stevia)

Stevia is a natural sweetener. The term “Reb A” is the name of the molecule extracted from the leaf of the Stevia plant that delivers the sweetness.

    • Did You Know: Stevia can be tricky for product developers because it’s critical to find a good source. Not all Stevia tastes the same, and a poor quality source may leave some people with Stevia’s characteristic bitter-metallic aftertaste.

Natural Flavor

Since there is no indication on the label what flavor this product is supposed to be, I have no idea what this natural flavor is…maybe lemon?

    • I’m not alone in my confusion: when BevNet reviewed this product, they gave it 3 out of 5 stars and expressed disappointment that there was only one (ambiguous) flavor variety available.

Final Thoughts

With the amount of caffeine in this product and the very simple ingredient list, this is a very nice substitute for a weaker energy drink. Note, Red Bull has 80 mg caffeine per 8 oz can, and this product has 99 mg. What a nice healthy swap, right?


Related Resources:

If you’re interested in yerba mate specifically, you might enjoy these posts by Yerba Mate Culture:


Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about energy drink safety and ingredients – now in paperback, hardcover, eBook, and Audible!

energy drink book on audible