Though some media outlets continue to paint all energy drinks with the same brush, the number of “energy drinks in disguise” is growing. Unless you’re at an airport, it’s getting easier to find an energy drink with less-than-extreme amounts of caffeine, no sugar, and no artificial colors or ingredients. You might even know someone who’s tried to sell you an energy drink that can only be found online [buyer beware].
With the number of energy options increasing, it’s growing more important to learn what distinguishes one energy drink from another. Through every Energy Drink of the Month post, we review the tools you need to consume caffeine safely, and discuss how to tell if an energy drink is right for you — as in YOUR lifestyle and diet goals, and YOUR current energy needs or “Level of Fatigue”.
I am writing this in a car. Seriously. Remember when you were a kid and December meant a few weeks off school? Then you get a job and December means all your weekends are booked. Solid. Of course, your downtime and stress level vary by your religion, the size of your family, the proximity of your home to your work, and other things. It is this crazy level of business that inspired my pick for this month.
The Energy Drink* of the Month for December 2014 is Mio Energy.
*Technically this is not an energy drink, nor is it a shot. Consuming this as-is would be a horrible idea, and is strongly discouraged. Small enough to fit into a purse or a large pocket, this is THE essential holiday tool to help you keep your energy level up through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This portability is why Mio wins December.
5 Fast Facts About Mio Energy
ONE— Mio Energy is only a few ounces more than the most popular energy shot, but instead of 2 servings, you get almost 20. You’re supposed to add it to water, so if you’re smart about your squirts, you can make one Mio container last a whole month (which is exactly how long you’re advised to keep it once it’s been opened).
TWO— Mio Energy features no ordinary caffeine warning label. Like other energy shots and drinks, Mio warns the consumer about using caffeine in moderation and drops the novel idea of talking to a doctor if you’re pregnant. But then Mio goes one step further. I applaud Mio for specifying that the product is not to be combined with alcohol. Combining alcohol and caffeine is another awful idea, and it’s one of the reasons energy drinks get reported as more dangerous than they truly are (See the DAWN Report — Energy Drinks and the ER). It’s also interesting that the Mio warning label specifies “For Adult Use Only” because other energy companies have been accused of marketing to kids and teens. Mio is watching its back. It’s worth noting:
…the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a caffeine limit of 100 milligrams per day for adolescents…Canada’s caffeine recommendations are even more strict: the daily limit is 60 milligrams for 7-9 year olds and 85 milligrams for 10-12 year olds. Health Canada recommended 400 milligrams per day as the maximum dosage considered safe for ages 13 and up. — Excerpt from Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely. (available here)
THREE— Mio doesn’t exactly have a clean label, but what do you expect from something that’s the flavor of “Green Thunder”? Now don’t panic when you read the label. Don’t avoid any ingredients out of fear; get the FACTS first. In Mio Energy’s case, most of the ingredients are either vitamins or extracts associated with ergogenics. It takes a few ingredients to preserve this wonderful caffeine concoction, one or two to make it that gorgeous green color I love so much, and another one or two to keep the whole thing homogenous. Since caffeine, guarana and B-vitamins can taste bitter on their own, it also helps to have a few sweeteners in the mix.
FOUR— Mio means “mine” in Italian and Spanish, and it’s precisely this customization that Mio was intended for. Mio represents innovation, from the name to the size to the method of launching the product. If you’re curious about the behind-the-scenes strategy, I highly recommend this article:
FIVE— Mio is simultaneously one of the safest and most dangerous energy products available. How is this possible? Consumer responsibility. As Caffeine Informer points out, Mio contains 60mg caffeine per 0.5 teaspoon (the recommended dosage), or 1,080mg caffeine per bottle. Some will say, “now who would be silly enough to try to consume the whole container at once?” And yet, I have asked myself that same question about those 20 oz energy drinks, and THERE ARE people who consume that in one sitting. Caffeine safety IS a matter of product design, but it is also a matter of personal responsibility.