Should you be afraid of this Monster Energy Drink? Science and Safety Behind Caffe Monster Energy Coffee

Monster Energy hit US markets in 2002 and helped establish the energy drink stereotype: “energy drinks are dangerous concoctions with high amounts of caffeine and sugar”. It’s hard to deny this stereotype is still applicable, however, there are a growing number of caffeinated beverages which don’t fit this mold. What happens when one of the energy drink companies responsible for the Energy Drink Boom comes out with one of these not-quite-an-energy-drink alternatives?

I declared myself a biochemistry/chemistry major in 2003 – right at the beginning of the Energy Drink Boom. Fascinated by these drinks and all the fears surrounding their use, I’ve applied my education (and basically all my free time) toward understanding the science behind energy drinks and their ingredients. After 10+ years in this field, I believe parents have a right to be concerned about energy drinks, but that concern needs the right context to do anybody any good. How concerned should we be about the safety of Caffe Monster Energy Coffee?

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Science Behind Xyience Energy Drink

The world of energy drinks is vast, and there isn’t enough time to give every drink the full “Energy Drink of the Month” deep dive review. In my attempt to guide my fans through this world of energy drinks, I like to share the science behind the various caffeinated beverages I come across in my travels.

On a request from one of my fans via Instagram, here is the Science Behind Xyience!

Photo Editor-20171129_141330

Caffeine

Caffeine comes from plain caffeine and from guarana seed extract. There’s 176 mg caffeine per can (88 mg per serving and 2 servings per container). According to Caffeine Informer, Xyience used to be 200 mg per can. Either way, it’s Fatigue Level 3.

Key Ingredients

This drink contains B-vitamins, and some stereotypical energy drink ingredients including guarana, glucuronolactone, taurine, ginseng root extract, and inositol.

  • Glucuronolactone might feed one reaction that helps the body generate energy, but glucuronolactone has to go through some small transformations first, and this reaction (the Pentose Phosphate Pathway) isn’t a major reaction, energy wise
  • Taurine is a taxi cab that helps shuttle water-hating fat molecules to the place they need to be metabolized
  • Ginseng is supposed to help with stress but a systematic review of almost 500 studies involving Panax Ginseng found the only benefit was for glucose metabolism in animal models
  • Inositol helps with insomnia…(kind of ironic, right?)
  • B-Vitamins include 100% of niacin (my favorite vitamin), 250% of B6, 80% of B12, and 500% (why?) of Pantothenic Acid
    • Niacin is part of over 200 reactions in the body, most of them involving the production of ENERGY.
    • B6 helps our bodies make those non-essential amino acids and also helps us maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
    • B12 helps our bodies make healthy red blood cells
    • B5 helps with the metabolism of carbs, fat, and protein, but there’s so much of it in every food group no one needs a B5 supplement (in my opinion)

Other Notes

Preservatives in this drink include potassium sorbate, potassium benzoate, and sodium citrate.

  • Potassium sorbate – this anti-microbial preservative prevents yeast and mold growth in sodas and other foods. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) rates this as safe. If the CSPI, who has a reputation for fear-mongering and chemophobia, rates this safe, you should definitely feel at ease. [See Panera KNOW-No Project Part IV]
  • Sodium Benzoate – Did you know that benzoate salts like this one prevent the growth of microorganisms like yeast and mold? Benzoate salts are often used with other preservatives especially at low pH (acidic food). People can ingest up to 5mg per kg of body weight of benzoic acid and its salts according to European Commission – Scientific Committee on Food. 
  • Sodium Citrate and Citric Acid – both are abundant naturally in citrus fruits and are used in beverages to help control the pH.

Fruit and vegetable juice is used for color, but this drink has artificial sweeteners Ace-K and Sucralose. But there are only 2 grams of carbs (from the juice, most likely) and zero Calories, zero grams of sugar.

What drink should I review next?

You can find more about the science behind energy drink ingredients here at GreenEyedGuide.com 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!

Bai Sparkling, Cocaine Energy, and Monster Ultra Violet: July Recap of Quick Reviews – Science of Energy Drinks

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.

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