Whether it’s in the midst of a busy workday for employees, during a rigorous workout for athletes, or while memorizing copious amounts of study material for students, one feels the increased urge to consume something that provides a boost their energy levels. One such solution for satisfying this urge is energy drinks. Energy drinks, as the name suggests, are beverages containing a high amount of stimulants, mostly caffeine and sugar, and are aimed at improving physical performance and raising mental alertness. The manufacturers of these drinks claim that energy drinks provide an instant zap of energy, which would help them function more efficiently throughout the day.
However, it must be noted that energy drinks are not as same as sports drinks. The latter is used to replenish the body with electrolytes and minerals that are lost after physical activity. Energy drinks affect the central nervous system of the body, allowing it to sustain as long as its effects last. Apart from caffeine and sugar, amino acids and B vitamins are also essential ingredients found in energy drinks. Though these drinks may not necessarily be detrimental to the body, they should not be consumed in excess, as these drinks are not a natural substitute either.
Below is a List of Some of the Most Popular Energy Drinks Consumed:
- Red Bull:
Red Bull is perhaps the most widely consumed energy drink in the world. It is produced by Red Bull GmbH, an Austria-based company. Dietrich Mateschitz, the co-founder of Red Bull GmbH, was inspired to make this drink after coming across Krating Daeng, a popular energy-boosting beverage in Thailand. The primary ingredient used to make the Red Bull energy drink is taurine, an amino acid that was first found in bulls. Apart from taurine, caffeine, B vitamins, and sugar are the key ingredients used for producing this beverage. One can of Red Bull (approx. 258 g) typically contains 117 calories, 98 mg sodium, 28 g of total carbohydrates, and 77.4 mg caffeine, with 250% vitamin B-6.
Makers of Red Bull claim that the beverage vitalizes the body and mind. A study conducted even showed that the consumption of this drink improves certain aspects of cognition. It was found helpful for drivers during long journeys counteracting sleep. Red Bull is available in many variants, such as Red Bull Sugar-free, Red Bull Zero Calories, and Red Bull Cola.
- Monster Energy:
Monster Energy is an energy drink produced by Monster Beverage Corp., a well-known manufacturer, and distributor of a wide range of energy drinks. The company, formerly known as Hansen’s, launched Monster Energy in 2002. The sales of the drink skyrocketed, with Hansen’s witnessing a jump in revenue, from the US $50 billion in 2003 to the US $1.7 billion in the year 2011. This growth was attributed to the increasing sales of Monster Energy, following which, Hansen’s was renamed as Monster Beverage Corp. Monster Energy comes a close second to Red Bull, considering the sales of the energy drink.
Taurine, caffeine, sodium citrate, Panax ginseng root extract, L-tartarate, L-carnitine, and guarana seed extract, among others, are some of the key ingredients used to produce Monster Energy. One serving of the beverage (approx. 240 g) contains 101 calories, 180 mg sodium, 27 g total carbohydrates, and 86.4 mg caffeine, with 100% vitamin B-6. There are two variants of the drink: Monster Energy and Monster Energy Ultra.
Rockstar is a beverage produced by the US-based privately held firm Rockstar, Inc. It was marketed as a drink preferred mostly by rock stars, hence the name. The company was the first of its kind to introduce its products in 16- and 24-ounce can sizes. Following Red Bull and Monster Energy, Rockstar is the third widest-consumed energy drink. The Rockstar product line contains over 20 different flavors, some of which are Rockstar Original, Rockstar Sugar-free, Rockstar Pure Zero, Rockstar XDurance, Rockstar Recovery, Rockstar Hardcore, Rockstar Organic, and Rockstar Boom.
Caffeine, Carbonated Water, Taurine, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sorbic Acid, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, and L-Carnitine, are some of the essential ingredients used to produce the Rockstar energy drink. The company removed sodium benzoate from its ingredients list when it was found that the substance was potentially harmful. Milk thistle was later added to the list, which is claimed to ease hangovers. One can (approx. 480 g) of Rockstar energy drink contains 278 calories, 77 mg sodium, and 61 g of total carbohydrates.
- Eastroc Super Drink:
Eastroc Super Drink is the brainchild of the China-based Shenzhen Eastroc Beverage Co., Ltd. It is the third-highest-selling energy drink in the country. Shenzhen is the first company in China’s energy drinks market that introduced functional beverages in its product portfolio. The drink has received approval from China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission for being safe for consumption. Eastroc Super Drink is made of taurine, sugar, caffeine, lysine, malic acid, and inositol, among others.
Lucozade is a popular energy drink manufactured by Japan’s Suntory Holdings Limited. The brand was originally developed in the UK by pharmacist William Walker Hunter. The product was earlier advertised as ‘Lucozade Aids Recovery,’ as it was given to children who fell sick. The glucose-water solution was later rebranded as a pick-me-up product. The product is known for its slight citric taste and is now available in a variety of flavors. The citric taste of the product is attributable to the high percentage of Vitamin C contained in it. One can of Lucozade (approx. 330 g) contains 198 calories, 58 g of total carbohydrates and 37 g of sugar. It has 26.4mg of vitamin C.
- Zipfizz Energy Drink:
Zipfizz is an energy drink manufactured by a company by the same name. The Zipfizz drink-mix is made of a botanical antioxidant blend, that consists of green coffee bean extract, green tea leaf extract, grape seed extract, B-group vitamins, Vitamin C & E, and electrolytes. One serving of the drink mix contains 10 calories, 100 mg caffeine, and zero sugar. The manufacturers of Zipfizz set out to develop a simple, healthy energy drink formula, which led to them creating Zipfizz. The brand is widely available both in stores and online.
- 5-hour ENERGY:
5-hour ENERGY is manufactured by Michigan-based Living Essentials, which produces and distributes energy drinks and health products. The drink is made of taurine, malic acid, glucuronic acid, L-phenylalanine, L-tyrosine, caffeine, citicoline, Niacin, and folic acid, among others. One serving of 5-hour ENERGY has 4 calories, 200 mg caffeine, and zero sugar. The most striking feature of this product is it does not taste like a typical energy drink and is an excellent option for those who are averse to the characteristic taste of energy drinks.
- CytoSport Fast Twitch RTD:
Manufactured by CytoSport, the American sports-related nutritional product manufacturer, the Fast Twitch RTD is a favorite of gym-goers and weightlifters. Taurine and glucuronolactone are the primary ingredients of this product. It also contains glycocyamine, L-arginine and L-citrulline as well as, vitamins C, E, B-6, B-12, and sodium. One serving of Fast Twitch RTD contains 200 mg caffeine and less than 1 g of total carbohydrates. The CytoSport Fast Twitch RTD is sugar-free.
The effects on the body due to the consumption of energy drinks differ from person to person. Therefore, it is best advised that these drinks are consumed in moderation. One of the significant benefits offered by energy drinks is the standardized caffeine content. The amount of caffeine in tea and coffee varies significantly; however, with energy drinks, there is a specific amount of the stimulant contained, which is helpful for those trying to wean-off their caffeine dependence. Besides, tea or coffee may not be suited to everyone’s taste buds. So, energy drinks are a great option for those wanting to get their caffeine dose without having to consume coffee or tea, as they are available in a variety of flavors.
Energy drinks fall in the category of RTDs; they do not have to be heated or brewed and are thus a convenient option. The fact that these beverages are served cold, leaves a refreshing effect on the consumers and makes energy drinks more appealing to consume than other caffeinated beverages. The caffeine and carbohydrates content in energy drinks aid faster recovery from exercise, and hence, are a preferred choice of athletes. The good news is, there are even zero-calorie energy drinks available in the market. This is beneficial as one can get their desired caffeine intake without consuming sugar and calories.