Energy drinks have come a long way in the last decade, and there doesn’t seem to be any slowdown in consumer demand. They fit nicely into our modern lifestyle, and play into the consensus that you only live once, so push it to the max. They may seem relatively harmless, but as more and more people are discovering, they aren’t without their share of risks. So which ones make the grade, and which ones should you avoid?
Perhaps one of the first energy drinks to come out was Gatorade. This is a beverage that was specifically designed to replace lost electrolytes keep football players hydrated and able to keep playing. But Red Bull has to be credited for breaking the doors open to a whole new industry of beverages. Many companies soon followed suit and now there are a plethora of energy drink options to choose from.
So Many Energy Drinks, So Little Time
As more and more brands enter the arena is becoming increasingly difficult to choose from among the many different drinks available. They all have expertly designed packaging and clever gimmicks designed to make themselves look like the right choice, and many of them are so similar they are basically carbon copies of one another. This can make it hard to choose among them, especially since they cost more than your typical cola or other soft drink. It’s important to choose correctly so you spend your money wisely.
Product Review Recaps
We’ve broken down some of the top selling energy drinks currently on the market and try to help you determine whether to buy them or not. Of course we took into consideration the three most important factors that go into the decision, the taste, the kick, and the price. All of those combine for a pretty good idea of the value that each brand brings to the table.
Radioactive Energy’s claim to fame is the glow. It’s not only in their slogan of ‘Catch the Glow’ but also in the fact that their can glows, as well as the drink. The can glows in the dark and under a black light, and the drink glows just under a black light. This makes it a lot of fun at the club, and is definitely an attention getter and conversation starter.
But how about the taste and the kick it gives you? Today’s energy drinks are all about how well they taste, and how much energy they provide. If Radioactive wants to compete in the market, they have to step up and provide a good experience.
See our full review of Radioactive
Go Girl Recap
Go Girl is definitely geared towards the women out there, right down to their philanthropic pursuits. They have donned the can in hot pink, and they’ve made it sugar free and low carbs for those watching their girlish figure. They give a portion of the profits to help fight breast cancer.
This is definitely not your typical energy drink, or your typical energy drink company. It’s bringing a bit of the warm fuzzies that’s missing in an otherwise testosterone ridden industry. We say bravo, but how does it measure up as far as taste and punch go?
See our full review of Go Girl
Rip It Recap
Rip It is produced by the same company that owns Faygo and Shasta, and they’ve positioned themselves as the energy drink to choose when you don’t want to break the budget. They clock in at about half the price of the major brands, and have a product line the size of the major soft drink brands.
But price is just one factor, and people are willing to pay more for something that tastes better and gives them the energy they’re craving. So how does Rip It deliver when it comes to a nice taste and powerful energy boost?
See our full review of Rip It
Rockstar hails from Vegas of all places, and it just makes sense. They are trying to cater to those that want the rockstar lifestyle, or at least the feeling of it before they have to go back to their office job on Monday. It is the third biggest energy drink by market share, and is giving Monster a run for their money.
They have a rather extensive offering of different types of drinks, and cater to pretty much every taste and desire, like no carbs, no sugar, or a fruit juice mix. See what else we uncovered on them.
See our full review of Rockstar
Monster was the first company to give Red Bull a run for its money. They’re currently the second biggest seller of energy drinks in the USA, and have a much broader product line than Red Bull does. They were the first to start offering many different styles of the same original blend. They responded to consumer requests for sugar-free and zero carb varieties. Plus they were the first to start mixing their original blend with fruit juices.
But being an innovator does not mean you’re better than the brand that started it all. See how Monster stacks up to its rivals.
See our full review of Monster
Red Bull Recap
Red Bull actually got its start in Thailand under a different name, and the current owner saw it in his travels and decided to bring it to the west in collaboration with the Thai owner. The two are now billionaires, with the Thai owner being the richest man in Thailand. Talk about creating a new industry.
Red Bull has stayed pretty much the same over the years, only offering a few different spin offs, and then only because other brands like Monster started to. See if their drink really packs the punch that got it so famous.
See our full review of Red Bull
Five Hour Energy Recap
Five Hour Energy was the first drink to provide an alternative to Red Bull, and addressed nearly all of the problems people had with it. First, it wasn’t as big, so you didn’t have to commit to drinking all that caffeine. Next, it doesn’t have any sugar or carbs, so it is not going to make you fat. But the biggest thing is that it was supposed to keep you cruising for 5 hours with no crash at the end.
People were complaining because the other energy drinks would cause a severe crash when they wore out, giving you far less energy than when you started. This promise alone was enough to make a lot of people try it out. See what they think!
See our full review of Five Hour Energy
The Side Effects
Everything about an energy drink is a side effect, even the feeling of having energy. The more adverse side effects are caused by the caffeine content and include the jitters, feeling nervous, feeling nauseous, and being irritable. You can also have one or several allergic reactions which could include having trouble breathing, unexplained itchy feeling, rashes, hives, feeling tight in the chest, having a hard time breathing, and more. They don’t mess around with the level of stimulants, as they are catering to their core market.
Energy Drinks and Alcohol
Many people have gotten into the habit of mixing alcohol with energy drinks. It didn’t take a genius to realize that the two would make a good pair, because alcohol is a depressant and energy drinks are stimulants. By combining them the thought is you’re able to stay awake and alert from the energy drink but also lose your inhibitions and feel good from alcohol. This might be the effect your experience, a behind the scenes your body doesn’t know what is going on.
Alcohol is hard enough for the buyer to process and leaves it in a dehydrated state. Energy drinks further dehydrate the body, and also extend the amount of time spent awake and partying which exacerbates the problem. You probably noticed that your hangover the next day is harsher than usual, and this is because your body is more depleted than if you had just drank alcohol by itself.
The Health Risks
The health risks associated with energy drinks will probably not be fully documented for several decades. Just like people thought smoking was alright back in the 50s and 60s, people consume energy drinks like it’s no big deal. Who knows what sort of maladies are going to be attributed to the Gen X and Yers that consume energy drinks as part of their daily routine. Only time will tell, but some of the most obvious culprits seem to be heart problems, liver failure, kidney failure, stomach ulcers, Alzheimer disease, and several brain disorders.
The Pros and Cons
there are many pros and cons to drinking energy drinks. The pros are that it will actually give you a kick that might help you through your day, or give you the pick me up you need to overcome the afternoon snoozies. It’s not as if you’re drinking them in vain, and they don’t produce any sort of desired effect.
The cons are that the strings are not very healthy, and they do not provide real energy to you. They function much like a drug, producing a high, and making your normal state seem like a low. Almost every ingredient in them has a detrimental effect on your body, and long-term use can lead to health complications.
Energy Drinks Ingredients
The main ingredients for most energy drinks is caffeine and taurine. They also contain lots of preservatives, acids, sugar and sugar substitutes, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and other stuff to make them taste and look the way they do. Many of these companies tout their ingredients and are not ashamed to state just how much they put into them. In fact the percentages are often brought up as a selling point, and awaited differentiate their product from the others.
Energy Drink FAQs
Do Energy Drinks Make You Gain Weight?
Energy drinks contain copious amounts of sugar, and any sugar that doesn’t get processed by the body eventually turns into fat. You’ll see many candies out there that say they’re fat-free. This is one of the biggest pieces of false advertising that exists. As long as you are drinking and original energy drink with all of the carbohydrates and sugars intact they can definitely make you fat if you’re not following any sort of exercise regimen.
The energy drink companies have tried to counter this effect by coming out with sugar-free, and carb free variations of their beverages. If you’re concerned about gaining weight and just want the energy boost should go with these options instead.
Do Energy Drinks Cause Kidney Stones?
The kidneys are delicate filtration organs and it doesn’t take much to upset them. There’s more then just kidney stones that can accumulate in your kidneys. You can also get sand, grease, and other obstructions. There are also several kidney stones that don’t show up when stand for and ultrasounds, and remain undetected until they grow to a size that causes pain.
Almost anything can disrupt your kidneys, but especially foods and drinks that contain a lot of preservatives. Energy drinks are almost all synthetic ingredients and so could definitely contribute to forming kidney stones.
Do Energy Drinks Raise Blood Pressure?
The studies have shown that there isn’t conclusive proof that energy drinks raise your blood pressure, but if you are concerned about your blood pressure, as well as your overall health, you’d do best to avoid them. It only makes sense that with all of the caffeine and other stimulants designed to give you a more energetic feeling, that they would speed up your blood pressure as a result, and in an artificial way.
Do Energy Drinks Cause Cancer?
Everything causes cancer, it seems. Energy drinks definitely don’t help to keep it at bay. The negative effects to the body are many, and therefore it helps to contribute to conditions that would help cancer to form, or help it to spread if you already have it. Do the specifically cause cancer on their own, probably not. But if you’re worried about getting cancer you should probably stay away from energy drinks.
Can Energy Drinks Cause Diabetes?
Diabetes is not caused by consuming too many sweet things. The myth arose because diabetics need to go easy on the sweets, but this isn’t how they got diabetes. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you should give up the energy drinks, but they won’t cause it to begin with.
Can Energy Drinks Cause Heart Attacks?
Energy drinks contain a ton of caffeine, which speeds up your heart through unnatural ways. If you lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle and are just sitting at your computer desk or on your couch with an accelerated heartbeat, this is not a good thing. Over time this will add to the wear and tear on your heart, or if you’re already predisposed to having a heart attack this would get you there sooner. So while there may not be much risk of a heart attack from drinking one energy drink, you don’t want to make it a habit.
Can Energy Drinks Make You Fail a Drug Test?
While some have blamed energy drinks for failing a drug test, it was more likely the case that they were also doing drugs while consuming the beverage. Today’s drug tests are rather sophisticated, and only test for specific drugs that the employer wants to rule out. Some employers take a zero drug policy, while others just screen for hard drugs. If they can determine the difference between hard and soft drugs, they can definitely tell the different between a taurine and heroin.
To be on the safe side, you might want to avoid them anyway as you prepare for the test.
Are Energy Drinks Addictive?
Energy drinks are definitely addictive because it works on two levels. You can get addicted to the caffeine, or you can get addicted to the sugar, or you can get addicted to the high that you feel after drinking it. When you have used energy drinks for a while, and try to stop you will definitely have some withdrawal symptoms as you try to reenter a normal life. These could include painful headaches from caffeine withdrawal, satisfying your sugar craving by eating sweet snacks and chocolates, or feeling melancholy because you don’t have your daily pick me up anymore.
It may sound silly to talk about energy drinks like an addictive drug, but it’s not far off. If you haven’t started rigging energy drinks yet, it’s best not to start. If you’re a heavy user try to wean yourself off, or go cold turkey and just deal with the side effects. They’ll eventually go away and if you replace energy drinks with a healthy alternative you’ll speed up the recovery process.
Are Energy Drinks Bad for Kids?
Energy drinks are definitely bad for kids and should not be given to them at all. The first reason is they probably don’t need any sort of pick me up as children already have plenty of energy. Next reason is that the ingredients used in energy drinks are not healthy at all, and would only be setting your kids up for food and drink decisions in the future. Colas and soft drinks are one thing, but energy drinks specifically take it to the next level. They should especially be avoided if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD or other disorders.
Are Energy Drinks Healthy?
Energy drinks are not healthy, even if they contain some healthy ingredients. Some of the variations are made up of half juice, but even these are not healthy because they still contain a full amount of caffeine, touring, and other toxins. You are definitely not doing your body any favors by drinking energy drinks, so please don’t fool yourself into thinking that this is a positive thing to do for your health.
Real energy comes from lifestyle choices that enhance your health rather than take away from it. Delicious healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh water, plenty of sleep, and regular light exercise will give you all of the energy you need and provide real sustainable health.
Are Energy Drinks Bad for Your Liver?
Energy drinks are definitely bad for your liver, but so are pretty much any other drinks besides herbal teas and water. Anything that dehydrates the body causes damage to your liver and other organs. The only thing your liver responds well to his fresh, natural water. The high levels and high concentrations of synthetic substances, drugs, and other additives and energy drinks causes the liver to wonder what the heck you are doing to it.
Your liver responsible for filtering all of that, and it’s got to figure out what to do with it all. You’ll definitely be helping the formation of gallstones in your liver, causing a domino effect of health problems down the road.
Will Energy Drinks Kill You?
It’s not as if energy drinks will kill you the moment you drink them, but they’re not doing anything to support your life and they could be detrimental if taken on a regular basis over a long period of time. The quote that anything that doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, is not very accurate. Energy drinks don’t give you any health benefit, and in fact the net result of drinking them is that your body is worse off from them.
Almost every major system in your body is negatively affected with each energy drink you consume. One day they’ll probably force these companies to put warning labels on the cans, just like cigarettes.
Will Energy Drinks Keep You Awake?
Energy drinks will definitely keep you awake because their main ingredient is usually caffeine, and this is one of the effects the drug has on your system. In addition to giving you a feeling of energy, you also feel more alert and potentially jittery from the high levels they put in them. In addition to the caffeine they have other stimulants that are known keep you awake and ready to go.
This can be kind of annoying when you’re lying in bed trying to go to sleep but staring at the ceiling. That’s why it’s not a good idea to drink energy drinks anywhere near the time you plan to go to bed.
Do Energy Drinks Expire?
Many energy drinks are either carbonated, or lightly carbonated. This means they definitely have a shelflife and aren’t good forever. Definitely check the expiration date on your energy drink before consuming it. It’s not as if the product will go bad, or rancid after a certain amount of time, but you might not get the full enjoyment of it if it’s flat. It just won’t taste right.
Do Energy Drinks Have Bull Sperm?
Energy drinks contain taurine. Taurine is found in bull sperm. The taurine used in energy drinks is made in a laboratory. There is no way manufacturers of these drinks are going to go through the time and expense of extracting bull sperm when they can just synthesize it in lab for cheap.
Do Energy Drinks Cause Acne?
Depending on which dermatologist you ask, the foods you eat and the drinks you drink do or don’t have an effect on whether or not you get acne. However, it only seems logical that energy drinks increase the jittery feelings and anxiety you experience which could lead to having a breakout. With the massive amounts of caffeine contained in many of the most popular energy drinks, it only makes sense that this would cause more acne. However, studies have shown that there is no link between caffeine and acne, so the best way to figure it out is to stop drinking energy drinks and see if your zits clear up at all.
Can You Drink Energy Drinks While Pregnant?
There are several reasons why you shouldn’t drink energy drinks while pregnant. The first is the large amounts of caffeine that they contain. This will speed up your heart rate, which could in turn speed up your baby’s heart rate. Next is all the sugar that they contain. This may not seem like a very big deal, but you don’t want to have your baby addicted to sugar before it even born. This could cause them to make unhealthy choices later in life, and have a sweet tooth. The third reason is all the other junk that they put into energy drinks like taurine and other stimulants. Only consume wholesome, healthy things while you’re pregnant to ensure you have a safe pregnancy.
Our Recommendation on Energy Drinks
We don’t recommend drinking energy drinks, but we understand why people do. Just be sure to limit your intake to a few times a week, and just one can at a time. Some people fall into the habit of drinking these things daily, or drinking more than one can in a day. Be good to your body and it will give you the energy you need naturally, and you won’t even need energy drinks.g