Posted on

Monster vs Red Bull – What’s the Difference?

Ever wondered what the biggest differences between Monster energy drink and Red Bull are? We put the two famous energy drinks head to head here to help you decide which is better. 

What is Monster energy drink? 

Monster energy drink is an energy drink produced by an American company, the Monster Beverage Corporation. It comes in a 16 fl.oz can, and contains 190 calories and a total of 11g of carbohydrates per serving.

Over the years, Monster energy drink has been associated with certain health risks such as cardiac arrest, due to some individuals consuming it in excess, but moderate consumption does not usually have any negative side effects. 

Two monster energy cans- green writing against black background side by side.
What a typical monster energy drink looks like- you've definitely seen it before!

Where is Monster energy drink made? 

Monster energy drink is made in Corona, California. 

The Monster Beverage Corporation (previously the Hansen Natural Company) has a long history of making all types of sodas and juices, before branching out to energy drinks in 2002.

The company is a strong supporter and sponsor of many extreme sports events, such as snowboarding, skateboarding, UFC, Moto GP and BMX. They also sponsor certain music bands like Fetty Wap, Iggy Azalea and 21 Savage Pilots. 

Monster energy drink ingredients 

Each can of Monster contains:

  • 190 calories
  • 54g carbohydrates / 16 fl.oz  
  • 179mg of caffeine / 16 fl.oz 
  • Vitamin B2 (230% of the recommended daily intake)
  • B3 Vitamins (230% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Vitamin B6 (230% of the recommended daily intake)
  • B12 vitamins (230% of the recommended daily intake)

Trace amounts of: 

  • Carbonated water 
  • Glucose
  • Citric acid
  • 'Natural Flavors'
  • Taurine
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Panax Ginger Extract 
  • Sorbic Acid (preservative
  • Benzoic Acid (preservative
Nutrition facts for Monster energy drink
Nutrition facts on the back of a Monster energy drink can.

What is Red Bull energy drink? 

Red Bull energy drink is an energy drink produced by an Austrian company, Red Bull GmBH. It comes in a 8.4 fl.oz can, and has 110 calories.  

Red Bull has the highest market share of all energy drinks produced. 

Where is Red Bull made? 

Red Bull is made in Austria. 

Most other energy drinks like Monster or other well known brands are typically made in America. Red Bull is distributed in 171 countries all over the world. 

Red Bull ingredients

Each can of Red Bull contains: 

  • 110 calories
  • 28g carbohydrates / 8.4 fl.oz
  • 80mg of caffeine / 8.4 fl.oz 
  • Niacin (100% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Vitamin B6 (250% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Vitamin B12 (80% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Pantothenic Acid (50% of the recommended daily intake)

Trace amounts of: 

  • Carbonated Water
  • Sucrose 
  • Glucose 
  • Citric Acid 
  • Taurine
  • Sodium Bicarbonate 
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Unspecified Natural and Artificial flavors and colors 
A single can of Red Bull on a table
A can of Red Bull- the original flavor that we all know and love!

What's the difference between Monster and Red Bull? 

The main differences between Monster and Red Bull are a higher sugar and carbohydrate content in Monster, and the size of the can that they come in - Monster being 16 fl.oz and Red Bull being 8.4 fl.oz.

Monster energy drinks also come in 34 different flavors, and have some extra coffee based flavors, while Red Bull only has 16 flavors, which are all fruit based. 

The sections below should give you an even more detailed breakdown of their specific differences and similarities. 

Monster vs. Red Bull- Ingredients 

Sugar Content 

Monster contains 52g of sugar / 16 fl.oz, while Red Bull contains 26g of sugar / 8.4 fl.oz.

This is a really high sugar content- one can of Monster is equivalent to two whole cans of Red Bull! A large part of the energy is definitely derived from this sugar, which is why Monster may seem more effective than Red Bull. 

B6 Vitamins

Red Bull contains 250% the recommended daily intake of B6 vitamins, while Monster contains 230%, just 20% less. 

B6 vitamins are water-soluble vitamins like B12, which are processed in the liver, and then passed out from the system.

Carbohydrates

Monster energy drinks contain 54g of carbohydrates, and Red Bull has 28g of carbohydrates. 

Like the sugar content, Monster has double the amount of carbohydrates that Red Bull has, so anyone on a diet should stay well away! - Try some of their lighter alternatives, which I'll list below. 

Monster vs. Red Bull- Flavors

Monster energy drinks come in the following flavors that can be separated into different categories: 

  • Regular Monster (also comes in low-carb, Assault, and Absolutely Zero)
  • Rehab (non-carbonated and less sugar, includes white dragon tea, lemonade, peach tea, pink lemonade, orangeade, and raspberry tea)
  • Ultra (low calorie drinks, includes: zero, blue, red, sunrise, citron, black, and violet)
  • Juice (supposed to taste more like juice, have these flavors: Khoas, Pipeline Punch, Ripper, and Mango Loco)
  • Punch (a mixture of several fruits, comes in Baller's Blend and Mad Dog)
  • Java (Coffee-based drinks, come in: Mean Bean, Loca Mocha, Kona Blend, Irish Blend, Vanilla Lite, Salted Caramel, Espresso Monster: Cream, Espresso Monster: Vanilla, and Caffe Monster in Vanilla, Mocha, and Caramel)
  • Muscle (the base energy drink with added protein, comes in Chocolate and Vanilla)
  • Hydro (is supposed to be an alternative to both energy drinks and water, is just flavored water: Tropical Thunder, Purple Passion, Blue Ice, Zero Sugar, Mean Green, and Manic Melon)
  • Maxx (uses nitrous oxide, flavors include: Super Dry, Eclipse, and Solaris)

Red Bull comes in the following flavors: 

  • Original (amber)
  • Sugar-free (reduced calories)
  • Total Zero (no calories)
  • Red (cranberry)
  • Ruby/Red (grapefruit)
  • Blue (blueberry)
  • Yellow/Tropical (tropical fruit)
  • Orange/Mandarin (mandarin/orange)
  • Green/Kiwi (kiwi-apple)
  • White/Coconut (coconut berry/acai)
  • Peach (peach-nectarine)
  • Pear Sugar-Free (pear)
  • Lime Sugar-Free (lime)
  • Purple/Acai Sugar-Free (açai)
  • Purple/Acai (acai berry)
  • Lime (lime-lemon)
  • Orange Sugar-free (orange)
  • Yellow/Tropical Sugar-free (tropical)
  • Winter Edition (plum-cinnamon)
Red Bull with a background of skyscrapers
A Red Bull against the skyscrapers- as high up as the energy that it gives you.

Monster vs. Red Bull- Caffeine 

Monster energy drink contains 179mg of caffeine / 16 fl.oz (around 90mg / 8.4 fl.oz), while Red Bull energy drink contains 80mg of caffeine / 8.4 fl.oz. 

This is one of the most significant areas in which the two differ. From a simple comparison, we can see that Monster contains twice the amount of caffeine that Red Bull does. 

But hey, I hear you say. That's not fair, Monster has twice the amount of fl.oz that Red Bull does! 

Even when comparing half the Monster can to a single Red Bull can, it contains around 90mg of caffeine, which is 10mg more than the Red Bull. 

If you were to drink an entire Monster energy drink in one go, that would put you very near to half of your daily recommended intake, while a single Red Bull would have around the same amount l as a cup of coffee. 

Does Monster or Red Bull give you more energy? 

Logically speaking, Monster energy drink should definitely gives you more energy.

When compared to Red Bull in aspects such as caffeine and sugar content, Monster consistently wins out, and is overall, a far bigger can than the Red Bull. 

However, more energy is not necessarily a good thing- through a combination of ingredients, these drinks make your brain think you are awake, when really, your body is not. 

If you chug a whole can of Monster in one go, you might even suffer heart palpitations, anxiety and insomnia, especially because your brain and body are out of sync. 

Price difference between Monster and Red Bull 

It is $37.95 for a 12 can pack of Monster Import energy drink on Amazon, which means that it's around $3.20 for a can, excluding shipping. For Red Bull, it's about $1.99 per can, without considering shipping. 

In this case, Monster is definitely more expensive than Red Bull, but we have to take into account the size of the can as well- it's double the volume of Red Bull, so you're more or less paying for two Red Bull cans. 

If both of these options still seem rather pricey, you can check out REIZE Energy Drink- an upcoming and newer energy drink that costs only about $1 and ships directly to your door

A row of energy drinks
Monster and Red Bull may rule the rankings, but there are so many different kinds of energy drinks!

Monster vs. Red Bull - Review 

* all opinions expressed in this review are mine *  

For the sake of clarity, I decided to try both the original flavors of Monster and Red Bull, rather than messing around with different kinds of flavors. 

Full disclosure, I was already quite familiar with Red Bull, as I usually do drink at least half a can before an important exam to make sure that I'm fully alert, regardless of if whether it's an early morning or late afternoon test. 

I had never tried Monster before, because it always seemed too big and somehow a bit scary- but for the purposes of science and comparison, I was willing to give it a try. 

Visuals 

Monster 

My first impression of the Monster can was that it was definitely an energy drink. The big 'M' is a trademark sign, and even out of context, I would definitely be able to place it. 

The minimalist design- only a single green letter against a totally black background was attractive and seemed very professional

The color of the drink reminded me of Red Bull, and it was pretty carbonated when I opened it. 

Red Bull 

Like the Monster drink, this packaging was instantly recognizable. The minimalist blue and silver colour scheme was pleasing and perhaps a little less scary than the Monster can, but still just as effective. 

The red bull silhouette is a classic design, and I found it really cool that the snap-top cutout had a little bull on it too. 

It was also very carbonated when I opened it, and was a neutral amber color. 

Taste

Monster 

Since the liquid pretty much looked like Red Bull, I assumed it would taste pretty much the same.

Wrong

The texture of the drink was a lot thicker than Red Bull, and it tasted so sweet that I felt my saliva ducts twinge with pain, with a pungent citrus undertone that was just as artificial as Red Bull. 

The flavor of the drink was not unpleasant, but it was nothing special either. If you reduced the sugar content and made me compare this and Red Bull while blindfolded, I think I would find it quite hard to tell the difference

I pushed through the first couple of sips, but eventually it was so sweet that I had to take a break, after barely drinking a quarter of the can. It felt like I was developing cavities on the spot! 

One thing I did like about the taste was the pleasant, medium fizziness of the drink- it didn't have the sharpness of something like Coke, but was not entirely flat either, letting you enjoy the tingle on your tongue without feeling like the drink was actually attacking you. 

Red Bull

I definitely had to wait a couple of hours for my body (and taste-buds) to recover from Monster, but in any case, this was familiar territory. 

The taste of Red Bull was sharp and clear, quite sweet, but still not as sweet as the Monster drink. It was definitely much more fizzy- I had to stop between sips to catch my breath a couple of times. 

The aftertaste was quite sour, and made me really cringe my face after the first sip, something which didn't happen with the Monster drink- possibly because it has a lot more sugar in it? 

Still, it was the classic, great taste that I remembered. 

A single can of red bull against a concrete floor
Red Bull, a classic favorite.

Effect

Monster 

When I took my first gulp of the Monster energy drink, the first thing I noticed was an unpleasant feeling in my stomach. My eyes definitely felt less heavy, but I could feel my stomach trying its best to grapple with the load of sugar that had just been dumped into it. 

After I got through about 3/4s of the can, my stomach settled down, and I was feeling slightly more alert than I had been. My heart was also beating pretty fast at this point, and I felt ready to run a marathon. 

The effects lasted for a couple of hours, and I felt really energized, but then came the crash- the sugar wore off, and my heart slowed to its normal pace. I did feel pretty bad after the crash, and I really had to take a nap. 

Side note on physical effects outside of the body- try your utmost best not to spill this.

I accidentally poured some on my hand and despite wiping it off with a tissue, there was just an unpleasant, residual stickiness that required almost two rounds of handwashing with soap to get rid of! Can't imagine what would have happened if I spilt it on my clothes! 

Red Bull

This woke me up from the sugar crash I was suffering after the Monster energy drink, and was quite refreshing. 

Somehow, it gave me a rush of adrenaline, a nagging feeling at the back of my mind, as if I had forgotten something I was supposed to do. (Was that because I've subconsciously associated Red Bull with taking exams?) 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I would give the Monster energy drink a 6/10 - it was too sweet for my liking, but I could definitely see how people who did lots of high energy activities like rock climbing or running would enjoy the extra energy boost. The Red Bull gets a higher score- 8/10, partly because it's gotten me through so many exams. 

Both energy drinks are clearly leaders of the industry and it's easy to see why- both do provide a strong energy boost at an affordable price, and have been around for many years. 

However, the high sugar and carbohydrate content is a huge barrier to truly enjoying these drinks, because you have to consider your health as well! 

Alternatives to Monster and Red Bull 

These are some of the best alternatives to Monster and Red Bull.
Some of the great alternatives to Red Bull and Monster energy drink.

If you're looking for some great alternatives to Red Bull and Monster, you could try: 

If you're thinking of branching out into powder based energy drinks, take a look at these: 

Or you could also consider caffeine pills if you weren't so fussed on necessarily needing to drink your caffeine.

Energy drink powders are overall cheaper, easy to make, and give you the exact same energy boost that many liquid based energy drinks do! - Check out REIZE for an energy powder drink that puts you in the optimal zone without any unwanted side-effects like shakiness or an unpleasant crash. 

REIZE ships right to your door for around $1 per drink, which is a lot cheaper than either Red Bull or Monster. 

Give it a try today and you might just find that you prefer REIZE to both of these brands.

Posted on

XS Energy Drink – Is it good for you?

A single can of XS energy drink against a green background

What is XS Energy Drink? 

XS energy drink is a type of carbonated energy drink that is completely sugar free, and it comes in 18 different flavors. A single can is 8.4 fl.oz and contains 80g of caffeine. 

Each can contains 10 calories and zero carbohydrates. 

Many people consider XS to be one of the best energy drinks on the market.

Where is XS Energy Drink made? 

XS energy drink is made in California, and distributed exclusively by Quixitar in North America, and by Amway in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. 

It was initially created by another company called Logic Nutrition, who sold the distribution rights to Amway in 2015. 

XS energy drink is made by Amway.
XS energy drink is an Amway product.

What is XS Energy Drink made of? 

Each 8.4 fl.oz can of XS energy drink contains:

  • 10 calories
  • 80mg of caffeine
  • 35mg of Sodium
  • 35mg of Potassium
  • 100% of the recommended daily value (DV) of Vitamin B3
  • 300% of the DV of Vitamin B6
  • 100% of the DV of Vitamin B5
  • 4,900% of the DV of Vitamin B12

There are also trace amounts of: 

  • Carbonated water
  • Taurine
  • L-Glutamine
  • Citric acid
  • Natural flavors
  • Acesulfame potassium (sweetener)
  • Sodium benzoate (preservative)
  • Potassium sorbet (preservative)
  • Salt
  • Sucralose (sweetener)
  • Calcium d-Pantothenate
  • Niacinamide
  • Herbal blend
  • Purple carrot extract (for color)
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride
  • Riboflavin (for color)
  • Cyanocobalamin

What are the benefits of XS Energy Drink? 

Caffeine levels - the amount of caffeine in the drink (80 mg / 8.4 fl.oz) makes it about as effective as a cup of coffee. 

Ginseng - This is a natural ingredient that boosts energy while at the same time lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Ginseng has also been suggested to have anti-inflammatory effects and boost your immune system

Less calories - There are only 10 calories in XS energy drink, a huge plus point for those trying to watch their weight. 

Naturally flavored - As opposed to artificial flavorings, this can actually enhance overall flavors, making the drink tastier than other synthetic drinks. This is a strange point to be hammering home, considering because XS is also full of other artificial ingredients, like sweeteners.

However, all these benefits come with their own dangers, which we will explore below. 

XS energy drink cans in a rowA herd of XS energy drinks coming towards you- just like the potential side-effects when you drink too much of them!

General side-effects of Energy Drinks

Typical side effects of over-consumption may include: 

  • Caffeine overdose 
  • Type 2 diabetes - linked to caffeine, which reduces insulin sensitivity
  • Adverse neurological effects in adolescents and children
  • Obesity

Some of the items on this list may surprise you, such as obesity, since energy drinks are typically associated with sporty and healthy activities. However, the sheer amount of sugar found in them negates any possible health benefits!

With regards to XS energy Drink, its low sugar content makes it unlikely that Type 2 diabetes or obesity are on the horizon. The fear of caffeine overdose and possible bad effects on pregnancy are very real. 

If taken over a long period of time, the efficacy of the drink will decrease, especially if you typically consume high amounts of caffeine. 

As a whole, it is recommended that like with anything else, these drinks should be consumed in moderation

Specific side-effects of XS Energy Drink

Acesulfame potassium- This is an artificial sweetener that is rather controversial. It is around 200 times sweeter than sugar, and some medical experts claim that they have harmful effects

Some other studies conducted on rats have even suggested that excess consumption of sweeteners such as this can cause cancer and harm babies' development in the womb. 

Sucralose - As with Acesulfame potassium, this is also an artificial sweetener that can accumulate in the form of body fat, and cause tooth decay. 

Vitamin B12 - XS energy Drink contains 4,900% the amount of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin B12.

While this vitamin is crucial in our diets, too much of a good thing can have unwanted consequences. Some of the side effects that come with too much Vitamin B12 are insomnia, dizziness, and liver failure. 

Ginseng - Although you would think ginseng is a pretty healthy ingredient, different individuals react differently to this particular ingredient. Some notable side effects include allergic reactions, and ginseng can react badly with medications like antidepressants. 

The health warning on the XS energy drink- not for pregnant women or children
XS energy drink warnings: Not recommended for children, pregnant women or those sensitive to caffeine. 

XS Energy Drink Sugar Comparison

Across the board, XS energy drink definitely beats its competitors in terms of low sugar content. 

XS energy drink boasts zero sugar, which is fantastic, compared to other drinks such as Red Bull or Monster, which both contain above 20g of sugar. 

In terms of artificial sweeteners, XS energy drink has a relatively low amount of them, with only two- Acesulfame potassium and sucralose. Some other brands can have up to three or four different types of sweeteners. 

It may not taste as sweet as its counterparts, but you get all the benefits without having to worry about your sugar intake. However, the experience of drinking it may be way less enjoyable- more of a chore than anything else.

One interesting fact is that XS energy drink was one of the first brands to develop a sugar-free energy drink, before other brands began to jump onto the bandwagon as well. 

An XS energy drink contains 0g sugar and carbohydrates
An XS energy drinks' nutritional facts

XS Energy Drink Price 

On average, a 12 can pack of XS energy Drink costs $39.62 on Amazon.

A single can then costs $3.30, which is rather pricey for an energy drink. The price is comparable to drinks such as Monster, but definitely far more expensive when you take into account the size of the drinks. 

Monster is huge, at 18.6 fl.oz per can, compared to the tiny XS energy drink, which is only 8.4 fl.oz per can. 

There are several factors which seem to work in its favor, such as the self-proclaimed 'natural flavoring' and zero sugar. If you consider that shipping has to be factored in for some places, the total price per can goes up significantly. 

For this cost, it's truly hard to see why the customer would pick this over other more popular and well-known energy drinks.

If you're considering an even cheaper alternative, the powder energy drink REIZE is one that ships directly to your door for around $1 per sachet! 

Where can I buy XS Energy Drink? 

XS Energy Drink is primarily sold by 'independent business owners', who are supported by Amway. 

Amway is a huge, multi-level marketing corporation that applies this strategy to all aspects of their business. This has even been described as a pyramid scheme in some cases. 

What this means is that people looking to earn some money on the side will buy boxes of XS energy drink in bulk, and will attempt to sell them to anyone. 

The customer then not only has to shoulder the burden of paying for the base cost of the drink, but also ends up paying extra in order to make sure Amway and the seller make a profit. 

The drink is available to buy directly from Amway, although the cost is much higher and it only comes in 12 packs of individual flavors. If you want some variety, buying from a third party seller will be your best bet! 

If you're thinking of buying XS energy drink, you'll probably need to do some research of your own in order to get the best deals. Some places to start looking are: 

Both places sell them at a relatively cheaper price than Amway, and you have the added bonus of some variety in taste. 

Can you have XS Energy Drink while on the keto diet? 

Yes, you can, but it also depends on your own personal circumstances.

The keto diet cuts out all the carbohydrates from your diet- and with energy drinks, more often than not, it's just a mouthful of sugar and a one-way ticket to diabetes. However, XS energy Drink is completely sugar-free, with a total of 10 calories and 0 carbohydrates. 

Its size is also conservative, at a solid 8.4 fl. oz, a lot smaller than the typical energy drink serving, and only includes two sweeteners, acesulfame potassium and sucralose.

Compared to other drinks such as the sugar-free Red Bull or the low-carb Monster energy drink, the sugar-free XS energy drink is probably your best bet if you're looking for that extra boost while trying not to get kicked out of ketosis! 

One thing to point out is the caffeine content- all XS energy drinks that are not labelled 'caffeine-free' contain around 80mg of caffeine per 8.4 fl. oz serving. This may boost ketone levels and help you burn off that extra fat even more effectively, but also comes with some flaws. 

The high caffeine content may be dangerous for those on a keto diet, as when combined with the focus on lower carbs means that your body has more energy, but nothing to break down. Not enough studies have been conducted on this in order to give a conclusive answer, but it's probably best to err on the safe side.  

XS Energy Drink Review / Rating 

A can of XS energy drink next to its shipping box
The box that the XS energy drinks came in

* all opinions expressed in this review are mine * 

Visuals: 

For the price of the drink, the outside of the can is remarkably disappointing. It's about $3.30, which means that it's definitely on the higher end of the spectrum.

With this, you might expect the packaging to be a little classier or more interesting, perhaps marketed towards people who can afford such an expensive drink. 

My first impression of the drink was that it looked rather messy, and the fonts weren't exactly clear on the can, making it look kind of shady. The spray-paint effect was also distinctly from the 2000s, and seemed outdated. 

The actual colour of the drink wasn't anything out of the ordinary- I think a color other than orange-yellow would have been way more suspicious for sure. This was a point in favor of their 'natural flavoring' advertising. 

Taste: 

I managed to try the 'Tropical Blast' flavor, and my first taste of it reminded me of a Caprisun- kind of sweet, fruity, but with a definite artificial undertone. This is ironic, considering that they make the bold claim that their drinks are naturally flavored. 

Despite that, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt until I had finished the can. 

It didn't really get much better over the few minutes that I had to drink it, and I actually think that the artificial taste got stronger after I noticed it

It was also quite sour, which I think was because I was expecting something that tasted way sweeter. 

Because it wasn't as fizzy as some of the other energy drinks, it went down a lot smoother and without me having to pause for air and burp out carbon dioxide. 

Effect: 

I started off my day quite sleepy, a victim of jetlag. My body was pretty much ready to fall asleep at 8am despite a full night's sleep.

About 15 minutes after drinking XS, I did feel that I was more awake and able to function like a normal human being, and even quite energetic!

It absolutely got me past the initial wave of jet-lag induced sleepiness and managed to tide me over until the time my body thought I was supposed to be awake. 

Furthermore, I did not feel an unpleasant wave of exhaustion when the energy drink wore off, and was able to carry on with my day as normal. 

Overall, when considering visuals, taste and effect, I would give XS energy drink a 7/10, mostly because I think the sugar-free and gentle crash aspects are really useful when considering it for daily use. 

For example- if I were taking it before an exam, then it would be really useful in helping me stay awake with the least amount of negative side effects. 

It doesn't get a higher rating, however, purely because of how expensive it is and the fact that its not really worth it for the price that you get it for. 

Alternatives to XS Energy Drink 

There are lots of great energy drink products available if you're trying to find a suitable alternative to XS. If you're looking for similar liquid based products, there are several: 

If you're thinking of branching out into powder based energy drinks, try these: 

Energy drink powders are really simple to make- just add water! This way, you have the benefit of the exact same energy boost at a much more affordable price. They're also portable, so you don't have to stress about carrying around a heavy can. 

XS Energy Drink Roundup 

As a whole, I think that compared to the other energy drinks on the market, XS energy drink ranks high in terms of the fact that it gives you an energy boost with fewer strings attached.

If we're comparing specific health benefits, XS is way better than most of the stuff out there, since it is sugar free, and doesn't exceed the daily recommended caffeine intake. 

However, there are some glaring problems. 

The price is far too high for the product that you actually get, making it really not worth the money. When compared to some of the other energy drinks, which only cost $1 - $2, it's difficult to see why anyone would choose this option over others.  

Some flavors even cost more, which is frankly silly. 

Following on from that, the marketing strategy is suspicious, making it difficult to justify to yourself the choice to support their kind of distribution process, especially after having heard the rumors. And sure, it's naturally flavored, but they conveniently forget to tell us about the other artificial ingredients inside the can.

All in all, if you want an alternative to this type of energy drink, it might be worth looking at REIZE Energy Drink, which is very similar to XS energy drink, but less than one-third the price. It's also sugar-free, and has all of the great taste without the crushing price! 

Posted on

What is the best energy drink? (2019 edition)

Some of the best energy drinks in America

With so many different energy drink brands available how can we know which one is the best how should we determine what is the best energy drink?

What factors go into our decision making to decide which energy drink is the absolute best?

In this article I will help you to understand some of the different ways that we can score energy drinks to figure out which ones are worth our taking a closer look at, and which ones we can set aside. 

How to decide what energy drink is best

As an energy drink connoisseur, I consider myself to be quiet knowledgeable on the topic of energy drinks.

In my time I have tasted many, many different types of energy drinks and I've figured out a checklist that I use to rate energy drinks and make my job easier to decide which energy drinks are better and which energy drinks are worse.

Below is a list of the different criteria that I use to assess energy drinks:

  • caffeine content
  • taste
  • convenience
  • price
  • energy boost
  • market share
  • ingredients

Let's talk about each of these one by one because they all deserve their own section.

These are some of the best energy drinks available in USA.
There are lots of candidates for the title of "best energy drink".

How much caffeine is ideal?

Caffeine affects different people in different ways. The way that caffeine affects you will be different to the way the caffeine affects somebody else.

To a large extent, it depends on your body size and your physiological make-up.

For me, as a daily caffeine drinker, I prefer my drinks to contain between 50 and 100mg of caffeine. Any less than that and we're talking about drinks that are basically in the same category as regular sodas and any more than 100 milligrams of caffeine and it starts to become a little bit difficult to control the dosage that you get from each drink.  

When I drink energy drinks that contain more than 100mg of caffeine I often experience hot flushes and a mild caffeine overdose which is not very pleasant.

I'm a daily caffeine drinker, 6'0" and 180 pounds. If you're smaller than me, or if you aren't a regular caffeine drinker you'll want to be even more cautious and perhaps go for something with a little less caffeine. 

In my opinion, somewhere between 50 and 100mg of caffeine per serving is perfect.

For the reasons already mentioned above, I don't really like anything with more than 100mg per serving. I just find it a little bit too difficult to control how much caffeine I'm getting and as a result, I often end up feeling hot, flushed or unable to think clearly and concentrate.

Again, it's only my opinion that the perfect amount of caffeine in an energy drink is somewhere between 50-100mg.

With that in mind, here's a list of the best energy drinks based on meeting that caffeine quantity criteria:

• Red Bull (80mg of caffeine per 8.4oz can)

• Bing (100mg of caffeine per 12oz can)

REIZE Energy Drink (50mg of caffeine per serving)

Zipfizz energy (100mg of caffeine per tube)

XS energy drink (80mg of caffeine per 8.4oz can)

XS energy drink has 80mg of caffeine in each can.
XS energy drink contains 80mg of caffeine per can.

How do we rank energy drinks based on taste?

Taste is particularly tricky because no two sets of taste buds are alike. For that reason, an energy drink that I think tastes amazing might be something that you think is disgusting, and vice versa.

So, instead of me telling you the energy drinks that I think taste the best I'm going to look at taste reviews online.

By looking at reviews we can be confident that we are getting a good cross-section of opinions. With that out of the way, here is a list of the best-tasting energy drinks based on a wide range of reviews:

• Red Bull

• Bang

• Bing

Monster Import

• REIZE

Convenience defined

I don't know about you, but I hate driving to the store, waiting in line, having to pay with cash, carrying groceries and energy drinks back to my car and driving home. The whole process seems unnecessarily time-consuming and difficult.

These days, I buy almost everything online, including energy drinks. That's the way I like it to make things as convenient as possible.

However, convenience doesn't end simply with buying things online.

We also need to consider things like shipping times, ease of buying online and ease of reordering when we run out and need more.

When weighing "convenience", this is where ready-to-drink cans lose to the lighter and more versatile energy drink powders. The ease of use and the simplicity of carrying them around in your bag or pocket make them a lot more convenient than carrying around a bulky can. 

REIZE Energy Drink is very convenient.
REIZE is home delivered for your convenience.

The most convenient energy drinks

Here's a list of the best energy drinks, based on the above criteria:

• REIZE Energy Drink (choose one-time purchase or subscriptions)

Zipfizz

Advocare Spark

• Vivarin caffeine pills (yes, I know it's not an energy drink, but they are very convenient)

Gfuel

Price - lower is obviously better

When it comes to price, it's important to understand that price and value are not the same things. Too often we think that an expensive item is very precious and a cheaper item must somehow be inferior, but that's not always the case.

Sometimes things are just more expensive than they should be and other times we can find great products that are perhaps cheaper than they really ought to be.

Generally speaking, when we're talking about price, as consumers we prefer to pay less. That doesn't mean that we want to seek out low quality or cheap goods, rather that we want to seek out the better deals and the more affordable products so that we can get more bang for our buck.

Now that we can agree that when it comes to energy drinks, spending less money is obviously better than spending more money and that it doesn't mean that we're getting a worse product, here is a list of the best and most affordable energy drinks:

• REIZE Energy Drink (around $1 per drink including shipping)

• Guru (around $1.90 per drink)

Advocare Spark energy drink (around $2.20 per drink)

Zipfizz energy tubes (around $2.25 per drink)

Celsius (around $2.25 per drink)

Celsius energy drink isn't too expensive.
Celsius is quite good value at around $2.25 per can.

Do energy drinks actually work?

Let's face it, it doesn't matter how good an energy drink tastes or how healthy the ingredients list is if it doesn't provide a great energy boost. If it fails to deliver extra energy when you need it, then why bother drinking it at all?

Similar to what I said above about taste, it's possible that an energy drink that I think gives a fantastic energy boost may not affect you in the same way. Similarly, something that I think is useless might give you a nice energy boost.

So, to remove any chance of bias, instead of me telling you which energy drinks I think give the best energy boost, I'm going to look at a wide range of online reviews and we're going to take the consensus from those reviews.

Here's a list of the best energy-boosting energy drinks, based on a wide range of online reviews:

• Red Bull

• Rockstar

• Monster

• Bang

• REIZE

Leading energy drink brands by market share

The worlds' leading energy drink by market share is...

Yep, you guessed it - Red Bull. 

Red Bull sold around 6.5 billion energy drinks in 2018 and generated a healthy profit by doing so. The company is valued at over $10 billion.

Not bad for a drink that an Austrian guy discovered in Thailand

Number two on the list based on market share is Monster.

Helped by a distribution partnership with Coca-Cola, Monster is now available in more than 100 countries. Monster earns about 30% of it's more than $3 billion net sales from countries outside of the United States. 

But, around 70% of the companies earnings are US based. Monster is a publicly traded company (Nasdaq: MNST) and boasts around 60% gross profit margins. 

To help you with the math, 60% gross profit on $3 billion in net sales is around $1.8 billion in gross profit. Each year. 

Wow. 

If you're interested in some of the other differences between Red Bull and Monster you might find this worth a read too.

The third biggest energy drink brand by market share is Rockstar. 

Rockstar controls about 10% of the US energy drink market, measured by market share. 

After the top 3 brands, there are a slew of smaller brands competing for the remaining share of the pie. Notable mentions include:

• NOS

• AMP

• Burn

The US energy drink market expanded by 4% in 2018, but the growth rate is slowing compared to past years and growth is expected to end around the year 2022. 

Monster energy drink is the 2nd biggest energy drink in USA by market share.
Monster trails Red Bull in terms of market share, but still sells an enormous amount of energy drinks each year.

Best energy drink ingredients

All good energy drinks contain caffeine. That's a given. I don't care what anyone says, if an "energy drink" doesn't contain caffeine, I doubt very much that it works nearly as good as I want it to. 

We've already talked about caffeine above, but what about the other ingredients inside a can of energy drink?

Which ones are good and how much of them do we need?

Here's a helpful list of things that are generally good:

• B vitamins

• Vitamin C

• Taurine

• Ginseng

• Guarana

And here's a couple of things that we want to be low or zero:

Sugar

• Calories

Despite the fact that some brands contain more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of some vitamins, there is absolutely no health benefit from consuming any more than 100% of what we need each day. 

Surplus B and C vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they pass straight through our bodies and into the toilet bowl. 

On the topic of "ingredients", many energy drink brands (I won't mention any names, but check your label) write certain healthy ingredients in large font on their cans.

However, usually when you dig into the amount of the listed ingredient included inside the can and then compare that to the "effective dose" you'll find that there is only a tiny amount of the good-sounding ingredient included in the can. 

Why do they do this?

Marketing.

Energy drinks with the best ingredients

Based on the above criteria of a sensible amount of the good things and low or no sugar and calories, here are some great energy drinks that tick all the right boxes with regard to ingredients:

• Sugar Free Red Bull

Celsius energy drink

• Guru

• Bing

• REIZE

Best energy drink in USA

Competition is fierce in the American energy drink market and there are lots of great brands and flavors to choose from. 

Based on the above criteria for scoring energy drinks, the best energy drink in USA is Red Bull. But it is more expensive than I would like it to be, and certainly more expensive than many other leading brands.

They are a dominant force for a reason - they do lots of things right. 

But, here are some notable mentions for other good quality energy drinks that are available in America:

• Monster

• Rockstar

• NOS

• Amp

• REIZE

Rip It

Red Bull is the best energy drink in America.
Instantly recognizable - Red Bull is the market leader in the United States.

Best energy drinks in Canada

Here's a list of the best energy drinks in Canada:

• Red Bull

• Monster

• Rockstar

• Guru

• REIZE

Best energy drinks in the UK

Energy drinks are hugely popular in the UK.

Here's a list of the energy drinks that the English love the most:

• Red Bull

• Monster 

• Relentless

• Rockstar

• Boost Energy Drink

• Emerge Energy Drink

• REIZE

Best energy drinks in Europe

Here's a list of some of the best energy drinks in Europe:

• Red Bull

• Monster

• Rockstar

• Bullit

• Black 

• Tiger

• Megaforce

• REIZE

A can of Bullit energy drink.
Bullit energy drink is very popular in the Netherlands.

Best energy drinks in Poland

These are some of the best energy drinks available in Poland:

• Black

• Red Bull

• Tiger

• Rockstar

• Burn

• Monster

• Combu

• Level Up

• REIZE

These are some of the best energy drinks in Poland.
Some of the most popular energy drinks in Poland.

Best energy drinks in Australia

Australian's love energy drinks and drink about as many per capita as Americans do. 

Here's a list of the best energy drinks down under:

V Energy Drink

• Red Bull

• Mother

• Monster

• Rockstar

• REIZE

Best energy drinks in New Zealand

New Zealander's drink more energy drinks per capita than any other nation on the planet. 

Respect.

Here's a list of the best energy drinks available in NZ:

V Drink

• Red Bull

• Monster

• Rockstar

• REIZE

Best energy drinks in Asia

Believe it or not, but the biggest energy drink market in the world isn't USA. It's China. 

Energy drinks are rapidly gaining in popularity in Asia, with astonishing annual growth rates in some countries. 

Here's a list of some of the best energy drinks in Asia:

• Red Bull

• Krating Daeng (the "original Red Bull" that inspired the modern day Red Bull that we all know)

• Sting

• Cobra

• Livita

• M-150

• REIZE

Livita energy drink comes in a glass bottle.
Livita is a popular energy drink in Asia. It comes in a small glass bottle instead of a can.

 

Sting comes in a plastic bottle.
Sting is another popular brand in Asia. It comes in a plastic bottle.

Best energy drink available online

All things considered, I think REIZE is the best energy drink available online.

It scores so highly on all of the important criteria that we should consider when ranking energy drinks:

• Price

• Taste

• Caffeine content

• The energy boost that it gives you

• Convenience

Sure, REIZE doesn't control a significant amount of the global market for energy drinks (yet), but that's a good thing in my opinion. It forces them to stay innovative and keep looking to improve their product and service as they chase down the current market leaders. 

Besides, I prefer to root for the underdog.

So, if you're looking for a great value energy drink that scores highly across the board, give REIZE a try today. 

You might just find that it quickly becomes the best energy drink in your eyes too.

Posted on

Caffeine Pills – How do they compare to Energy Drinks?

Vivarin caffeine pills vs energy drinks comparison article.

Caffeine pills offer a cheaper and hassle-free alternative to coffee and energy drinks, but how do they stack up?

In this article I will compare caffeine pills to energy drinks and coffee, as well as answering the main questions that people have about caffeine pills. 

What are caffeine pills?

Caffeine pills, as the name suggests, are pills that contain (almost) pure caffeine.

Caffeine pills are available in small boxes of 16 tablets that can be swallowed with some water, just like any other pill that you might take.

The pills that I road tested in researching this article, Vivarin, contain 200mg of caffeine and 65mg of calcium per pill.

There are also other "inactive ingredients" listed on the packaging, but the exact amount of those other ingredients are not specified:

Camauba wax

• Colloidal silicon dioxide

• Corn starch

• Croscarmellose sodium

D&C yellow #10 aluminium lake

• Dicalcium phosphate dihydrate

FD&C yellow #6 aluminium lake 

• Hypromellose

• Magnesium stearate

Microcrystalline cellulose

• Polyethylene glycol

Polysorbate 80

Titanium dioxide

Phew... what a mouthful!

If some of those ingredients don't sound natural or healthy, that's because they're not.

Some of them have been linked to some really nasty health problems, including at least 3 of them that have been linked to cancer

A box of Vivarin contains 16 pills.
Some Vivarin caffeine pills.

How much caffeine is in a caffeine pill?

Each Vivarin pill contains 200mg of caffeine.

That's around twice as much as you would get in a regular cup of Joe, or 2.5 times as much as you would get in a 8.4 ounce Red Bull. 

Are caffeine pills bad?

The short answer is no, caffeine pills are not bad for you. 

But there are a few caveats to that.

Firstly, as with anything containing caffeine, if you have a pre-existing heart condition or if are sensitive to caffeine for other reasons, then you should avoid caffeine from any source, as usual. 

Secondly, caffeine pills do contain a lot of caffeine, so you want to exercise some caution in how many you take in any given time frame.

Numerous studies and health agencies recommend no more than 400mg of caffeine per day for a healthy adult. Just two Vivarin pills will get you to that limit, and it's highly advisable not to have them too close together. 

Next, you should probably do your own research on the other ingredients that are included alongside caffeine. Part of the problem with that is that the brands that make caffeine pills aren't very transparent about how much of some of the other ingredients are included.

For sure, some of the inactive ingredients in Vivarin should raise some eyebrows and lead us to at least pause and ask a few questions. But, we just don't know how much of these ingredients are actually included in the recipe. 

Lastly, caffeine can cause mild dehydration, which is something else you need to be aware of if you plan to take caffeine pills. More on that later...

Caffeine pills vs energy drinks

The pros of caffeine pills versus energy drinks are:

• price

• ease of consumption

• convenience of packaging

The cons of caffeine pills when compared to energy drinks are:

• the effects

• the added "inactive ingredients"

• how enjoyable they are to consume

• taste

Energy drinks typically contain anywhere between 50mg to 300mg of caffeine per serve.

Caffeine pills contain 200mg of caffeine per pill. 

Each Vivarin caffeine pill has 200mg of caffeine inside.
Each Vivarin pill contains 200mg of caffeine.

The good vs energy drinks

Caffeine pills work out to be somewhere around $0.60 per pill by the time you factor in shipping. That's considerably cheaper than most energy drinks, which average anywhere in the $2-$3 range with a few cheaper and a few more expensive options. 

Caffeine pills win on price, but what good is that if they don't give you anywhere near the same boost as you would get from an energy drink?

However, caffeine pills aren't much cheaper than REIZE Energy Drink which comes to around $1 per drink with shipping. 

It's certainly faster to simply swallow a pill than it is to chug a can, so that's another win for caffeine pills. It's also easier and more convenient to carry a bunch of them around in your pocket. Energy drink cans are quite big and bulky. 

But hey, that's just another great thing about powder energy drinks, including REIZE. Instead of carrying a can, you only need to carry a small sachet around the size of a credit card and you can make your energy drink fresh whenever you want. 

The bad vs energy drinks

If you're wondering about the effects and whether or not caffeine pills actually work, then feel free to skip ahead to further down the page. 

Spoiler alert - the energy boost from caffeine pills was a disappointment compared to energy drinks.

The list of "inactive ingredients" in Vivarin caffeine pills is pretty scary once you start doing a little digging into what each of the ingredients actually do. Several of them have been linked to cancer, something that I'm not terribly keen to acquire.

Lastly, there's no denying that an energy drink is just a more enjoyable experience and clearly tastes much better than simply downing a pill with a few ounces of water. 

If you haven't found an energy drink that you think tastes good yet, then you need to keep looking because they are definitely out there. 

Caffeine pills vs coffee

All of the same pros and cons apply when comparing caffeine pills to coffee, so I won't rehash them here. 

Despite containing about twice as much caffeine as you can expect to get in a regular Joe, caffeine pills don't deliver anywhere near the energy boost that you would get from a coffee (in my experience). 

One great thing about coffee is that the consumer has a lot of control over what they add to their blend. Creamers and sugar can make the proposition considerably less healthy. Of course, if you go without those things it will also taste worse too. 

Personally, if given the choice between having a coffee, energy drink or caffeine pill the pill would be the last thing that I would choose.

Despite the lower price tag, the negatives mean that the other options are far better in my opinion.

A cup of coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine.
Coffee provides a much better energy boost compared to caffeine pills in my opinion.

Popular brands of caffeine pills

There are quite a few brands competing for a slice of the caffeine pill pie, including:

• Vivarin

• ProLab

• Nutricost

• Focused Energy

• Smartervitamins 

• Fused Focus

• Zhou Supplements

• Genius

• Natrol High

• Best Naturals

• NoDoz

• Elite

• Vali

What are the side effects of caffeine pills?

Like anything containing caffeine, too much of a good thing can cause problems. 

Too much caffeine can cause:

• increased thirst

• dizziness

• insomnia

• diarrhea

• headache

• fever

• irritability

Do caffeine pills help you lose weight?

No, consuming caffeine pills alone will not help you to lose weight.

However, there have been many studies show that consuming caffeine in combination with exercise can help you to burn more calories than doing exercise without consuming caffeine. 

Caffeine pills alone won't help you lose weight.
Consuming caffeine pills alone without doing exercise won't help you to lose weight.

Do caffeine pills dehydrate you?

Yes, consuming caffeine pills increases the risk of dehydration. 

In my opinion, the risk of dehydration is the most dangerous thing about consuming a moderate amount of caffeine. That's just one of the many reasons that I prefer to drink my caffeine instead of swallowing it in a pill. 

At least if you drink it you are guaranteeing that you are getting some fluids at the same time as the caffeine which will help guard against dehydration.

Do caffeine pills actually work?

In my experience?

Not really. 

I was really disappointed in my test drive of caffeine pills, especially in light of the fact that each pill contains 200mg of caffeine. 

Honestly, I felt a slight buzz for about 15 minutes and that was it. 2 hours later I was yawning and 3 hours later I had a nap because I couldn't pull myself through the afternoon slump. 

More on this below...

How long does a caffeine pill last?

In theory, caffeine should kick in after about 20 minutes of consumption and last for 3-6 hours, varying a bit from person to person. 

But for me, I felt a small increase in energy and alertness for about 15 minutes and then I wasn't sure if I felt any different to before I took the pill. 

How many caffeine pills can I take a day?

The US FDA has cited 400mg of caffeine as a safe limit for healthy adults, but they note that there is a fair amount in variation in this. 

As each pill contains 200mg of caffeine, that means that 2 pills in a day would get you to that 400mg threshold. 

The Vivarin packaging itself says to wait at least 3-4 hours before consuming another pill. 

How much caffeine does it take to kill you?

While there have been deaths attributed to caffeine consumption, they are quite rare. 

It's generally thought that the lethal dose of caffeine is 200mg per kilogram of bodyweight. 

That means that a 180-pound man would need to consume around 16,363mg of caffeine. 

That's a lot!

To put that in perspective, that's the amount of caffeine that you would get in 204 cans of Red Bull or around 160 cups of regular coffee. 

You are more likely to die from your partner killing you for spending so much money on caffeinated drinks than you are to actually overdose yourself. 

However, as usually, people who have pre-existing health conditions or who are sensitive to caffeine for other reasons should exercise care and talk to their health professional. 

Caffeine pills cost

I bought a pack of 32 Vivarin caffeine pills on Amazon for $15 including shipping which works out to be $0.60 per pill.

That's cheaper than a can of energy drink, which range anywhere from around $1 up to about $4, depending on the brand and where you buy it.

Caffeine pills on Amazon

You can find Vivarin on Amazon, or you can simply search Amazon for "caffeine pills" to see other brands as well.

Caffeine pills for studying

Consuming caffeine before or during study can be beneficial. Whether that caffeine comes from an energy drink or from a caffeine pill, the effects are likely to be fairly similar. 

Caffeine has been shown to have a bunch of positive cognitive effects, which is the main reason that students love it so much around exam time. But, be careful not to overdo it. 

Remember that caffeine is caffeine, regardless of the source. So, if the caffeine you consume comes from a natural ingredient, it will still affect you in the same way as caffeine that is synthetically produced.

Caffeine can help you to stay alert for longer and get through an all-nighter, but usually it's best to plan to get a good nights' sleep instead of pulling an all-nighter if you can help it. 

Remember that caffeine is not a substitute for sleep and eventually you will need a good sleep to rest and rejuvenate. 

Best caffeine pills

I have only tried Vivarin pills and I wasn't overly impressed with the effects. 

All of the brands that I mentioned above are available on Amazon. I've scanned through all of them to find out which brand had the best reviews overall. 

The winner is...

Smarter Vitamins with a customer rating of 4.6 out of 5.

NoDoz and Vivarin were hot on their heels. 

I don't agree with that rating for Vivarin, but clearly, other people had a positive experience.

The Vivarin caffeine pills packaging.
The back of a box of Vivarin caffeine pills.

Natural caffeine pills

Some caffeine pills might market themselves as natural, but they all contain synthetic ingredients.

The reference to "natural" ingredients mostly refers to the source of the caffeine.

But again, remember that caffeine is caffeine, regardless of the source. Natural or synthetic, it affects the body in the same way. One is not healthier than the other.

The additional ingredients used in caffeine pills have been linked to a wide range of serious health problems, as already mentioned.

Vivarin caffeine pills review

To give you a little context about my caffeine sensitivity, I drink caffeine every day. Sometimes only a little, sometimes 2-3 caffeinated drinks in a day. 

Whether it’s energy drinks, coffee, tea or some combination of them, I've made caffeine part of my daily routine and I absolutely love it.

So, I was excited to try caffeine pills to see how they compare to energy drinks or coffee.

I was a little bit concerned that 200mg of caffeine in the single pill might be a little bit too much, and after taking my pill together with my girlfriend who also took a full pill at 12:30pm I was bracing myself for what I thought might of been a overpowering and overwhelming kick.

Instead of feeling wired from too much caffeine and experiencing any of the negative effects like hot flushes or an inability to concentrate, I would say that the energy boost that I got from taking a caffeine pill was very underwhelming, and frankly, quite disappointing.

About 30 minutes after taking the pill I started to feel some good effects and I was excited.

In my mind I was telling myself "here we go, this is going to be good", and that excitement lasted for about 15 minutes.

A disappointment 

Unfortunately though, things never really kicked in and an hour after taking the pill I wasn't even sure if I felt any different than before I took it. 2 hours after taking the pill I was yawning and felt like I could take a nap and 3 hours after taking the pill I couldn't resist the comfort of my bed and it was time for a power-siesta.

That never happens to me when I drink an energy drink or coffee, so it was quite a surprise.

Also worth mentioning is that the day before having the caffeine pill I drank a can of Celsius energy drink, which also contains 200mg of caffeine. I found Celsius to be an overpowering and uncomfortable energy boost that I didn't really enjoy.

The same amount of caffeine, but very different effects.

I think this shows that it isn't only the caffeine in energy drinks that contributes to your energy boost, but the combination of ingredients all work together.

In the few hours after we each had a pill, I asked my girlfriend if she could feel anything at various points, and she said that she didn't feel a thing. Nothing at all. She's 5'8", 110 pounds and doesn't drink caffeine all that often. 

Not what I was expecting

I have to admit, before I tried a caffeine pill I was a little worried that it might be fantastic.

I thought that if it delivered a similar energy boost to an energy drink that it might be a real threat to energy drinks because of the much lower price of a pill compared to a can. But I am happy (or disappointed?) to report that caffeine pills just don't measure up to energy drinks in terms of the effects that I feel from consuming each of them. 

So there's no need to worry that everyone will drop their energy drinks and switch to caffeine pills anytime soon, despite the cheaper price tag.

The funny thing is, even though I felt almost nothing and my girlfriend didn't notice any changes in the way she felt either, we couldn't just go ahead and have a 2nd pill soon after taking the first. That would be getting us to a dangerous amount of caffeine since each pill contains 200mg of caffeine. 

The bottom line?

Stick with energy drinks if you want a good energy boost that tastes great and is also enjoyable to consume.

Re-reading the list of "inactive ingredients" (mentioned above) and the associated health risks of some of the ingredients also makes me want to avoid these pills. 

Caffeine pills contain inactive ingredients that have been linked to cancer.
Caffeine pills contain a lot of questionable "inactive ingredients".

Alternatives to caffeine pills

Caffeine pills are a cheap option to get some quick caffeine, but in my opinion they don't deliver on their promise of an effective energy boost. I prefer energy drinks or a black coffee. 

If you're looking for some great energy drinks to try instead of caffeine pills, here's a list of some flavors and brands that you should take a closer look at. 

Ready-to-drink cans:

• Red Bull

• Rockstar

Rip It energy drink

Celsius drinks

XS drinks

Monster Import energy drink

Energy drink powders:

Zipfizz

Advocare Spark

G Fuel

• REIZE (10 out of 10)

These are some of the best energy drinks on the market, but there are plenty of others out there too if you do some research.

There are many great energy drinks that work better than caffeine pills.
There are plenty of great alternatives to caffeine pills.

Better than caffeine pills

If you're looking for an affordable energy boost that doesn't disappoint, you might want to take a closer look at REIZE Energy Drink. 

REIZE is a powder that you mix with water to make a delicious energy drink anytime you need a boost and it ships right to your door for around $1 per drink.

Give REIZE a try today and you might just find that you prefer it to caffeine pills.

Posted on

Advocare Spark Energy Drink Caffeine and Ingredients

Spark drinks contain 120mg of caffeine per sachet.

Advocare Spark energy drink is an energy drink powder sold by independent distributors. That means it’s a multi-level marketing product. Advocare positions their Spark drinks as a vitamin and amino acid supplement, but the ingredients are typical of most energy drinks.

What is Advocare Spark drink?

Advocare Spark is an energy drink powder that you mix with 8 fl.oz of water to make a nice energy drink. Spark comes in 10 different flavors, is sugar free and contains 120mg caffeine per serve.

Each serving contains 15 calories.

Each sachet contains a ¼ ounce of dry powder. When mixed as directed, one sachet makes the same amount of liquid as a typical 8-ounce can of energy drink.

Advocare Spark comes in a sachet.
Advocare Spark is a powder energy drink that comes in a sachet.

What are the ingredients in Spark?

Each sachet of Spark energy drink contains:

• 15 calories

• 120mg caffeine

• 4 grams of carbohydrates

• Vitamin A

• 180mg of Vitamin C

• Vitamin E

• 3mg of Thiamine

• 3.4mg of Riboflavin

• 60mg of Niacin

• 15mg of Vitamin B6

• 45mcg of Vitamin B12

• 50mg of Pantothenic acid

• 3mg Zinc

• 200mcg Copper

• 24mcg Chromium

• 500mg Choline

• 500mg L-Tyrosine

• 200mg Taurine

• 100mg Glycine

• 10mg L-Carnitine

• 10mg Inositol

• maltodextrin

• citric acid

• natural flavor

• artificial flavor

• sucralose (Splenda)

• silicon dioxide.

How much caffeine is in a Spark?

One sachet of Advocare Spark energy drink contains 120mg of caffeine. That is slightly more than the average 8 fl.oz can of energy drink, which typically contains 80mg of caffeine.

It's also slightly more than the average cup of Joe, which contains around 100mg of caffeine. 

Advocare Spark drink contains slightly more caffeine than a coffee.
Advocare Spark contains slightly more caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.

How often should you drink Advocare Spark?

The packaging doesn't mention a daily limit, but common sense tells us that we should probably limit ourselves. 

Spark drinks packaging does include a caution:

"Pregnant or nursing women should consult a healthcare professional prior to use. Not for use by children or persons who are sensitive to caffeine or choline".

To get a definitive answer on how many Spark drinks you should drink in a day you should talk to your health professional. 

However, products with a similar amount of caffeine usually recommend no more than 2 daily. 

Keep in mind that Advocare Spark includes a bunch of different vitamins that are all way over the recommended daily values.

That's for a single drink. 

So, perhaps you could argue that you should limit your daily consumption of Spark to one per day.

Really, there's no health benefit to having so many water-soluble vitamins in Spark, and too much of them can lead to health problems. 

There are lots of great energy drinks out there, but we should drink all of them in moderation, including Spark.

Is Advocare Spark sugar free?

Yes, Advocare Spark is sugar-free. Instead of sugar, it is sweetened with Sucralose which is 400-700 times sweeter than sugar.

Is there Splenda in Spark?

Yes, Spark does contain Splenda aka Sucralose. The Spark packaging does not specify how much Splenda is included in a single sachet.

Spark energy drink is sugar free, but does contain splenda
Spark is sweetened with sucralose (Splenda) instead of sugar.

Are Spark drinks a vitamin & amino acid supplement?

Advocare markets Spark energy drink as a “vitamin & amino acid supplement”.

Sounds good, right?

The claims about amino acids are due to the inclusion of L-tyrosine, Glycine and L-carnitine.

The problem is, these ingredients are only included in very small quantities

L-tyrosine in Spark

The main promise of L-tyrosine are its stress-fighting qualities.

To have any meaningful impact in this regard, individuals should consume 45-68mg per pound of bodyweight. That means a 200 pound person should consume 9-13 grams of L-tyrosine to get any positive effects from this amino acid.

How much L-tyrosine is in Spark energy drink?

Just half of one gram.

Nowhere near enough to get any benefits.

Glycine in Advocare Spark 

How about Glycine, surely there’s plenty of that in Spark drinks?

Glycine promises to help us get a good night sleep. Scientific research shows that 3 grams of glycine taken an hour before sleep is enough to get the benefits of a better sleep.

Unfortunately, Spark energy drink strikes out again, with just 100mg of glycine.

That’s about one-thirtieth the amount required to get any benefits from taking it.

L-Carnitine in Spark energy drink

Lastly, we have L-carnitine which promises to reduce the effects of ageing and help to burn fat.

Brilliant!

Science shows that the minimum effective does to get any benefit from L-Carnitine is 500mg to 2 grams.

How much of this great stuff is in Spark drinks?

Wait for it…. Just 10mg.

Around 1% of the amount that you need to get any benefit from it.

What this all means is that Spark energy drink contains some fancy sounding amino acids, but none of them are present in anywhere near the amount required to derive any benefit from them.

So, why on Earth would they so proudly boast “amino acid supplement” on the front of the Spark drink packaging if the levels of amino acids present in the drink are so low?

In a word?

Marketing.

I hope you didn’t fall for it.

Advocare Spark marketing team meeting.
I wonder if the marketing team meeting looked something like this. "...and then, if we print 'vitamin & amino acid supplement' on the sachets no one will ever check how much we actually include..."

Advocare Spark flavors

Advocare Spark is available in 10 different flavors:

• Cherry

• Grape

• Mandarin orange

• Citrus

• Fruit punch

• Mango strawberry

• Pink lemonade

• Green apple

• Watermelon

• Blue raspberry

Where to buy Spark energy drink

As a multi-level marketing product, you may already know some people who are selling Spark energy drink. The problem is, if you buy Spark from a MLM reseller you will need to pay an unnecessarily high price so that they can make a profit.

Those resellers are completely unnecessary in the transaction.

To cut out the middleman, we suggest buying energy drinks directly from the manufacturer. You could try our delicious REIZE, or you could instead opt to pick up some Spark energy drink from Amazon.

On Amazon, you can usually expect fast shipping and Spark drinks will cost you around $2.20 per drink shipped to your door.

You can also find sellers of Spark on Ebay.

You can buy spark drinks online easily on Amazon.
Amazon and Ebay are both good options to buy Spark energy drink powder online.

Spark energy drink price

At a little over $2 per drink Spark energy drink is middle of the road for value.

If you are considering buying Spark energy drink from a MLM reseller there is a good chance that they might ask you to pay a lot more.

Spark energy drink is cheaper than ready to drink cans of energy drink like Rockstar, Monster and Red Bull, but is more than double the cost of REIZE.

REIZE ships to your door for around $1 per drink

Spark energy drink review

For a comprehensive review of Advocare Spark, check out this article. For the short version, see below.

I paid $30.73 for a 14 pack of Spark drinks on Amazon. That’s $2.20 per drink shipped to my door.

I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t find a mixed pack, so I got a 14 pack of mango strawberry flavor. 14 servings of the one flavor.

Shipping was a bit slower than I was expecting. Perhaps they didn’t get around to packing my order for a few days, but I didn’t get my drinks until almost a week after I bought them.

The package came with all of the sachets loosely packed in a polystyrene cover that was sticky taped together. The box that I saw on the Amazon listing was nowhere to be seen.

This felt cheap and tacky.

The ugly Spark drink packaging.
The Advocare Spark packaging was pretty ugly. What happened to the nice box that I saw in the Amazon listing??

Advocare Spark packets

I noticed the smell of the drinks as soon as I unwrapped the polystyrene box that they came in.

It was surprising that I could smell anything at all considering the fact that all of the drinks were supposedly vacuum sealed in their sachets.

It smelled like one of the sachets was slightly opened and some of the powder had spilled out onto the surrounding packaging, but I couldn’t see any evidence or stains from the powder.

The smell remains a mystery.

Advocare Spark flavor review

I opened a sachet and poured all of the powder into a cup and then poured 8 fl.oz cold water on top, as the packaging recommends.

Then, I let it stand for a minute and gave the cup a couple of swirls to help the mixing process.

I was surprised to find that, unlike many other energy drinks, Spark mango-strawberry doesn’t fizz.

It just sat there like a completely flat drink with no hint of carbonation. I don’t really mind either way, I just found it interesting that they have opted for a non-carbonated energy drink blend.

More concerning was the fact that it didn’t mix very well.

The surface of the drink looked like it had a very thin layer of ice across the top.

Of course, it wasn’t actually ice. Instead, it appeared to be areas where the powder hadn’t mixed very well and had clumped together on the surface.

The good news is that this thin surface layer disappeared after I had my first sip.

First impressions?

Delicious. Really nice.

I can see why most people give it the thumbs up.

But again, when I got to the bottom of the drink the final mouthful of liquid hadn’t mixed properly and there were big ugly clumps of powder still stuck to the bottom of the cup.

Advocare Spark powder does not mix very well.
Advocare Spark energy drink powder doesn't mix very well.

Does Spark actually work?

In terms of effects, I didn’t notice anything drastic, which I think is good.

It’s hard to say that I got a noticeable energy boost, but I also didn’t feel any energy slump, including after lunch which was about an hour after I had the drink.

Overall, I would say that I got a gentle energy boost that lasted for a few hours before I noticed that my energy levels were back to where they started, or perhaps a bit lower.

I did notice a few effects that I didn’t really like though.

Firstly, despite the really nice taste, there is a little bit of a “tinny” aftertaste.

It’s not overpowering, but it’s enough to make you want to make sure that you’ve got some kind of a "chaser" drink handy to wash it down when you’re finished drinking your Spark energy drink.

I was really thirsty for hours and hours after drinking Spark energy drink. This is probably just because of the 120mg caffeine. At least that’s my guess, but I just couldn’t stop drinking cold water all afternoon.

My pee was bright yellow too. Probably because of all of the vitamins that are over and above the % daily requirements.

According to the packaging, there are 7 different vitamins in Spark energy drink that are each at least double the recommended daily intake percentage.

That is completely unnecessary, because they are all water soluble, meaning that we pee out anything over and above 100% of our daily requirements.

I guess that would explain my bright yellow pee.

Spark drink after-effects

Something else that I noticed was my tummy felt a bit sick about 3 hours after I drank Spark energy drink. This wasn’t anything major, and it might have simply been a coincidence that I didn’t feel great, but I didn’t change anything else about my regular lunch and usually I feel fine.  

It seems like I'm not the only one that felt that way. 

My Spark review scorecard

Overall, I would say that Spark energy drink tasted great, albeit with a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. The effects were a gentle energy boost that lasted about 3 hours, with no noticeable crash.

The main bad effect from drinking Spark energy drink was how thirsty I was for the rest of the day. Drinking a lot of water is a good thing, but I really craved cold water and probably drank at least 30 ounces of water throughout the course of the afternoon because I felt like I needed to.

I give Spark energy drink a 7/10.

It tastes good and delivers a gentle energy boost.

Where it falls short is the poor mixing of the powder, how thirsty it made me and I’m also going to deduct a point for the ugly packaging that it arrived in.

For $2.20 per drink I would have expected something a bit nicer.

Is Spark good for weight loss?

No. 

Drinking Spark drinks alone will not help you to lose weight.

However, there have been plenty of studies show that consuming caffeine in combination with exercise can help you to burn more fat than if you did exercise without caffeine.

Spark drink contains caffeine, so you could make an argument that drinking Spark AND exercising will have a beneficial impact on your weight loss efforts.

But of course, most energy drinks contain caffeine, so we could say the same thing about most energy drinks too.

Advocare Spark Alternatives

Some of the best energy drinks.
There are lots of great energy drinks available.

There are plenty of great products that are similar to Advocare Spark that you should probably know about.

Here's a few of our favorites:

Powders:

Zipfizz (checkout my review here)

Gfuel

• REIZE Energy Drink (10 out of 10)

Ready-to-drink cans:

• Red Bull

• Rockstar

Monster Import

XS energy drink

Rip It drinks

Celsius drinks

You might even want to consider caffeinated pills if cans and powders aren't your thing.

Even better than Advocare Spark

If you are interested in a great value energy drink, check out REIZE which is a powdered energy drink, just like Spark and Zip Fizz.

REIZE is also sugar free, contains even fewer calories than Spark, but ships to your door for around $1 per drink.

That's less than half the price of Advocare Spark.

If you love sugar-free powdered energy drinks, you’ll love REIZE.

Give it a try today and you might just find that you prefer it to Spark.

Posted on

Zipfizz Energy Drink Caffeine & Ingredients

Information about Zipfizz energy drink caffeine and ingredients.

Zipfizz is a powder that transforms regular water into an energy drink. It contains 100mg of caffeine per serve as well as a variety of other ingredients typical of energy drinks and is available in a range of flavors.

Zip Fizz comes in single-serve tubes and they recommend to mix a single serve with 16-20 ounces of water. But, you can mix it with more or less water to suit your taste your taste preferences.

This is also true for other powder energy drink formulas like Spark drink, Gfuel and REIZE. That's just one of the reasons that we love them so much and make our own.

Zipfizz company overview

With over a dozen flavors in their energy drink powder range as well as sports and vitamin drinks, Zipfizz is fast becoming a global powerhouse.

The company was acquired by a Chinese food and beverage giant in 2018 for $80 million, perhaps signifying the beginning of a new era of growth in Asia, or perhaps signalling a shift in production to China to save some money.

Zipfizz flavors

Zipfizz energy drink powders are available in 11 different flavors:

• Orange soda

• Grape

• Fruit punch

• Blueberry raspberry

• Pink lemonade

• Berry

• Black cherry

• Citrus

• Orange cream

• Pink grapefruit

• Lemon iced tea

Zip Fizz is also available as a ready-to-drink energy shot. That flavor is fruit punch.

10 of the 11 Zipfizz energy drinks flavors.
10 of the 11 Zipfizz energy drink flavors.

Zipfizz ingredients

Each tube of Zip Fizz contains:

• 20 calories

• 2g of carbohydrates

• 100mg of caffeine

• 500mg of Vitamin C

• 15 IU of Vitamin E

• 2,150 IU of Vitamin A

• 500mg of Vitamin C

• 0.75mg of Thiamine

• 0.85mg of Riboflavin

• 10mg of Niacin

• 1mg of Vitamin B6

• 200mcg of Folate

• 2,500mg of Vitamin B12 (41,667% of the recommended daily value)

• 5mg of Pantothenic acid

• 60mg of Calcium

• 100mg of Magnesium

• 7.5mg of Zinc

• 35mcg of Selenium

• 0.25mg of Copper

• 950mg of Potassium

• 75mg of Sodium

• 60mcg of Chromium

• 1mg of Manganese

• Grape seed extract (amount not specified)

• Green tea extract (amount not specified)

• Guarana (amount not specified)

Although, there does seem to be some confusion about the inclusion of Guarana, because the company says that the caffeine comes from Guarana, but then they don’t mention Guarana in the list of ingredients.  

How much caffeine is in Zipfizz?

Each tube of Zipfizz contains 100mg of caffeine. 100mg of caffeine per tube is a good amount. Not too much, not too little.

That's about the same as a regular coffee.

Zipfizz and coffee contain about the same amount of caffeine
A Zipfizz contains about the same amount of caffeine as a regular coffee.

Zipfizz vitamins

Zipfizz contains a bunch of different vitamins, including some artificial vitamins such as Riboflavin (synthetic B2), Cyanocobalamin (Synthetic B12) and D-Calcium Pantothenate. There may also be other artificial vitamins, but the packaging doesn't reveal whether the other vitamins are natural or synthetic. 

I don't really mind taking synthetic vitamins. I'm not so worried about my vitamins that I shop in the "organic" food section in the grocery store, but my main concern about the list of vitamins inside a tube of Zipfizz is the amount of some of them. 

There's 833% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C, and get this... 41,667% of the recommended daily value of the above mentioned, artificial Vitamin B2. 

What on Earth were they thinking?

Firstly, these vitamins (B & C) are "water soluble".

This means that our bodies don't store any surplus to requirements and flush them straight out of our bodies on the next visit to the washroom. 

Next, why would you want to put in so much of an artificial ingredient anyway?

Of lesser concern, but still worth mentioning, some studies have shown that extremely high quantities of these vitamins may cause a range of health issues including acne and other skin problems. 

I'm no mathematician, but I would guess that 41,667% of the daily dose qualifies as "extremely high".

Botanical Antioxidant blend

Each tube of Zipfizz contains 205mg of what Zipfizz calls “Botanical Antioxidant blend”.

This is a proprietary blend with a fancy marketing name for the purpose of including something healthy sounding in the list of ingredients. 

Many energy drink brands invent a special name for some "unique formula" that only they know. They then trademark that name so that they are the only ones that are allowed to promote that their product contains the said miracle blend. 

But the truth is that these special blends that are unique to each brand aren't amazing scientific break-throughs. All of the ingredients are readily available already. But the exact ratio is kept a secret and that is what is trademarked and used for marketing purposes.

If you look closely at the 205mg that makes up this “Botanical Antioxidant Blend” you will notice that 100mg of the 205mg is caffeine.

That means there is only 105mg of the other ingredients.

Zipfizz Botanical Antioxidant blend on the label.
The Zipfizz label showing the "Botanical Antioxidant Blend".

105mg of what?

The other ingredients in the "Botanical Antioxidant Blend", besides 100mg of caffeine, are:

• Guarana seed extract

• Green tea leaf extract

• Alpha-Lipoic acid

• Green coffee bean extract

• Grape seed extract

• Grape skin extract

The amount of each of these ingredients is top secret. After all, they are the only ones that now the exact ratio of all of the things go into making their trademarked "Botanical Antioxidant Blend".

Wink, wink...

The name of the blend gives away their intentions. It seems clear to me that Zipfizz are using this as a marketing weapon to be able to claim that Zipfizz has antioxidant qualities.

The label doesn't say how much of each of these ingredients are included in a tube, but we know that in total they all add up to just 105mg. 

The problem is, to have any sort of antioxidant properties you need around 300mg of EGCG per day. Some experts suggest an even higher dose is required to get any benefits.

Clearly, 105mg is well short of the requirements to reach what is considered to be a clinically effective dose.

What this means is that the ingredients in Zipfizz won’t give you a meaningful antioxidant boost. 

Is Zipfizz really healthy?

Zipfizz tubes say "healthy energy", but are they really healthy?
The Zipfizz tube proudly boasts "healthy energy".

The Zipfizz slogan is "healthy energy", it's printed at the top of every tube. 

In my opinion, Zip Fizz is no healthier or worse than most other energy drinks. Sure, it contains a bunch of vitamins, but many of them are artificial which isn't exactly "healthy". 

There are some good ingredients included in their top-secret proprietary blend, however the total amount of those ingredients is so tiny that they may as well not be included at all. 

But alas, marketing requires them to be included in the list of ingredients...

I think it's great that Zip Fizz is sugar-free and only contains 20 calories, but there are plenty of other great energy drinks out there that are also sugar-free, with even less calories.

REIZE Energy Drink is one of them (and it's my personal favorite).

Does Zipfizz make you lose weight?

No.

Drinking Zipfizz alone will not help you to lose weight. However, combining caffeine with exercise may help you to burn more calories than if you exercise without consuming caffeine. 

For that reason, you could say that drinking Zip Fizz in combination with exercise does help you to lose weight. 

But the same is also true for any other caffeinated energy drink.

Does Zipfizz break a fast?

The general consensus is that Zipfizz does not break a fast, but the only way to be certain is for you to check your blood sugar levels. 

Zipfizz does contain artificial sweeteners, which have been shown to spike insulin levels in some studies, but not in others. 

The jury is still out on the effect of artificial sweeteners and fasting

It's worth considering your reason for fasting and how terrible it would be if you broke your fast inadvertently. If the penalty for being wrong is minimal, then you don't have much to lose.

But, if the ramifications of being wrong are significant, it's probably best to play it safe and skip Zipfizz while fasting.

This guy is a fan of Zipfizz and thinks that it doesn't break a fast.

Where to buy Zipfizz

You can buy Zipfizz online on Amazon, Sam's ClubThe Vitamin Shoppe or Ebay.

It’s also available at Costco, FredMeyer, Bartell Drugs, Hi-health and BJ’s wholesale club.

Or you might find this research on the best Zipfizz deals helpful. 

How much does Zipfizz cost?

Zip Fizz costs a little over $2 per serve, depending on where you buy it. You may also be able to take advantage of special offers or sales and get cheap deals from time to time.

At roughly $2.25 per serve, it’s not the cheapest, nor the most expensive option in the energy drink category.

It’s definitely cheaper than the likes of Red Bull, Monster Import and Rockstar. But it’s also about double the price of my personal favorite, REIZE.

Oh, and REIZE includes shipping to your door for that deliciously low $1 price tag.

Zipfizz Review

I bought a 10 pack of Zipfizz on Amazon for $22.50 and was excited to give it a try. That’s $2.25 per drink to get them to my door.

I was a little disappointed to find that I didn’t receive a notification that my order had shipped for 4 days after I made the order. In recent years I've started buying virtually everything online and was expecting faster shipping.

The packaging wasn’t anything special and there were no surprises inside the box.

It felt a bit “mass produced”.

Zipfizz Taste review

Zipfizz orange soda powder before mixing with water
Zipfizz Orange Soda flavor powder before mixing with water.

The first flavor that I tried was orange soda and I mixed it with about 16 ounces of cold water, just as the website recommends. The smell of the powder was like orange sherbet and the mixing process after I added water to the glass was fast.

I let it stand for a minute until it looked like mixing had finished and had my first taste.

First impressions were pretty darn good.

A freshly mixed glass of Zip Fizz orange soda flavor
A freshly mixed Zipfizz Orange Soda with a lot of artificial-looking bubbles and foam on the surface.

In my opinion, it tastes like crushed up orange vitamin C tablets, which I like. The orange flavor doesn't taste overly artificial either, which was a bit of a surprise given the list of ingredients. 

The flavor was consistent until the last couple of mouthfuls of liquid were left in the bottom of the glass where the color was darker than what it was at the top of the glass and some of the powder had settled on the bottom instead of mixing through evenly.

The final couple of mouthfuls of the drink weren’t as nice as the first mouthfuls and I wasn't even game to try to drink the last sip.

Overall, I would say that orange soda Zipfizz was 7/10.

Undissolved powder at the bottom of a glass of Zipfizz orange soda
The last couple of mouthfuls of Zipfizz taste different to the first few mouthfuls because of all the undissolved powder at the bottom of the glass.

Does Zipfizz work?

The effects were a boost in my alertness and wakefulness, and I noticed them after about 30 minutes. It seemed to last for about 2 hours until the energy boost dissipated.

I didn't notice any crash, which is part of the reason I prefer sugar-free energy drinks. 

Later I tried all of the flavors, with my favorites being “Zipfizz fruit punch”, “Zipfizz black cherry” and “Zipfizz orange cream”.

I would say they were about a 8/10.

My least favorite Zipfizz flavors were citrus, pink grapefruit and pink lemonade which I didn’t like at all and wouldn’t suggest you give to your worst enemy.

But hey, some people like them.

More Zip Fizz reviews

There's a mixed bag of reviews online, as you might expect. 

Some people love it and others hate it. 

Here's a taste of each...

Lovers:

This person and many people who bought on Amazon (filter reviews to show only 5-star reviews)

Haters:

• The staff at Inlander.com

• Lots of people who bought Zipfizz on Amazon

This woman reviewed Zipfizz as a potential hangover cure. Most energy drinks contain caffeine and B vitamins, which are all helpful in getting though a nasty hangover.

I also reviewed 10 of the 11 Zipfizz flavors myself, which you might like to check out.

Zipfizz alternatives

Zipfizz is a good energy drink for many reasons, but there are many other great products that are similar, and perhaps even better than Zipfizz. 

Here's a few that you should probably know about...

Powders:

Advocare Spark (check out my review here)

Gfuel

• REIZE (10 out of 10)

Ready-to-drink cans:

• Red Bull

• Monster

• Rockstar

Celsius Drinks

XS Drinks

Rip It energy drink

Products like Zipfizz
There are so many great energy drinks out there just waiting to be discovered.

Or if powders and cans aren't your style, you may want to check out caffeine pills which are another viable alternative. 

Zip-fizzling out...

Considering the value for money, taste and the energy boost I got, I would say Zipfizz is a decent option, but I prefer the taste, price and effects of REIZE Energy Drink.

REIZE is considerably cheaper, and ships right to your door for about $1 per drink. That's about half the price of Zipfizz.

REIZE also contains fewer calories and tastes better in my opinion.

Give it a try today and you might just find that you prefer it to Zipfizz. 

Posted on

CELSIUS ENERGY DRINK – CAFFEINE & INGREDIENTS

Different flavors of Celsius energy drink

Celsius energy drink is a brand of energy drink made by Celsius Holdings in the United States. Celsius drinks are available in 12 fl.oz cans or powder sachets, with the cans containing 200-300mg of caffeine each and the powder sachets containing 200mg of caffeine per serve. 

Celsius originals energy drink flavors
Some of the Celsius "Originals" range of energy drinks

Celsius drink products

Celsius drinks come in both ready-to-drink cans and also in powder form, sold in sachets. 

The company further breaks down their ready-to-drink range into the following 3 categories:

• "Originals" (200mg caffeine per can)

• "Naturals" (200mg caffeine per can)

• "Celsius Heat" (300mg caffeine per can)

All of these categories come in 12 fl.oz cans and several different flavors. 

Celsius "On-The-Go" (powders) come in 4 different flavors and each sachet contains 5.9g of powder and 200mg of caffeine. 

These powders are similar to the likes of Spark drinks, Zipfizz and REIZE. 

Celsius drinks ingredients

Each 12 fl.oz can of Celsius "Originals" energy drinks contain:

• 10 calories per can

• 60mg of Vitamin C

• 1.7mg of Riboflavin (artificial vitamin B2)

• 20mg of Niacinamide

• 2mg of Pyridoxine hydrochloride (artificial vitamin B6)

• 6mcg of Cyanocobalamin (artificial vitamin B12)

• 300mcg of Biotin

• 10mg of D-pantothenate (artificial)

• 50mcg of Chromium

• 1.81g of "Metaplus Proprietary Blend" (which includes 200mg of caffeine and 1.61g of other ingredients)

The nutrition label on a can of Celsius drink
Celsius "Originals" energy drink nutrition information.

Other ingredients included in Celsius "Originals" energy drinks:

• Carbonated filtered water

• Citric acid

• Fruit and vegetable juice (for color)

• Sucralose (artificial sweetener)

• Natural flavor

For a comprehensive breakdown of all of the Celsius drink ingredients, check out my other post where I compare Celsius "Originals", "Naturals", "On-The-Go" and "Heat" all in one place. 

Celsius energy drink caffeine

All of the Celsius "Originals" and "Naturals" cans and "on-the-go" powder sachets contain 200mg of caffeine per serve, which is a lot. 

Celsius "Heat" contains a hefty 300mg of caffeine per can.

That's about as much as having 3 cups of Joe, so be forewarned. 

If you're sensitive to caffeine you might find that it blows your head off. 

Celsius drink flavors

Celsius Originals Flavors

• Orange

• Grape rush

• Watermelon

• Wild berry

• Kiwi guava

• Cola

• Peach mango green tea

• Raspberry acai green tea

Celsius wild berry is part of their "originals" range of drinks
Celsius Wild berry from the "Originals" range.

Celsius Naturals Flavors

• Grapefruit

• Cucumber lime

• Orange pomegranate

• Watermelon berry

• Pineapple coconut

• Strawberries & cream

Celsius On-The-Go flavors

• Orange

• Berry

• Coconut

• Cranberry lemon

Celsius Burn Flavors

• Blueberry pomegranate

• Cherry lime

• Inferno punch

• Strawberry dragonfruit

• Tangerine grapefruit

• Apple jack'd

• Orangesicle

Is Celsius drink healthy?

Celsius drinks are certainly positioning themselves as healthy. Furthermore, they also definitely positioning the "Naturals" range as... natural. 

However, Celsius energy drink (including the "Naturals" range) do contain a bunch of artificial ingredients

The fact that Celsius is sugar-free is great, but there are many other great energy drinks out there that are also sugar-free.

Indeed, the ingredients of Celsius energy drink are typical of most energy drinks. 

While Celsius drinks are likely no "worse" for you than any other energy drink, it's also not clear that it is actually any healthier than any other sugar-free energy drink. 

The Celsius drink expiry date is printed on the bottom of the can.
The bottom of the Celsius can shows the expiry date of the drink.

Celsius drinks "metaplus" proprietary blend

Like many energy drinks, Celsius drinks have their own special "proprietary blend" of ingredients. 

Many brands trademark a proprietary blend so that they are the only ones that can say that they contain that particular blend. In truth, all of the ingredients within the blend already exist and are available to anyone to use. 

The energy drink brands (in this case Celsius) haven't invented anything new other than a fancy sounding name that they can use for marketing. 

However, the Celsius "MetaPlus" blend contains:

• 1.81 grams in total

• 200mg of caffeine

• Taurine (amount not specified)

• Guarana extract (amount not specified)

• Glucuronolactone (amount not specified)

• Ginger extract (amount not specified)

• Green tea leaf extract (amount not specified, but "standardized to 15% EGCG)

Celsius energy drinks contain MetaPlus blend.
Celsius really got some Mileage out of the university studies that "proved" all of their health claims. Just look at all of those claims... and asterisks!

No mention of caffeine?

The thing that bothers me the most about the Celsius "MetaPlus" formula and the claims that they print all over the can is the fact that it doesn't even mention caffeine.

Not a mention.

This is despite the university studies making several mentions about how the increase in metabolic rate and resting energy expenditure observed after drinking Celsius wasn't surprising given that Celsius contains 200mg of caffeine. 

But the Celsius can makes absolutely no mention of caffeine in their MetaPlus formula, as if to imply that the increased metabolic rate is the result of the other ingredients, and not the caffeine. 

I would welcome Celsius paying for another round of university studies to test the effectiveness of their "MetaPlus" blend without the caffeine to see what effect that would have versus a placebo.

However, my guess is that Celsius would be a little hesitant to commission those studies because they already know what the results will show. 

The bottom line?

Caffeine is good.

Zipfizz energy drink are another brand with their own special blend of ingredients. The name of their special blend is also trademarked, of course. 

Celsius drinks marketing

The Celsius drink cans are plastered with pictures and phrases associated with health, wellness and fitness. 

Celsius are definitely going after the health conscious demographic with their highly caffeinated beverages. 

They seem to be targeting everyone in the category from overweight women who want to get back into shape to muscle-bound gym freaks looking for that extra burst of energy to pump out another rep in the gym. 

It seems to be working. 

Celsius Holdings is listed on the Nasdaq (CELH), with reported revenue for 2017 of $36 million, more than double from the same period two years prior. 

Business is booming and it looks like their marketing of the drink as healthy is doing the trick.

A can of Celsius sparkling cola helps to generate large profits for Celsius holdings.
Celsius drinks produce healthy... profits for shareholders.

University studies on Celsius Drinks

Celsius drinks commissioned 6 studies to "prove" the effectiveness of their products.

In actual fact, I think all they proved is that caffeine is a great ingredient to include in an energy drink.

Study #1

The first study compared the effect of drinking Diet Coke vs Celsius in a group of healthy people to measure the increase on metabolic rate after drinking the two drinks.

Celsius contains a lot more caffeine than Diet Coke.  

The study itself mentions that previous studies had already shown that caffeine increases metabolic rate in accordance with the dose.

In other words, the more caffeine you consume, the more your metabolic rate increases.

Newsflash...

Celsius (and virtually every other energy drink) contain caffeine. If caffeine increases metabolic rate, then Celsius increases metabolic rate. 

...along with most other energy drinks. 

The study continues "these findings are not surprising considering that Celsius contains 4.4 times more caffeine than Diet Coke".

The study concludes "the effects of repeated, chronic ingestion of Celsius on body composition are unknown".

Did this study prove anything that we didn't already know?

No.

We already knew that caffeine increases metabolic rate and the more caffeine that you have, the more your metabolic rate increases.

Celsius energy drink targets the health conscious
The studies that Celsius paid for found that drinking Celsius alone does not burn fat. However, caffeine combined with exercise can have positive effects.

Study #2

The second study looked at the effect of drinking Celsius on resting energy expenditure (REE), specifically to argue that drinking Celsius helps you to lose weight without doing anything else.

The study found that consuming Celsius did increase the resting energy expenditure and the amount of calories burned in the 3 hours following consumption. 

Why?

Because Celsius contains caffeine. 

Just like almost all energy drinks.

The study continues, "further, single 100mg doses of caffeine have been shown to increase metabolic rate 3-4%". 

And, "Celsius Holdings provided funding for this project".

Study #3

A third study compared Celsius to a placebo over a 28 day period to measure the uplift in resting energy expenditure (REE), just like the 2nd study. 

I won't bore you with the details, but surprise, surprise, the study found that drinking Celsius does increase your resting energy expenditure.

...because it contains caffeine

These guys have been drinking the kool-aid. They mention the university studies as "evidence" of Celsius drink's fat-burning wonders. They also incorrectly mention that there isn't anything artificial in the ingredients, but seem a little unsure about whether it actually tastes good. 

Study #4

A fourth study looked at drinking Celsius before a gym workout on workout performance and compared Celsius with a non-caffeinated placebo. 

You guessed it, the caffeine drinkers performed better

Study #5

The fifth study looked at weight loss effects in overweight women over a 10 week period. 

Yep, the caffeine drinkers lost more weight than those that didn't drink caffeine. 

Study #6

The final study looked at endurance amongst inactive men, comparing Celsius to a placebo. 

Once again, the caffeine drinkers did better

The interesting thing in this last study was that if someone drank Celsius but didn't do any exercise there was no effect on their body composition after 10 weeks. This means that drinking Celsius and sitting on the couch won't help you to lose weight. 

Celsius drinks do not cause weight loss
Celsius even print "Celsius along does not produce weight loss" on their cans. Notice also that the FDA has not evaluated any of Celsius health claims. All of the "proof" about how great Celsius is comes from the university studies that Celsius themselves funded.

To lose weight you need to actually do exercise. It also appears that combining exercise with caffeine consumption can be beneficial for weight loss. 

All of these studies were commissioned and paid for by Celsius and all of these studies are now over 10 years old.

But that hasn't stopped Celsius from banging that drum ever since the studies were completed and getting maximum mileage from their health claims.

In the end, I think that all they proved is that caffeine is fantastic. 

However, Celsius is definitely not the only energy drink that contains caffeine

Does Celsius energy drink burn fat?

Caffeine helps to increase your resting energy expenditure. 

Celsius contains caffeine, so yes, Celsius does help to increase the rate at which you burn fat. 

Just like most energy drinks.

However, Celsius' own studies confirmed that drinking Celsius in the absence of any exercise DOES NOT BURN FAT.

So, although some people on the internet like to talk about how drinking a can of Celsius burns more calories than it contains, their own studies confirmed that caffeine needs to be combined with exercise to get fat-burning benefits.

Does celsius energy drink accelerate metabolism?

Caffeine increases metabolic rate in proportion to the dose. 

Celsius contains caffeine, so yes, drinking Celsius does increase your metabolic rate. 

The same is also true for most other energy drinks too

I was a fan of Thomas DeLauer until I saw this video. I wonder if he bothered to read the university studies before agreeing to make this video for Celsius. 

Where to buy Celsius drinks

You can buy Celsius energy drink in lots of different retail outlets, including:

• Target

• 7-eleven

• GNC

• The Vitamin Shoppe, and 

• Hi-health

Just taking a look at the places where you can buy Celsius energy drink shows the effectiveness of their marketing, branding and positioning as a healthy product.

Health stores (and health store customers) are snapping them up. I assume they also didn't read the university studies for themselves.

You can also buy Celsius drinks online and in these places:

Amazon

Ebay

Supplements Geeks

Nutra Health Supply

Including shipping you should expect to pay somewhere around $2 - $2.25 per can to get Celsius shipped to your door. 

Celsius energy drink price

I paid $26.99 for a mixed 12-pack of Celsius energy drink on Amazon.

That works out to be $2.25 per drink, which isn't the cheapest option in the wide world of energy drinks, but isn't the most expensive option either. 

I would say that Celsius Energy Drink is reasonably priced and is about the middle of the road in terms of price when compared to alternative products. 

However, even at $2.25 per drink it's still more than double the price of REIZE Energy Drink.

A can of Celsius drinks costs about $2.
A can of Celsius drink will run you about $2.

Celsius drink review

There’s a bunch of different ways to score energy drinks in my opinion.

Important items include on my scorecard are:

• Taste

• Caffeine quantity

• Price

• Ingredients

• Effects, and

• Online reviews

So, let’s get to how Celsius does on each of these metrics.

Celsius drink taste review

Quite a few people online mention that the taste of Celsius is a little bit weak and could be stronger, but in my opinion Celsius does pretty well on taste.

Well, the grape rush is fine, but the orange flavor could be a little stronger.

I think sparkling orange is quite nice. Perhaps a little bit weak but pleasant.

It tasted very similar to Fanta in my opinion. Maybe just a little bit of a watered-down version of Fanta.

Due to the artificial ingredients, Celsius does have a slightly artificial aftertaste, but that’s something that I’m willing to tolerate because I would prefer to have an artificial aftertaste then to drink a can full of sugar.

I give Celsius a 7.5 out of 10 for taste.

Celsius Caffeine content review

I think Celsius have gone a little bit too far on the caffeine quantity.

In my opinion, 200 mg of caffeine all at once is excessive and makes it difficult to control your dose which of course can lead to problems like inability to concentrate or worse.

Incidentally, caffeine pills also contain 200mg of caffeine.

I think the perfect amount of caffeine for an energy drink is somewhere between 50 to 100mg per serving.

For that reason, I am not a fan of the amount of caffeine in Celsius and I’m going to give it a score of 4 out of 10 for that reason.

Celsius drink price review

A can of Celsius is quite affordable given the size, taste and the overall ingredients.

Celsius comes in at a bit over two dollars per can, which I think compared to many competitors is very reasonable, but certainly not the cheapest option in the world.

There are definitely better value options out there if you’re willing to look, but it certainly isn’t expensive when compared to competitors like XS drink, Red Bull, Rockstar and others.

I give Celsius a 7 out of 10 for price.

Review of Celsius drinks ingredients

The list of ingredients is something that lets Celsius energy drink down, particularly in light of the way they use the ingredients for the marketing purposes.

This is something that I consider to be deceptive.

Now, I’m not saying that Celsius is any worse for you than any other energy drink, I don’t believe that, but Celsius do make a big fuss about their MetaPlus proprietary blend, which I don’t believe is anything special.

In fact, the way that they splash all of their health claims (all with asterisks mind you) all over the Celsius cans is tacky.

Worst of all is the way that they don’t even mention caffeine being included in their MetaPlus blend, despite all of the university studies that they paid for mentioning that caffeine is known to increase metabolism and increase resting energy expenditure.

It's as though they want you to believe that Celsius is some kind of wonder drink that is somehow superior to other energy drinks. 

Why might that be?

...Marketing.

So, because of the way that they market their ingredients, I’m going to score Celsius a 3 out of 10 on this metric.

Does Celsius energy drink work?

The first time that I had a full can of Celsius all at once was when I tried sparkling orange at 2pm just after I had eaten lunch.

I was a little bit worried about having an entire can of Celsius at 2pm because Celsius contains 200mg of caffeine and I was concerned that perhaps it might affect my ability to sleep that night.  

I finished the can in about 10 minutes and about half an hour after that I started to feel the effects and I have to say it was a little bit overpowering.

Generally speaking, I think I have a pretty good tolerance to caffeine, but even so it was a little bit too much even for me.

My thoughts were a little scattered and I found it difficult to focus on the task at hand. It definitely felt like a strong energy boost, but was a little bit too strong to be able to concentrate.

Surprisingly, I was ready for a nap about 2 hours later. The surge in energy had disappeared as quickly as it came on.

Needless to say, I had no trouble sleeping later that night.

Overall, I think there might have been about 10 minutes of what I would consider to be a "good" amount of boost.

Then after that, there was about 90 minutes of "excessive" boost, and then it was all gone and I was ready for a siesta. 

Is Celsius drink good before exercise?

This might’ve just been in my head, but I felt like there was a little bit of tightness in my chest for a couple of hours after finishing a can of sparkling orange.

This particularly concerns me with regard to Celsius because I know that they are marketing the drink as something we should take before exercise.

Personally, as someone who drinks a lot of caffeine and who also does a lot of exercise, I wouldn't want to drink a can of Celsius before doing any kind or strenuous exercise.

It just feels like the risk of something bad happening, however small an increase, combined with what is clearly too much caffeine to be able to think straight just isn’t a good idea for me.

I just don’t want to combine that kind of energy boost with any kind of strong physical exercise.

I give Celsius a 4.5 out of 10 for its effect.

Sure, it will blow your head off, but that's not usually what I'm looking for in an energy drink.

Other Celsius energy drink reviews

Generally speaking, people seem to have swallowed the marketing message about Celsius energy drink being healthy and helping you to burn fat hook, line and sinker. 

There are plenty of Youtube reviews online with people blindly referencing the studies as "evidence" of how great Celsius is. 

...But there are also a fair amount of unhappy customers too. 

To be fair, if you filter to show only 5-star reviews on Amazon you'll find a long list of good reviews. 

Alternatives to Celsius energy drink

Alternatives to Celsius energy drink
There's a whole world of great energy drinks out there. 

While Celsius energy drink come in a wide range of flavors, there is an entire world of amazing energy drinks out there just waiting to be explored. 

Why limit yourself to just one energy drink, even if they did pay for 6 university studies?

Wink, wink... (ahem)

Here are some other great brands and flavors that are similar to Celsius drinks:

• Red Bull energy drink

• Rockstar energy drink

Monster Import energy drink

XS energy drinks

Rip It drinks

Or, if you prefer the lightweight, versatile and lower cost energy drink powders, here are some brands that you might want to investigate:

Zipfizz   (also checkout this review)

Advocare Spark    (I reviewed this drink too)

Gfuel

• REIZE Energy Drink (my all-time favorite)

All of the above products contain caffeine, thus, all of them will boost your metabolic rate and help you to burn more fat if you exercise. 

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

The final word on Celsius energy drink 

When I set out to create this Celsius drinks article I wanted to make it as objective and matter-of-fact as possible. 

But after reading the research papers for all six of the university studies and then seeing how Celsius and seemingly everyone on the internet have latched on to the idea that Celsius drinks are some kind of miracle fat-burning innovation really bothers me. 

All things considered, I like the drink and I think it tastes fine. Celsius also boasts a huge range of products and flavors which means that you're very likely to find something that you like. 

But let's be clear, the reason that Celsius helps to increase metabolism and burn fat is because it contains caffeine.

Just as many other energy drinks do.

I really dislike the way that Celsius have engineered things to try to appear to be some kind of miracle health drink, because I know that lots of unsuspecting people will blindly buy into it without actually reading the research papers themselves.

The Celsius health claims are based on the fact that Celsius drink contains caffeine
All of Celsius health claims are based on the proven health benefits of caffeine. 

Is Celsius just like any other energy drink?


Yes, in my opinion Celsius is a regular energy drink
.

Everyone wants an easy fix, so if a product comes along that promises to help you burn fat just by drinking it, then lots of people will buy a can in the hope of shedding a few pounds. 

The truth is that Celsius drinks are very similar to most other energy drinks on the market. The main difference between Celsius and other energy drinks is that Celsius contains a lot more caffeine than most energy drinks.

Indeed, Celsius is marketing and positioning is somewhere in between energy drink and pre-workout. 

Overall, I would say that Celsius is a pretty good drink, is reasonably priced and I like the fact that it's sugar-free. 

Negatives about Celsius drinks in my opinion are the super-high caffeine levels (I prefer a more gentle dose because it's easier to control) and the misleading marketing about how healthy they are.

The taste is also a little too subtle for my liking, but certainly not bad.

Celsius contains very similar ingredients to most energy drinks
Celsius drink contains ingredients typical of most energy drinks.

Better than Celsius drinks

If you are looking for a great energy drink that is also sugar-free, contains about the same number of calories as Celsius drink, but ships right to your door for less than half the price of Celsius, then you might want to take a look at REIZE Energy Drink

REIZE ships right to your door for about $1 per drink.

REIZE is the smarter choice if you're looking for a great alternative to Celsius drinks and you might even find that you prefer it to Celsius drinks. 

Posted on

XS ENERGY DRINK CAFFEINE & INGREDIENTS

Cans of XS energy drink.

XS energy drink is a brand of energy drink manufactured and distributed by Amway in the United States. XS is available in a wide variety of flavors in regular 8.4 fl.oz cans, but each can contains 80mg of caffeine. 

A can of XS energy drink
An 8.4 fl.oz can of XS Energy Drink.

XS energy drink ingredients

Each 8.4 fl.oz can of XS energy drink contains:

• 10 calories

• 80mg of caffeine

• 35mg of Sodium

• 35mg of Potassium

• 100% of the recommended daily value (DV) of Vitamin B3

• 300% of the DV of Vitamin B6

• 100% of the DV of Vitamin B5

• 4,900% of the DV of Vitamin B12

No, that isn't a typo

4,900%?

Seriously?

Each can also contains the following ingredients, but the amounts of each of these are NOT specified.

As a result, it's unclear if they are only present in traces or if they are present in significant quantities.

• Carbonated water

• Taurine

• L-Glutamine

• Citric acid

• Natural flavors

• Acesulfame potassium (sweetener)

• Sodium benzoate (preservative)

• Potassium sorbet (preservative)

• Salt

• Sucralose (sweetener)

• Calcium d-Pantothenate

• Niacinamide

• Herbal blend

• Purple carrot extract (for color)

• Pyridoxine hydrochloride

• Riboflavin (for color)

• Cyanocobalamin

Some energy drink brands include nice-sounding (and healthy) items in their list of ingredients, but when you look closely you'll find that those good ingredients are only included in very small quantities

XS energy drink nutrition facts
XS Energy Drink nutrition facts.

If you think 4,900% of the daily value of vitamin B12 is a lot, take a look at Zipfizz energy drink with a whopping 41,667% of the daily value of B12. 

Yikes.

XS energy drink caffeine content

Each 8.4 fl.oz can of XS energy drink contains 80mg of caffeine, to illustrate, that's roughly comparable to a small coffee. 

A 12 ounce can of XS contains 125mg of caffeine, thus approximately equivalent to a regular cup of Joe.

XS energy drink contains 80mg of caffeine per can
Each 8.4 fl.oz can of XS Energy Drink contains 80mg of caffeine.

XS energy drink B vitamins

XS contains 300% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B6 and a staggering 4,900% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12. 

This may sound great, but it's actually wasted

B group vitamins are water soluble. Consequently, our bodies can't hold any more than 100% of the daily requirements. 

What happens to the other 4,800% that we get in a can of XS?

It passes straight through us and into the toilet on our next visit. 

Oh, it also makes our pee bright yellow. 

Although B vitamins are water soluble and are generally not a health risk from over-consumption, there is some evidence to suggest that extremely high levels of B group vitamins can be harmful

XS energy drink "natural ingredients"

Each can of XS features large "naturally flavored" font on the can. 

Sounds good. 

The problem is, on the list of ingredients they simply list "natural flavors" with no additional information about what is included, nor how much is included. 

However, a closer look at the ingredients shows that XS also contains artificial ingredients for the purpose of "flavor". Seems they neglected to tell us that it ALSO CONTAINS ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS.

But hey, you didn't ask, so they aren't going to tell you. 

Perhaps they should erase those big "naturally flavored" words from their can. At any rate, being a little more transparent about their ingredients would be a welcome move. 

Sure, it might contain natural flavors (but they don't say what or how much), but it also contains artificial ingredients too.

Kind of defeats the purpose of splashing "naturally flavored" all over your can, wouldn't you say?

Hmmm...

Is this just another marketing trick? 

Here's a list of the artificial ingredients in XS energy drink:

• Sucralose

• Cyanocobalamin (artificial vitamin B12 - all 4,900% of it)

• Pyridoxine hydrochloride (artificial vitamin B6)

• Potassium sorbate

• Sodium benzoate

• Acesulfame potassium

Sure, XS might contain "natural flavors", but don't for a moment make the mistake of thinking that it only contains natural ingredients, because there are plenty of artificial ingredients included in the can too. 

XS energy drink can shows "naturally flavored"
The XS can proudly boasts "naturally flavored" in capital letters... There is no mention of the artificial ingredients also included.

XS energy drink flavors

XS energy drink is available in 18 different flavors:

• Tropical blast

• Blood orange

• Tamarindo blast

• Dragon fruit

• Mango pineapple guava

• Black cherry cola blast

• Citrus blast

• Cranberry-grape blast

• Electric lemon blast

• Strawberry

• Pink grapefruit

• Rootbeer blast

• Wild berry blast

• Classic blast

• Naranja blast

• Summit blast

• Caffeine-free cranberry-grape blast

• Caffeine-free mango pineapple guava

XS energy drink is available in 18 flavors.
Tropical blast is just one of the 18 different XS energy drink flavors.

XS energy "Herbal Blend"

The XS energy drink ingredients includes something called "herbal blend". 

Energy drink brands often invent their own combination of regular ingredients and give it a unique name. They then trademark that name, then they are the only ones who can use it for marketing purposes. 

But the truth is that the ingredients that make up these fancy-sounding blends already exist and they aren't inventing anything new. In other words, they are just creating a catchy sounding name for that precise combination of ingredients. 

XS have done exactly that with their "herbal blend", however, they've kept the ingredients list quite short. 

What's in the XS energy drink herbal blend?

• Panax ginseng root extract, and

• Panax quinquefolium root extract

Unfortunately, we don't get any more information than that. The XS can doesn't shed any light on how much of these great-sounding ingredients are actually inside the can. 

They could be in tiny traces for all we know. Indeed, on the list of ingredients "herbal blend" is listed several ingredients after "salt", better known as "sodium" to the scientific community.

The nutrition panel shows that there is only 35mg of sodium per can, therefore, we can deduce that "herbal blend" is present in less than 35mg in total. 

Whether it's close to 35mg, or much less... that's still only a very small amount.

XS energy drink ingredients include "herbal blend"
The list of XS ingredients showing "herbal blend" towards the end suggests that it is only present in small quantities.

Where to buy XS energy drink

XS is sold by "independent business owners", backed by Amway. Amway is famous for being a giant multi-level marketing company and XS energy drinks are no exception to their business model.

The Amway business model has even been described as a pyramid scheme

Everyday people like you and me buy XS in bulk and then try to sell it anyway that they can. Family, friends, on Amazon or Ebay. Anything that will move product is fair game to make a buck. 

The drawback of all of this if you are trying to buy XS energy drink is that all of these "independent business owners" need to make a profit, as do Amway. 

The result is that XS energy drink is considerably more expensive than many other brands, and probably a lot more expensive than it should be. 

Still, if you are still keen to buy XS energy drink, here's a list of places that offer "cheap" XS energy drink online:

• You can buy XS energy drink on Ebay.

• You can find some good XS energy drink deals on Amazon.

Bevnet are selling XS, but it looks like they are just affiliates for Amazon sellers. 

That's an interesting idea. Adding an affiliate into Amway's already over-priced multi-level marketing scheme.

Am I the only person that finds that a little bit amusing?

Buy XS from Amway website

You can also buy XS energy drink online directly from the Amway website. They offer a pack of 12 cans for anywhere between $27 - $36, depending on which flavor you want. 

Adding $10 for shipping brings the total for twelve XS energy drinks to $37 - $46, therefore a single 8.4 fl.oz can costs $3 - $4.

That sounds awfully overpriced to me. 

Lower cost alternatives, anyone?

This cringe-worthy video is trying to encourage people to become resellers of XS energy drink. 

XS energy drink price

I paid $39.62 for a pack of 12 tropical blast flavor on Amazon.

That's including shipping to my door in Florida, and comes out to a total of $3.30 per 8.4 fl.oz can, which I consider to be pretty darn expensive. 

I shopped around before buying for that price, but it looked like that was the best deal I could find online when I made my purchase. 

This highlights why I don't like multi-level marketing schemes - they make the product ridiculously expensive just so that the person selling it (and also Amway) can both make a profit. 

I prefer to buy direct from the energy drink brand to cut out the middleman, thus saving myself money. 

At $3.30 per drink, XS energy drink is definitely at the more expensive end of the range of energy drink prices. It's also more than 3 times the price of REIZE Energy Drink

The box that 12 XS energy drinks arrive in.
The box that twelve XS energy drinks arrive in.

XS energy drink review

I bought a 12-pack of Tropical Blast flavor. 

I was hoping to get a reasonably priced variety pack, but everything was so expensive that I ended up settling for the cheapest deal I could find... which wasn't exactly cheap at $39.62.

My 12 pack arrived in a small box.

Nothing special, but also not a disappointment. 

The cans themselves don't feel premium, but they do just fine. Some other energy drink cans look awesome and feel a little bit special, but the XS can doesn't look amazing and actually looks a tad mass produced (which I guess it actually is). 

The bottom of the XS energy drink can.
The bottom of the XS can shows the batch number that it was produced in.

I poured a cold can into a glass and was surprised to see that there wasn't much carbonation and only some gentle fizz. It seemed to be almost flat as soon as it came out of the can, which I don't necessarily mind, but I don't find interesting. 

XS energy drink taste

Tropical blast flavor has a few bad reviews online, but in my first taste I thought "Wow, this is good, what are those bad reviews on about??". 

But then a moment later I got the artificial after-taste and I understood why. 

Overall, I would say that the taste is good, but you do need to put up with a bit of a "tinny" artificial aftertaste which puts a significant dent in the overall taste score. 

How can something that only contains "natural flavors" taste so darn artificial? Perhaps because it also contains a list of artificial ingredients, as I already talked about above. 

All things considered, I would give XS a 7/10 for taste.

I'm willing to tolerate a little bit of an aftertaste because I would prefer that to drinking something full of sugar, but perhaps I'm being a little bit generous. 

Because it was only a small, 8.4 ounce can and it didn't have much fizz, I was able to chug it down in a matter of moments. 

Freshly poured XS energy drink doesn't have much fizz to it.
Freshly poured XS energy drink doesn't have much fizz to it.

Does XS energy drink work?

In terms of effects, I would say that I got a gentle energy boost about half an hour after drinking it which lasted for a couple of hours. 

I didn't notice any crash, which is one of the great things about sugar-free energy drinks in general. 

It's hard to quantify the boost that I got from the drink, but it was subtle, which I much prefer to something extreme that blows your head off. 

I give XS energy drink a 6.5 out of 10, no scrap that, I almost forgot about how much it cost me...

I give XS energy energy drink a 5.0 out of 10 for price, taste and the overall energy boost combined.

It tastes fine and gives a subtle energy boost, but it just costs wayyyy too much

Other XS energy drink reviews

What are other people saying about XS?

See for yourself...

This is a particularly bad review of XS energy drink, and there are plenty more here too. 

This one wasn't as harsh

To balance things out, if you go to Amazon and filter customer reviews to only show the 5-star reviews you'll find a long list of happy customers.

You can't keep everyone happy.  

Alternatives to XS energy drink

Alternatives to XS energy drink
There are lots of good alternatives to XS energy drink if you're willing to search for them.

XS energy drink is good, but there are plenty of other top energy drinks out there to try too. 

Here's a list of great products and flavors in the ready-to-drink energy drink category that also are similar to XS and definitely worth checking out:

• Rockstar

• Red Bull

Monster Import

Celsius drinks

Rip It energy drink

Or, if you're like me and prefer the lower price and better versatility of energy drink powders you can check these options out:

Advocare Spark

Gfuel

Zipfizz 

• REIZE (I give it 10 out of 10)

(I also made did this review of Zipfizz too which you might find interesting)

If cans and powders aren't how you like to stay caffeinated, you may want to look at something like caffeine pills to get your energy boost.

The final word on XS energy drink

XS energy drinks are pretty good. 

They are available in a huge variety of flavors, which means that you don't have to search for very long to find one that you like. It gives you a nice energy boost, it's sugar-free and contains a sensible amount of caffeine. 

However, there are a few things that I'm not a huge fan of. 

Firstly, I wish they would remove the huge NATURAL FLAVORS from the front of the can. It's misleading because XS also contains plenty of artificial ingredients.

I don't care if XS contains some artificial ingredients, however I wish they would stop trying to market it as a natural energy drink. 

Second, and this is the deal-breaker for me, the price is way too high. There is absolutely no reason to pay more than $3 for a can of energy drink.

Heck, even $3 is far too expensive in my opinion, but perhaps I'm just too used to paying only $1 for my energy drinks.

Lastly, and this is only a minor point, but still a bugbear of mine - I hate paying for shipping.

Adding $10 to my order total when I'm only buying a dozen 8.4 ounce cans seems like a kick in the teeth and adds significantly to the per-can cost. 

But overall, XS energy drink is a leading energy drink brand for a reason - they are pretty darn good. 

If you're looking for a great alternative to XS energy drink that ships right to your door for around $1 per drink, tastes great and is also sugar-free, then you might want to give REIZE Energy Drink a try. 

REIZE is the smarter choice and you might just find that you prefer it to XS. 

Posted on

Monster Import Energy Drink – Ingredients and Information

Monster Import energy drink

With a hint of the exotic, Monster Import energy drink brings something different to the Monster range. With a different taste, resealable can and unique design, Monster Import is a favorite for many.

We take a closer look at the ingredients and facts surrounding this big, multi-serve Monster Import can.

Monster Import energy drink can
The huge and sexy-looking Monster Import can.

History

According to the Monster Import can itself, the idea for a multi-serve can was born in Spain. At the moto GP to be precise. Monster Import was born in 2008 and has been a staple in the Monster energy range since.

The can talks tough about how they contacted the manufacturer of the resealable can and muscled their way into a deal for supply. It may be true, but it sounds a little unlikely that it went down exactly like that. But hey, it’s Monster, so you’ve gotta talk tough.

The supplier of the fancy resealable cans is Ball-Packaging. If you look closely at a can of Import, you’ll see a little “Ball” logo printed next to the barcode.

Seriously, if Monster were so tough would they allow another company to print their logo on their cans?

Monster Import was originally called “export” because it was made in Europe and exported to the States. Nowadays Monster Import is manufactured Stateside and we refer to it as “Monster Import”.

Not Monster Export, although that also has a nice ring to it.

Monster Import can made by Ball Packaging.
The popular resealable Monster Import can is made by "Ball Packaging".

Monster Import Ingredients

Despite the fact that Monster say that a can of Import contains "2.5 servings", let's be real here - most people will down it in a single sitting. 

So, I'm going to talk about the ingredients per can, not per "serving". 

In addition to plenty of caffeine and sugar (which I'll talk about below), each can of Monster Import contains:

• 190 calories

• 179mg of caffeine

• Vitamin B2 (230% of the recommended daily intake)

• B3 Vitamins (230% of the recommended daily intake)

• Vitamin B6 (230% of the recommended daily intake)

• B12 vitamins (230% of the recommended daily intake)

• And.... Several other nice sounding ingredients, but because they don't give any information about how much of them are actually included in the recipe, I won't include them here.

For all we know, there only only traces of the attention-grabbing ingredients, included only for marketing purposes.

The scary thing about the ingredients label is the fact that they list sugar as the second ingredient, behind carbonated water.

That's a concern. 

Monster Import Caffeine Content

Monster Import packs a hell of a punch.

With 179mg of caffeine per can, you’ll probably want to limit your consumption to no more than 1 or 2 cans per day at most. 

Compared to a standard 8.4 fl.oz can of Red bull, Monster Import has more than double the caffeine. 80mg for Red bull versus 179mg for Monster Import.

Even compared to a standard 16 fl.oz can of Monster, Monster Import has 12% more caffeine. The 16 ounce standard Monster has 160mg of caffeine per can, but somehow they managed to jam even more caffeine into a can of Monster Import.

One review claimed that he had been awake for 6 days without sleep and felt great. I really hope that person was joking, because that is seriously dangerous.

Even if it was just a joke, it gives you an idea of the effects that you can expect from drinking one of these “multi-serve” cans with all of the caffeine that it has.

Monster Import energy drink contains 179mg caffeine per can.
A can of Monster Import contains more than double the caffeine in a regular 8.4 fl.oz Red Bull.

How much sugar is in Monster Import?

The crazy-high amount of sugar in Import has been the subject of some criticism. And rightfully so.

Each can of Monster Import contains a whopping 49 grams of sugar

That may not sound like much, but that's 12 teaspoons of sugar in just one can.

You would't grab a spoon and start shovelling sugar straight from the packet into your mouth, would you? Well, it's exactly the same thing when you drink sugar. 

Sugar needs no introduction and by now no explanation about how bad it is for us, so I won't bang that drum any more. 

Just know that the American Heart Association recommends that an adult male should consume no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day. Women should limit that to only 6 teaspoons. 

One can of Monster Import will bust those daily limits before you even get to the bottom of the can. 

B Vitamins

Having 230% of the recommended daily intake of several B group vitamins might sound extra-healthy, but it actually isn't. 

B vitamins are water soluble. That means that our bodies can't hold anything that we consume over and above 100% of our daily requirements.

What happens to those extra B vitamins?

They make your pee bright yellow and go straight through you and into the toilet on your next visit.

Monster Import Taste

The resealable cap makes it a little awkward to drink out of and into your mouth. That makes it a little difficult to chug as quickly as you might like to, but you get used to it.

Of course, you could also just pour the drink into a glass and drink from a glass instead.

Bevreview published a bad review of the taste of Monster Import and were promptly sued by Monster. It didn’t even seem like a particularly scathing review, just simply one persons’ opinion that the taste wasn’t great.

So, with that precedent in mind, I’m here to tell you that Monster Import tastes great!

No, seriously, in my opinion it really does taste good. Mind you, I like most energy drinks.

I think it tastes a lot like original Monster, but perhaps a shade sweeter and a little smoother. It's quite nice, but it became a little too much for me after drinking a full can.

Perhaps I should have used that resealable lid after all. 

My main concern with Monster Import is the ridiculously high sugar content.

49 grams per can is scary and probably explains why it tastes so sweet. 

That’s about 9% of the total contents of the can.

This guy says that it tastes like Red Bull.

This Monster Import energy drink taste review isn't as favorable

Resealable Can

The Monster Import can features a resealable lid that allows you to drink some and then save the rest for later.

I did a little experiment to see how long it would last after opening and it still had a little bit of fizz after 24 hours. Considering that it didn't have a lot of fizz to begin with, I would estimate that it lost approximately 50% of its fizz during that time. 

Monster Import still has some bubbles after 24 hours
Monster Import still had a small amount of fizz 24 hours after opening the can for the first time.

Lots of people complain about being splashed in the face with liquid when they open the can. This also happened to me, so you should be ready and on guard. It seems to happen more often when you re-open it after it's been in the fridge for a while.

Pretty annoying. 

2 days later...

Another 24 hours after that I opened the can back up again and (after another rude splash in the face) I poured some into a glass. 

The fizz was completely gone after 48 hours in total, or two subsequent openings after the initial opening.

However, the drink itself still tasted fine. 

Monster Import stays fizzy for about a day
The resealable lid seems to keep some of the fizz until you open it again, but the second time you re-open the can it is likely to be completely flat.

Actually, it’s pretty easy to break the cap completely until you figure out how to properly open it, which will probably take a couple of goes.

The Monster Import can says “if you can open and close the can with one hand you probably dated a lot when you were younger.”

Personally, I make enough of a mess trying to open the darn can with two hands.

I’m not going to try to do it with only one.

Are you really going to drink it in 2.5 sittings?

I’m not sure how I feel about these multi-serve cans.

Seriously, how many people just drink the entire can at once?

The reason for labelling the can as containing multiple serves is to get around the rules on how much of certain ingredients energy drinks can contain. And Monster Import is packing some heat, with 179mg of caffeine and plenty of B group vitamins.

On the one hand, I think the regulating bodies should stamp out these “multi-serve” cans that only exist as a way to sell more than they should be selling.

But on the other hand, I think that beer doesn’t come with “Max 2 per day” warning labels on it. So, what’s the difference?

Ultimately, Monster is playing within the rules as they are written and it’s up to the consumer to exercise some common sense in deciding how much of anything they should be consuming.

Monster Import resealable lid.
The resealable lid on a Monster Import can is part of the reason for its popularity, but can make a mess when re-opening the can. 

Monster Import Price

I paid $37.95 for a pack of 12 on Amazon. That was the best deal I could find and it included free shipping. That’s more than $3 per can.

It took more than a week for my drinks to arrive to Florida. Perhaps they didn’t get around to shipping my order for a few days, but shipping was a bit slower than I was expecting.

If you order a box of Monster Energy online it comes in a heavy box. My cans arrived all beaten up. They looked like someone had dropped them. Twice.

Comparing buying Monster Import online or at a convenience store shows some variation in price. At a gas station or drive-thru prices range from around $2.90 per can if you buy 2 cans (and you don’t even have to get out of your car), up to $4 per can, depending on where you buy them.

So, the Amazon price isn’t necessarily the best deal.

This guy says that he prefers the original Monster mainly because of the price. 

Monster Import compared to Monster original
Import Vs Original, which one do you prefer?

Where is Monster Import actually made?

It’s made in the United States.

It was originally made in Europe, but now it’s made in the US.

This raises an interesting academic question. Should it still be called Monster Import if it is made, sold and consumed in USA?

Perhaps we should call it “Monster Domestic” instead.

Does Monster contain bull sperm?

With Taurine in every can, some people have speculated that Monster Import contains bulls’ sperm.

That is absolutely false.

Energy drinks don’t contain bulls sperm.

It’s true that bulls’ sperm does contain Taurine, but that stuff does not make its way into your can. It also doesn’t mean that Taurine is made from bulls’ sperm.

These days, all of the Taurine found in energy drinks is synthesized in a lab. No bulls were harmed in the making of your Monster Import energy drink.

Interestingly, the Monster Import can does not mention the amount of Taurine inside the drink.

The can mentions that it contains Taurine, but it does not give an amount.

How much L-Carnitine is inside?

The design of the Monster Import can is sexy.

It looks great.

One of the marketing messages that jumps out at the top of the can is “L-CARNITINE”.

L-carnitine is an amino acid that helps us to burn fat. The problem is, to get any benefits from taking L-carnitine or other dietary supplements, you need to consume enough to reach what’s called a “minimum effective dose”.

Similar to the amount of Taurine being a mystery, the Monster Import can does not mention the amount of L-carnitine in the can. Without information about how much of this amino acid is present in the can, we can’t say anything more about whether there’s enough to get any health benefits from it.

But, the fact that they don't mention the amount of these eye-catching, good-to-have ingredients does seem to be a bit of a red flag. We should assume that if there was a lot of these super-awesome ingredients in the can that they would be telling us all about it. 

So, by not mentioning the amount of these ingredients, that tells me that they are probably only present in small quantities.

But again, I'm speculating and without the facts, we can't say for sure. 

It’s worth keeping in mind that the scientific community considers the minimum effective dose of L-carnitine to be 500-2000mg.

Monster Import L-Carnitine
The Monster Import can doesn't say how much L-Carntine is present in the ingredients. But that doesn't stop them from printing it in GIANT letters at the top of the can.

Misleading Marketing by energy drink brands

The reason I bring this up as a potential issue at all is because at least one other energy drink company falls short on this.

Spark energy drink broadly boasts “vitamin & amino acid supplement” in large letters on their packaging. However, when you look closely you’ll see that Spark only includes 10mg of L-carnitine, which is the same ingredient that is printed in large font at the top of a can of Monster Import.

That’s around 1% of the amount that you would need to consume to get any health benefit from having it.

With that in mind, don’t for a moment think that other energy drink brands wouldn’t also include a sexy-sounding ingredient in very small quantities simply for marketing purposes.

I’m not saying that’s true with regard to Monster Import.

It might be true, but we don’t know.

Just keep in mind that some energy drink brands include only VERY small amounts of the healthy ingredients that might cause you to want to buy their products in the first place.

Alternatives to Monster Import Energy Drink

Monster Import is just one of the flavors that make up the impressive Monster range. 

Ultimately, it depends on what matters most to you when considering what energy drink you should buy. The best energy drink for you might not be the best energy drink for someone else. It's different strokes for different folks. 

In terms of alternative options, you could consider some ready-to-drink energy drink alternatives like:

• Red Bull (if you're curious about the difference between Red Bull and Monster check this article out)

• Rockstar

Celsius energy drink

XS drinks

Rip It energy drinks

Or, perhaps you're like me and prefer the convenience and lower price of powders like:

Zipfizz (you can checkout my review of Zipfizz here, or a deep dive into the Zipfizz ingredients here)

Advocare Spark

...or my personal favorite

REIZE (10 out of 10)

Monster Import energy drink caffeine content
A can of Monster Import in all its glory.

If cans or powders aren't your thing, you may even want to take a closer a look at caffeine pills

Whatever you prefer, there are lots of really good energy drinks out there waiting to be discovered.

Final thoughts

Monster Import energy drink is a heavy-hitter.

It's loaded with caffeine and sugar and comes in a really big can.

It also hits your wallet hard, with an average price of around $3 per can. 

The main attraction of this flavor compared to original Monster is the resealable lid, the really nice artwork on the can and perhaps the slightly sweeter flavor.

But the difference in taste compared to original Monster is subtle, and some people can't even tell the difference between the two. 

I like the taste, the effects and the can itself, but I much prefer sugar-free energy drinks at a lower price point.

...like REIZE Energy Drink.

REIZE is a delicious (and sugar-free) powder energy drink that ships right to your door for around $1 per drink. 

Give it a try today and you might just find that you prefer it to Monster Import. 

Posted on

Best Energy Drink – What energy drink is the best?

Some of the best energy drinks in America.

It’s a tough tussle for the title of best energy drink, with several major players in a massive market.

Energy drinks do brisk business these days and show no signs of slowing down – much like the promises they put on their products. Sales amounted to $7.6 billion dollars in the US in 2017, and is growing at over 3% a year.

Almost 50% of respondents to one survey said they consumed energy drinks several times a week. Plenty of product varieties are available in all shapes and sizes and for all occasions. Early-morning commute or late-night graveyard shift? High-performance athlete or hard-working mother? There’s an energy drink out there for you.

But which beverage gives you the best boost? 

Which brand is the best energy drink?
What is the best energy drink?

RED BULL ENERGY DRINK

A humble Austrian with a huge dream who became a global superstar. No, not Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the most eponymous energy-boosting beverage of them all, Red Bull.  Conquerors of the energy drink world with nothing but a simple silver can and a great big pair of… horns.

Red Bull aren’t so much a competitor as they are, in fact, the entire category itself. Dietrich Mateschitz sold the first can of Red Bull Energy Drink in Austria in 1987 and shook the beverage industry to its carbonated core. In one wave of a metaphorical matador’s flag, he created a brand-new product category and marketing concept.

In fact, he introduced a whole new industry to the world.

For a while, it wasn’t just the best energy drink – it was THE energy drink.

Many other great alternatives are available these days, but Red Bull still maintains its massive market share. It sells over 6 billion cans a year worldwide and is by far the best energy drink in branding terms.

A can of Red Bull energy drink.
Red Bull sells almost one can for every man, woman and child on the planet each year.

RED BULL MARKETING

Let's face it, Red Bull defines “top-of-mind” brand recognition, aligning itself with any kind of activity.

Study session? Red Bull. Before a big race? Workout, wrestling match, waterskiing? Red Bull. Jumping from the edge of space? Sure, why not. Grab a couple of cans and your astronaut gear, Mr. Baumgartner.

Red Bull has business interests and sponsored athletes in every category imaginable. Soccer teams to stock car racers. Surfing to skating. E-sports to winter sports, extreme sports and Olympic sports. A music label. A Formula 1 team.

And a very cool head office.

They even sponsor the best chess player in America. (It’s getting a bit ridiculous now).

RED BULL INGREDIENTS

But what about the product itself? How does it give you these “wings” they love to talk about? To be honest, their branding alone could make us believe even pigs could fly, but let’s dig a little deeper anyway. It may be the biggest, but is it the best energy drink available?

Red Bull’s key ingredients are caffeine, taurine, B-group vitamins, sugar and fresh Alpine water. So far, so expected.

RED BULL CAFFEINE CONTENT

Caffeine is the most common concentration-boosting ingredient in the energy drink market – technically, it is the most popular drug in the world. It perks us up by imitating a naturally-occurring substance in our brains called adenosine. When adenosine levels reach a certain point, it’s time for a nap.

Caffeine has a similar molecular structure and binds to the same receptors as adenosine, so we stay awake, alert and focused for longer.

Red Bull’s caffeine content was a very contentious issue at one point. One customer’s frivolous claim turned into a huge $13 million class-action suit.

Some ballsy dude called Benjamin Careathers decided that he wasn't happy after a decade of drinking Red Bull. Why? Not only had he not grown wings (shock), but not enhanced his athletic or mental capabilities at all.

So, he took the Bull by the horns and shook them down for a significant sum. How, we hear you cry?

The court found in his favor because of the lack of any scientific proof that a can of Red Bull was more effective energy-wise than a cup of coffee, despite the marketing promise (and pricing) of a far superior product.

These days, they’re upfront about it, stating that their 250ml beverage contains “80mg of caffeine, slightly less than a cup of coffee”.

Caffeine-wise, 50mg is REIZE’s favorite number – and price-wise, well, we’re not likely to get sued any time soon.

A can of Red Bull energy drink.
Each 8.4 fl.oz can of Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine.

RED BULL TAURINE CONTENT

An urban legend once told that bona-fide bull’s sperm makes up the 1000mg of taurine in Red Bull. This myth which only added to the drink’s mystique – make of that what you will.

In fact, Red Bull’s taurine is bovine-free and completely synthetic. In any case, taurine naturally occurs in the human body. It’s an amino acid antioxidant that moves minerals through our system.

REIZE contains the same amount of taurine per serving as Red Bull – great minds, and all that…

Nobody’s perfect, though. Regular Red Bull does pack a staggering amount of sugar – 11g/100ml, 27g per 250ml can, over 10% of the total recipe. You’ll get the energy high, but are likely to feel the crash not long after.

REIZE’s sugar-free formula gets you into the zone without a heavy landing.

MONSTER ENERGY DRINK

The second-in-line to the throne with big eyes on the best energy drink top prize.

This mean green machine rolled up in 2002 and has been making a lot of loud noise ever since. Monster Energy drink prefer to refer to themselves a “lifestyle in a can”. So, their design firm created “an aggressive brand for an untapped aggressive consumer”.

Their website states that ‘anarchists’ are among Monster’s many fans. I guess you need a lot of energy to topple the system. Maybe we could award it “best energy drink… for telling the Man how you feel”.

Monster Energy drink can
Monster Energy Drink commands 2nd place market share in the United States.

MONSTER ENERGY DRINK SATANIC SYMBOLS?

Twitter users may have seen a video doing the rounds comparing Monster’s unmistakable logo to a Satanic-related symbol.

Let’s not go that far, but hey, these guys have had a lot of success carving out the high-octane category in a highly competitive market. You might not bet against them having done a deal with the devil.

In unrelated news (ahem), Coca-Cola is getting closer to a full takeover, after acquiring 17% of the company a few years ago. 

Like Red Bull, Monster favors sponsorship ahead of traditional advertising. They support a wide range of extreme sports, from monster trucks to MMA, Speedway to skateboarding.

Monster also promotes many musical acts worldwide, including Fetty Wap and Iggy Azalea. It packs a “big bad buzz” in over 34 different drinks under the brand in North America alone.

A can of Monster original flavor.
Monster original flavor is just one of 34 different Monster varieties available.

IS MONSTER THE BEST ENERGY DRINK?

So, what makes it such a Monster? Despite second place (for now), can it claim to be the best energy drink on the market today? Is the student becoming the master?   

It contains higher caffeine content than many energy drinks with 160g per 16 fl.oz can. That’s about double the amount of a regular cup of joe. Monster get around this by calling a 16 ounce can "two servings".

Hmmm... How many people do you think actually drink exactly half, put the can in the fridge and then drink the rest later?

The larger Monster Import edition actually contains "2.5 servings" per can. 

Unlike Red Bull, Monster also contains guarana, a South American natural caffeine compound to add to the energy boost. But the caffeine levels almost pale in comparison to the frightening 54 grams of glucose per can. That’s almost two full-size Snickers bars’ worth to set you up for a serious crash. The MegaMonster edition contains three servings per can. 

Good thing they sponsor crash helmets. 

Now, we’re not in the finger-pointing business (we’ve got our hands full with sachets of stimulant). But it’s worth mentioning energy drinks in such sizes are linked with a spike in visits to the ER over the years.

The beauty of REIZE is that you can control exactly how it’s served. Stay safe, stay sugar-free.

For a potent burst of powerful energy, Monster Energy’s caffeine and guarana combination earn it a spot on our list of best energy drinks.

A can of Monster Import energy drink.
A can of Monster Import energy drink contains "2.5 servings" per can.

For a comprehensive look at the differences between Monster and Red Bull take a look at this article. 

ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK

Rockstar boasts a huge product range and a 14% share of the North American energy drinks market. Worldwide, it’s available in over 20 flavors in over 30 countries, fueling athletes, artists and all sorts of other active lifestyles.

For the sheer number of options it offers, Rockstar is a top contender for the best energy drink on the shelves today.

Rockstar was the first big hitter to introduce the bigger 16oz can, billing itself as “twice the size of Red Bull for the same price”. The Original version contains a comparable amount of caffeine to Monster. Or, you can opt for the shake-inducing Rockstar Punched - 360g of caffeine per 24oz. can.

A contender for the title of “best energy drink… for breaking land speed records on foot”.

In fact, Rockstar Energy Drink Original was once named Men’s Health’s Worst Energy Drink for the shriek-worthy sugar content of 67.5 grams. That’s almost 17 sugar cubes in a can.

Sure, you’ll “Party like a Rockstar”, but with the comedown to match. There are low-cal versions, but much of the range is a sure source of non-nutritive calories.

Sugar-free alternative, anyone?

On this list though, Rockstar comes in as the best energy drink for caffeine content.

Rockstar energy drink sugar content
It's never a good sign when the 2nd listed ingredient is sugar.

ROCKSTAR ENERGY GUM

If you don’t want to chug it, you can chew it – the brand introduced Rockstar energy gum in 2010. One pack of ten pieces contains the same amount of caffeine as five 8oz. cans. Convenient and portable – like another product we can think of.

Talking of chugged, there was even an alcoholic version of Rockstar available about ten years ago – so you could really live up to the slogan. Rockstar discontinued it due to concerns of confusion amongst younger customers.

Still, another tick in the versatility column, making it one of the best energy drinks in our books.

Rockstar energy gum.
If you don't want to drink it, you can chew it instead.

5-HOUR ENERGY SHOT

The pioneer of the ‘energy shot’ drink and a staple at gas station counters across the country. 5-Hour Energy Shot enjoys a 75% share of the highly-concentrated caffeine market. It comes in a tiny bottle that punches well above its weight when it comes to the caffeine kick.

Each 2oz bottle of 5-hour Energy contains 207mg of caffeine – three times as much as a small can of Red Bull. Does what it says on the bottle, then.

Artificially sweetened, it’s a good option for the calorie counters, with only 4 per serving. Compared to the others on this list, it’s the best energy drink for any readers watching their waistline.  

5 hour energy shots
5-hour Energy shots are hugely popular for their high caffeine content.

5-HOUR ENERGY B-VITAMINS

These guys boast that a single shot contains 8333% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin B12. This sounds mighty impressive - the kind of ‘above and beyond’ you’re hoping for when reaching for an energy shot. But… eight thousand percent?

Why? Seems a little overkill to us.

Besides, all B vitamins are water soluble. Our bodies absorb them all and then expel any that are surplus to requirements.

Result?

You’re gonna pee out the other 8233%.

5-Hour Energy also contains 2,000% of the recommended intake of Vitamin B6. B6 is also found in animal products as well as in beans, whole grains, and fortified cereals and breads. It helps boost the immune system and produce red blood cells.

All well and good, but according the experts, none of these high doses of B vitamins “are going to boost energy unless you’re B-deficient”.

These vitamins aren’t toxic in large quantities, but overconsumption can cause nerve damage, tingling, and numbness in the limbs. Doesn’t sound like a potential performance enhancer…

Note -- REIZE also contains B vitamins, but we like to think of ours as a “holistic replenishment”. Our doses are more healthy than hardcore.

5-HOUR ENERGY MISLEADING MARKETING

We’re not snitches, so we won’t name names. We’ll only say that a pretty big federal administration was once hot on the heels of 5-Hour Energy (and one or two others on this list).

Several incident reports mentioned these beverages as potential causes of (very) serious symptoms. Now, there were no charges brought, nor products banned – but why take the risk, when you can take a REIZE?

5-Hour Energy used to brag that they were a “caffeine high with no crash”. Then, three separate states sued them for deceptive advertising. Wonder if they asked Red Bull for any advice…

What was the deception? Well, almost 25% of consumers did in fact report a “moderately-severe” post-drink crash. Which study showed these results? 5-Hour Energy’s own unpublished one.

Awkward.

Though, in their defense, this was much less than reported from drinking Monster (75%) and Red Bull (80%). Now, they claim there is “no sugar crash”. It’s technically correct, because there’s no cane sugar in the product. Hey, marketing!

For their grab-and-go convenience, 5-Hour Energy stake a solid claim for the title of best energy drink.

OTHER NOTABLE BEST ENERGY DRINK CONTENDERS 

Other contenders for the title of best energy drink.
There's more to the energy drink world than just Red Bull and Monster.

Not included in our detailed analysis above, but also worth an honorable mention in the best energy drink conversation are:

Zipfizz  (I took a closer look at the Zipfizz caffeine content here)

Advocare Spark

Gfuel

These brands are all powder energy drinks, just like our favorite, REIZE. 

Mix the energy powder with cold water and voila! Instant energy goodness. 

You might find my reviews for each of these brands interesting. I made a Zip Fizz review, a Spark review and a G fuel review if you want to learn more about those energy drinks. 

Or, if ready-to-drink cans are more your style, these brands and flavors might be worth a look:

Monster Import

XS energy drink

• Bang energy drink

Rip It energy drink

Celsius drink

Or, if you're willing to try something completely different, caffeine pills might be more your thing.

BEST ENERGY DRINK VERDICT

So, what IS the best energy drink out there?

It comes down to different strokes for different folks. For the extra mile on a road trip, 5-Hour Energy will do the trick. Before a massive workout, the guarana and sugar energy in Monster might give you that personal-best-busting boost in the squat rack.

But what about the best energy drink for sustained stamina, focus and performance, without any crash?

We’re a little biased, but REIZE ticks all these boxes AND tastes great. It packs a long list of premium ingredients we’re very proud of: Vitamin B complex, the healthy herbal benefits of ginseng, plus taurine, caffeine, niacin and inositol.

And, REIZE comes in powdered form, meaning you can mix it as you please.

Why keep reaching for a cold, carbonated can? Try REIZE in hot water with lemon and you’ll never look at Red Bull the same way again. We’ve designed it to be the best energy drink for gaming available today. And we’re quietly confident of being the best for many other things, too.

Try it and see for yourself.