When you go through the ingredients label on an energy drink, they must surely seem foreign to you, unless you’re working in the Chemistry field.
If you’ve wondered what the ingredients in energy drinks do, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I’ll be doing a detailed look into the common ingredients in energy drinks, from their functions to recommend a few options that may interest you.
But if you simply want to know how to pick out energy drinks, take a look at the article I’ve written on selecting the best energy drinks for you, which is a pretty useful guide on selecting your first energy drink.
As for what’s on the labels, let’s take a closer look.
What Ingredients Are In Energy Drinks?
Caffeine is a stimulant that can be found in certain plants like tea leaves, coffee beans, and cacao plants.
The way caffeine functions is by stimulating your brain and central nervous system, reducing the onset of fatigue, which leads to an increase in mental focus and alertness.
As such, caffeine is the most important ingredient in energy drinks. Plus, caffeine also carries lots of benefits that range from keeping you awake to improving cognition.
Energy drinks can contain between 50mg to 300mg of caffeine depending on the brand to suit different levels of caffeine tolerances. Thus, there’s plenty of choices for you to choose from according to the amount of caffeine you can tolerate.
That said, caffeine must be consumed in moderate amounts. The FDA suggests a day-by-day caffeine limit of 400mg for healthy adults. Anything else than that, and you may wind up with unfavorable side-effects such as:
- Restlessness and shakiness
You should choose energy drinks with an appropriate amount of caffeine and keep track of your daily caffeine consumption to be safe.
Sugar is another important ingredient in energy drinks as it’s a flavor-enhancer and temporary energy-booster.
While it’s alright to have sugar occasionally, it becomes an unhealthy issue once consumed excessively.
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Cardiovascular diseases
Thankfully, sugar-free energy drinks are widely available, and they have the same sweetness and benefits without the extra sugar and calories. You can have a look at some of them in my best sugar-free energy drinks article.
In any case, be sure to moderate your consumption of sugary energy drinks and daily sugar intake; just because you have a sweet tooth, doesn’t mean you have to constantly indulge in it.
Vitamins And Minerals
Some brands even have excessive amounts of vitamins within them (such as G Fuel), so you have to make sure to consume them in moderation.
If you want to know more about B vitamins, Harvard has an interesting article that covers their functions and benefits.
As for the B vitamins that are commonly found in energy drinks, I’ve listed them in an easy-to-read table below:
|Types of B Vitamins||Purpose||Tolerable Upper Intake Level|
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||Helps body release energy; keeps skin healthy.||35mg|
|Vitamin B6||Store energy from protein and carbohydrates; formation of red blood cells.||100mg|
|Vitamin B12||Release energy from food; forms red blood cells; keeps the nervous system healthy.||–|
Amino acids, also known as the building blocks of proteins, play many crucial roles in your body. From maintaining your immune system to producing energy, it’s important that you make sure your body has sufficient amounts of the essential amino acids to stay healthy.
Performance beverages or pre-workout energy drinks can have BCAAs or EAAs, which are a group of important amino acids that can help reduce fatigue, increase endurance, improve recovery post-workout and enhance muscle growth.
Research suggests that it may help in reducing fatigue and also provide you with a quick energy boost, and in many ways works similar to caffeine, as it can reduce tiredness and enhance memory as well as mental concentration.
However, do note that due to how one of the main components of guarana happens to be caffeine, so do be aware of that fact, as some energy drinks might have more caffeine than what’s stated on the label.
Ginseng is an Asian herb that carries lots of health benefits, among which include boosting the immune system and improving cognitive functions like memory, mood, behavior.
It can even help reduce mental fatigue, which makes it particularly great if you’re taking energy drinks to better your focus.
For more information on ginseng, take a look at my article all about this particular herb, where I go into a lot more detail regarding ginseng’s health benefits.
Benefits Of Energy Drinks
There are plenty of good reasons people turn to energy drinks when they need something cold and tasty to give them a boost. Energy drinks can be advantageous to you if consumed properly.
The main benefit of drinking energy drinks is that they provide you with a feeling of energy.
Since energy drinks contain caffeine, your alertness will increase significantly after a short period of time, as well as allowing you to stay awake for a much longer stretch, allowing you to get more work done.
Energy drinks can also improve your physical and mental performance. There are numerous studies that proven caffeine can help you perform better during exercise and physical activities.
For instance, a 2014 study reported that physical performance and accuracy significantly increased in male volleyball players following the ingestion of a caffeinated energy drink.
Furthermore, an article from Healthline states that caffeine has prominent beneficial effects on endurance performance, high-intensity exercise, and power sports.
Of course, whether your exercise performance will improve or not depends on your caffeine metabolism and how well you use the energy boost from energy drinks to its full advantage.
Thus, consuming caffeine can help you concentrate better and remember important information longer as well.
In addition to caffeine, some energy drinks also contain a substantial of calories, which will be beneficial if you find yourself in a bit of a low-energy slump.
For example, you will need lots of carbs to replenish your energy after a workout. So having an energy drink can quickly return your blood sugar levels to normal, making you feel a lot less tired physically and mentally.
I’d recommend having energy drinks with your post-workout meal instead of straight after your workout. After a workout, you should always have water first, and finish off your meal later with an energy drink.
Hence, energy drinks can help you in many ways, though you must make sure to have them in moderate amounts as a caffeine-induced headache later isn’t the best experience.
What To Look Out For When Buying Energy Drinks
Caffeine is definitely something you need to look out for when you’re selecting your energy drink. You must make sure that you get the one with caffeine content that will suit your level of tolerance.
Your caffeine tolerance depends on how frequently you consume caffeinated beverages. If you drink caffeinated drinks regularly, your tolerance will be higher. But if you’re caffeine-sensitive, you’ll have a low caffeine tolerance.
Therefore, be sure to choose your energy drink wisely according to your caffeine metabolism and consume caffeinated beverages within the daily limit.
Before purchasing your energy drink, you also have to consider the amount of sugar is in an energy drink. Some brands can contain outrageous quantities of sugar that’s seriously unhealthy for you.
Thus, make sure to go for energy drinks with tolerable sugar content and limit your consumption of sugary energy drinks. Or, you could always opt for sugar-free alternatives instead.
Price is another aspect you need to pay attention to as well. Nobody wants to pay more for something when it’s possible to get it at a lower price.
Expensive brands with lots of ingredients don’t mean that they suit your needs and will benefit you. Some affordable options out there may have fewer ingredients but are actually effective on you.
If you keep a close eye on your surroundings, you might be able to spot some great deals where you can buy your favorite brands in bulk at lower prices.
Looking for the next best energy drink deal? Have a look at the article I’ve written on how to find energy drinks for cheap, which will definitely help with your overall budget.
Side Effects of Energy Drinks
No matter how ‘healthy’ some energy drinks are stated to be, they will likely produce side effects if they’re consumed in excessive amounts.
Here’s a quick list of minor and major side effects from drinking energy drinks excessively:
- Weight gain
- Fatigue and sugar crashes
- Stomach Irritation
- Weight gain
- Fatigue and sugar crashes
- Stomach Irritation
Therefore, be sure to take note of the warning labels on the can and only have energy drinks when you really need a boost. If you run out of energy later, you could always go for other caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea.
Energy Drink Recommendations
|Energy Drinks||Caffeine Content||Sugar Content||Calories|
While it’s formulated as a performance beverage, Bang isn’t just popular among fitness enthusiasts, but also among the general public.
Every 16fl.oz can of Bang has 300mg of caffeine, 0g of sugar, and 0 calories, with a repertoire of energy-boosting ingredients like BCAAs, CoQ10, and vitamin C.
Bang also has an extensive variety of interesting flavors, such as Champagne and Sour Heads, for all kinds of tastes and preferences.
For an in-depth look at how well Bang works like an energy drink, check out my Bang Energy Drink Review for my experience with it.
And for a more detailed look at just what exactly is in a can of Bang (and if it really does have 300mg of caffeine present), my Bang Ingredients lab analysis article should prove pretty useful,
With its immense popularity and worldwide fanbase, Monster is no stranger to the masses as it’s often featured in extreme sports events, music performances, and of course, local stores as well as supermarkets.
Each 16fl.oz can of Monster contains 160mg of caffeine, 54g of sugar, and 190 calories, along with beneficial ingredients like L-Carnitine, guarana, and taurine.
Plus, Monster has a wide selection of flavors to suit your preferences, including non-carbonated and coffee-based versions, whenever you feel like switching between flavors.
If you want a more detailed look at the ingredients in Monster, I’ve written an article on the caffeine and ingredients in Monster Energy Drink that explains what they do.
REIZE (My Favorite)
Looking for something with a lower caffeine and sugar content? How about giving REIZE a try?
REIZE is a powdered energy drink that can be found in convenient 4g sachets. With a rational 50mg of caffeine, REIZE is also sugar-free and has just 11 calories for each serving.
Plus, REIZE contains a smart blend of beneficial ingredients like taurine, ginseng, and B-group vitamins that combine together to provide you with a smooth energy boost without the dreaded sugar crashes afterwards.
The best part is that REIZE ships to your doorstep for only around $1 per sachets, which is great value for money.
Give REIZE a try, and you might find that it’s the smarter choice for your everyday energy needs.