Alright, let’s cut to the chase. You badly need an energy drink to get you through your morning workout or late-night cramming session, but which energy drink is going to give you the most energy to do what you need?
Short Answer: it really depends on what you’re drinking the energy drink for. While there is objectively an energy drink that can give the most energy, it’s how you use that energy that will do the most good.
For a more detailed explanation, let’s talk about energy drinks, how exactly they give you energy, and what you need to look out for in order to get the most out of your chosen energy drink.
So let’s get started!
Table of Contents
How Do Energy Drinks Give You Energy?
The surge of energy you get from energy drinks? It’s not just from the calories, but the sugar and caffeine (mostly the caffeine) stimulating your senses and giving you a feeling of focus and clarity.
Drinking an energy drink doesn’t give you energy in a similar way to eating a full meal does, not simply being all about the calories.
Energy drinks mainly work through two ingredients, namely, caffeine and sugar (though there are plenty of energy drinks that don’t contain sugar).
Caffeine works as a stimulant and is arguably the most important ingredient in an energy drink.
Caffeine stimulates the brain by binding to the adenosine receptors (the part responsible for making us feel sleepy), thus allowing you to feel more awake and aware than your body actually is.
In addition to that, caffeine is known to provide a wide variety of benefits, from increasing cognitive performance to helping with exercise. Here’s a short video that explains in detail exactly how caffeine keeps you awake.
Besides caffeine, sugar is another key ingredient in energy drinks that give you energy.
Sugar, while not necessary, tastes sweet and makes you feel good due to it activating dopamine receptors in your brain.
Although sugar can temporarily improve your mood, the downside is that it isn’t great for your health, and it might cause a sugar crash afterward. Here’s a video detailing how sugar affects your brain.
How Long Do Energy Drinks Last?
The effects of energy drinks can last anywhere between 1 to 10 hours, depending on the energy drink brand in question.
Besides that, your own tolerances and preferences play a large part in determining how long an energy drink may last.
Caffeine is usually absorbed by the body within an hour, meaning you’ll benefit from the full effect of caffeine by then. After that point, caffeine and its effects slowly start to decay.
The half-life of caffeine is around 5 hours, which means that if you have 160mg of caffeine at the start, you’ll be working with 80mg of caffeine in your bloodstream by the 5-hour mark.
A large part of this is dependent on caffeine metabolism, which is how fast your body can process caffeine until its effects start to wear off.
For example, if you’re somewhat used to caffeine (either through coffee or other energy drinks), it’s possible that you’ll need a higher dose of caffeine to achieve the same effects.
In short, how long an energy drink’s effects can last for you is really dependent on a lot of factors, a lot of which rely on the person (you) and energy drink in question.
Do High-Sugar Energy Drinks Lead To Sugar Crashes?
Now you might be fooled into thinking that the more calories an energy drink has, the better it is at giving you energy.
While high-sugar energy drinks can technically give you more energy, you’re also more likely to burn that energy faster and end up in a sugar crash where you feel more sluggish and lethargic.
The more sugar there is in a drink, the more likely you’ll experience a sugar crash, which isn’t something you want in a high-stress situation.
Now if you want more information on sugar and sugar crashes, I’ve written an article on the best energy drinks without crash which you could check out too.
How Many Energy Drinks Should I Have A Day?
Honestly, you only really need one can of energy drink per day to really get the full benefits.
Now that’s not to say you can’t have more than one can of energy drink per day (similar to how some people might have 2 or 3 cups of coffee throughout the day), because sometimes, you just need that extra boost.
That said, you shouldn’t consume energy drinks excessively. There are daily recommended limits for both sugar and caffeine, and consuming energy drinks excessively could lead to exceeding the sugar or caffeine limit.
Remember, energy drinks are no substitute for a proper meal. So if you happen to be feeling a little sluggish during supposed meal times, maybe grabbing a bite might be a better idea instead.
What To Look Out For In An Energy Drink With The Most Energy?
While it might be tempting to go for the energy drink with the highest caffeine count and hope for the best, you need to know what exactly you’re getting into to make an informed decision.
You should try and find an energy drink that best suits your specific needs, whether complementing a workout routine or staying up all night cramming for an important exam.
As always, the best way to do this is to run through your selection criteria and read the nutrition label on the energy drink.
While it won’t tell you everything you need to know (like how it tastes), it’s a pretty good start to understanding what goes into an energy drink and how its ingredients may help or hinder you.
In terms of pure energy, calories are basically the only concrete way to measure how much energy your body would obtain from the energy drink to fuel your cells.
Do note, however, that most of the calories in energy drinks are empty calories with little to no nutrition, though other ingredients, such as vitamins, Taurine/BCAAs, and electrolytes, do try to solve that issue.
For reference, the recommended daily caloric intake is between 2000 to 2400 calories for women and 2400 to 3000 calories for men.
So if you’re on a diet or keeping track of your daily calorie count, I would advise you to make sure the energy drink you have doesn’t contain too many calories.
The caffeine content in most energy drinks ranges from around 50 to 300mg, depending on the brand.
Caffeine is the most important part of an energy drink, but you really don’t want to have too much of it, especially if you’re new to caffeinated drinks in general (including energy drinks, of course).
I personally prefer to have between about 50 to 100mg of caffeine per serving, which works for me. I find any more than that to be a little overwhelming and often leaves me unable to think straight and feeling flushed.
However, there are energy drinks that contain up to 300mg of caffeine per can (or more), which might be the thing you need if you find yourself craving something stronger.
Essentially, figuring out how much caffeine works for you is key to getting the most energy out of your energy drinks. If you’re not too sure, you could always consult a doctor to be safe.
If you’re looking for the strongest energy drinks available in the market, this article has everything you need to know.
To provide context on how much sugar is generally acceptable, the AHA recommends a daily sugar limit of no more than 25g for women and 36g for men.
For health reasons, it’s always best to try and keep your sugar intake low, as there are long-term health and dietary consequences of eating too much sugar, such as:
- Weight Gain
- Type II Diabetes
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of depression
Sugar is great, but it’s probably for the best that you don’t consume too much of it in your food or drinks, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great sugar-free energy drinks available, so you have plenty of options for energy drinks without sugar.
However, if you are reluctant to cut out sugar completely, you can refer to this article on the best energy drinks with less sugar to get you started.
Best Energy Drinks With The Most Energy
These are my personal recommendations of the best energy drinks with the most energy.
The table below is a quick summary of each:
|Energy Drink||Caffeine (mg)||Sugar (g)||Calories|
|Reign Energy Drink||300||0||0|
|Celsius Energy Drink||200||0||10|
|REIZE Energy Drink||50||0||11|
Reign Energy Drink
Each 16 fl.oz can of Reign contains 300mg of caffeine, 0 calories, and is sugar-free. Reign also contains some pretty nifty ingredients, such as BCAAs and a good dosing of vitamins and minerals.
Besides that, Reign comes in a variety of flavors, though be warned, even though they don’t have any sugar in them, the artificial sweeteners used does make it taste oddly sweet.
For further information on Reign, check out the review article I’ve written on Reign, here.
Celsius Energy Drink
It might not have the highest caffeine content, but Celsius’s healthier formula means you won’t have to worry about too many things when it comes to this energy drink.
Each 12 fl.oz can of Celsius contains 10 calories, 200mg of caffeine, and a bunch of beneficial ingredients such as Vitamin C, which is actually pretty rare in the energy drink world.
Best of all, they come in a variety of fruity flavors, so it’s more of a caffeinated fizzy fruit juice.
I’ve written all about Celsius in an article discussing Celsius’ caffeine and ingredients right here, so check that out if you want to learn more.
REIZE Energy Drink (10 out of 10)
While all energy drinks claim to give you a lot of energy, nothing quite beats REIZE in my opinion.
REIZE is a powdered energy drink that comes in a convenient 4g sachet. With a sensible 50mg of caffeine, it’s completely sugar-free and has only 11 calories per serving.
REIZE also contains a smart blend of taurine, ginseng, and B-group vitamins to give you the perfect energy boost without the sugar crash afterward.
The best thing is, you can get REIZE shipped straight to your door for only about $1 per drink.
Try REIZE today, and you might find it a smarter choice to get you that surge of energy for your day.