Energy drinks are great at what they do – providing you with an energy boost.
They are immensely popular all around the world and across all ages. The entire market is dominated by huge brands such as Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster. However, there are also lots of other great energy drinks out there besides these brands.
Personally, I’m a big fan of energy drinks, and I can say that they’ve become a significant part of my life.
However, when it comes to energy drinks there often lots of questions about how healthy they are for you.
To answer this, I’ve gone out and done my own research so that you don’t need to.
How healthy are energy drinks?
It turns out that energy drinks are not all that good for you and should be consumed in moderation.
This is mainly due to some of them containing a high amount of caffeine and sugar.
However, there are also lots of energy drinks out there that contain a sensible amount of caffeine and little or no sugar. Although, even they aren’t exactly “healthy” for you, these versions of energy drinks are simply less harmful to your health.
I recommend that you mainly drink water, and lots of it. Once you’ve got that healthy habit in place, I think it’s perfectly fine to drink one or two of the healthier energy drinks per day, as long as you don’t have any pre-existing health conditions.
How do you decide which energy drinks are healthy?
When it comes to energy drinks, how can you be sure which energy drinks are actually healthy? A pro-tip to help you find a healthy energy drink is to always look at the sugar content.
Keep sugar low
Many energy drinks are high in sugar and too much sugar is certainly not good for you.
It almost goes without saying that the first thing you should check for in an energy drink is the sugar content. Sugar is normally a key ingredient in energy drinks due to the quick energy boost it can give you and for how it sweetens the taste.
The energy that you get from sugar is usually short-lived and tends to be followed by a sugar crash. There’s also a solid reason to avoid sugar as there has been research linking sugar to diseases such as diabetes
When it comes to shopping for energy drinks, look for ones that are sugar-free. If by chance you can’t get your hands on a sugar-free energy drink, try to choose one that has less than the others.
How much caffeine is ideal?
Another tip for helping to find the healthiest energy drink is to look at the caffeine content.
In general, it’s recommended to limit your caffeine intake to no more than 400mg a day– that’s what the FDA recommends.
Caffeine can cause a range of health problems such as insomnia, anxiety, and headaches if consumed in excess.
Therefore, when it comes to choosing a healthy energy drink it’s best to go for the one with a sensible amount of caffeine.
Extra boosters such as Amino acids and vitamins
When looking for a healthy energy drink, try and get those that contain a sensible amount of taurine, B vitamins and other ingredients.
Besides caffeine, energy drinks usually contain lots of other ingredients like taurine and B vitamin complex to increase the overall energy boost.
Taurine is an amino acid that works well together with caffeine to boost your mental performance. B vitamins on the other hand are essential in helping your body to convert food into energy.
While B group vitamins are water-soluble, consuming extremely large amounts of them can be risky. Always read the label and think twice about consuming anything that contains multiples of the recommended daily value of anything.
What’s the healthiest energy drink?
When it comes choosing a healthy energy drink it can be pretty tricky and time-consuming. With so many options to choose from and so many different marketing messages, it can be overwhelming.
To help you eliminate all the guesswork and saving you the time and effort, I’ve rounded up the energy drinks that I consider to be healthier options.
Red Bull (sugar-free)
Red Bull is the most popular energy drink brand in the world. An 8.4 fl.oz can of the sugar-free variety contains 80mg of caffeine and 0g of sugar, which is great for your energy needs. It’s much better than the regular Red Bull which contains the same amount of caffeine, but 27g of sugar.
If you’re a Red Bull fan, I suggest you go for the healthier, sugar-free version.
Fun fact: Red Bull was once banned in France over health concerns. Check out my other article that explains what happened.
You can check the current Red Bull prices on Amazon here.
Matcha Bar Hustle Unsweetened
Matcha Bar Hustle is great when you need a quick pick me up energy boost. MatchaBar Hustle contains 120mg of caffeine and 0g of sugar per 12 fl.oz. The caffeine content is slightly more than what I usually prefer, but it’s only by a small amount – not significant enough to actually cause any harm.
ZipFizz is a powder that you add to water to make an energy drink. It’s quite convenient. A single serve contains 100mg of caffeine and 0g of sugar as well as a variety of other ingredients commonly found in energy drinks such as B vitamins.
However, I do have my reservations about the fact that it contains a staggering 41,667% of the daily value for vitamin B12.
It is a powdered energy drink, similar to ZipFizz. A single serve of REIZE contains 50mg of caffeine and is also sugar-free which is great for your health. REIZE also contains a good amount of B vitamins and a sensible amount of taurine and ginseng.
Grab yourself some REIZE here.
Monster Zero Ultra
A single can (16 fl.oz) of this Monster variant contains 160mg of caffeine. Although that’s more than I usually prefer, it’s much less than the amount that’s generally considered harmful to you.
This version of Monster Energy is by far the healthiest amongst the Monster range in my opinion. This is because Monster Zero Ultra doesn’t contain any sugar and calories at all, unlike the other versions.
Celsius is a great energy drink if you need an energy boost during your workouts. A single can of Celsius packs a huge 200mg of caffeine.
200mg of caffeine is on the high side, but still not a contender for the strongest energy drink.
Check out my other article where I cover the ingredients in Celsius energy drink in detail.
Benefits of Energy Drinks
The upside of Energy drinks
- They give you an energy boost
This one is a no brainer. Giving you an energy boost is basically what energy drinks are made for. Energy drinks contain caffeine and a variety of other ingredients that are needed to give you an energy boost.
When it comes to what’s healthy, energy drinks that don’t contain sugar are definitely much better for you than those that do in my opinion.
- It’s much more convenient and hassle-free than getting a cup of coffee
Energy drinks usually come in either ready-to-drink cans or as powders in sachets. Both are much more convenient to carry around compared to a cup of coffee.
- Saves you money
If you frequently drink coffee, especially from the likes of Starbucks, I’m pretty sure you know how quickly your money can disappear.
Many Starbucks drinks are near the $5 mark. Energy drinks on the other hand, are typically much more affordable. Some brands cost for only $1 per serve, and energy drinks rarely cost more than about $3 per drink.
- A variety of flavors
With coffee or tea you usually don’t get the option of choosing what flavor you want, and not everyone likes the taste of coffee or tea.
Energy drinks on the other hand, come in a wide variety of flavors that you can choose from. They are much better in the sense that they provide you with more options to find something that suits your taste.
The downside of energy drinks
In excess, energy drinks:
- Can cause weight gain due to the high sugar content and calories (in some energy drinks)
- Can lead to caffeine addiction
- May lead to heart issues due to an increased heart rate
- Can cause side effects such as insomnia, anxiety, restlessness due to the caffeine content
However, all these downsides of energy drink only occur when you overdo it and drink energy drinks in excess.
Drink energy drinks in moderation and you’ll be just fine.
What can I drink instead of energy drinks?
If you’re looking to get an energy boost from something other than energy drinks, there are some natural alternatives that you can opt for:
Water is crucial for our bodies to perform at an optimal level, as about 60% of our body is made up of water. It’s recommended that you drink at least six to eight glasses of water every day.
If you’re constantly feeling tired and sluggish, ask yourself whether have you been drinking enough water.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, not drinking enough water and rehydrating yourself can cause you to feel sluggish and fatigued.
If you’re not sure whether you are well hydrated or not, check your urine the next time you pee. If it’s colorless or light yellow, you’re well hydrated and if it’s dark in color, you need to drink more water to rehydrate yourself.
Green tea is one of the most popular beverages on the planet. It’s loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial to your body.
Green tea contains caffeine, although much less than what’s in an energy drink or a cup of coffee. Although it contains less caffeine, it’s still enough to keep you awake.
In fact, because it contains much less caffeine than energy drinks, you probably won’t experience any jitters which is commonly associated with consuming too much caffeine.
Besides that, it is also helps you to improve your body’s metabolism and physical performance.
Yerba Mate is somewhat similar to green tea and it also contains caffeine.
However, it also has antioxidants, minerals and tons of other ingredients that are beneficial for your health.
It’s also not as acidic or addictive as coffee or energy drinks.
Coconut water is one of the healthiest natural energy drinks that you can get your hands on. It’s known as the natural sports drink because it contains lots of minerals and potassium that are good for your body.
In fact, coconut water might just be the perfect beverage for you to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes that are lost during your workouts.
The Acai berry has lots of amazing nutritional properties which are great in helping you to boost your energy levels.
They’re known to contain lots of B vitamins, which are needed by your body to produce energy. When you’re searching for a good Acai drink, make sure to look for those with the highest acai content and a low amount of added sugar.
Should you opt for other healthier energy-boosting beverages?
If you’re looking for the healthiest drink, I would recommend you go for a natural energy boosting beverage like one fo the options that I listed above.
Sure, you can opt for these healthy drinks, but unfortunately, most of the healthier alternatives don’t actually taste all that good.
Before you go and make your decision to completely cut out energy drinks, pause for a moment and think about your options.
Anything in excess is bad, and that is also true for energy drinks.
Instead of completely cutting out energy drinks, I suggest you opt for an energy drink that contains only a sensible amount of caffeine and no sugar – and always consume them in moderation.
You can have the best of both worlds – heathy drinks most of the time and the occasional energy drink to put some extra spring in your step.
REIZE ENERGY DRINK
If you prefer to get your energy boost from an energy drink, and are looking for one that contains a sensible amount of caffeine – I highly recommend REIZE Energy Drink.
REIZE is a powdered energy drink that comes in a sachet – all you need to do is add water.
It’s also much more versatile than most other energy drinks – you can mix it with virtually any beverage of your choice.
With 50mg of caffeine, REIZE contains a much more sensible amount of caffeine than most energy drinks. It also contains lots of other great ingredients such as taurine, ginseng and B vitamins all which all work great with caffeine to give you the perfect energy boost.
REIZE ships right to your door for around $1 per drink, which is a lot more affordable than most other energy drinks.
If you’re looking for something that packs a punch and gives you just what you need (energy wise) without the devastating side effects, REIZE might be for you.
Give REIZE a try today and you might just find that REIZE is a healthier energy drink than whatever you were previously drinking.