Most of us turn to energy drinks for a much-needed energy boost. Obviously, highly proven influential brands such as Monster, Red Bull, and G Fuel dominate our market.
But as popular as energy drinks are, there have also long been questions about their potential negative side effects.
While certain studies have proven that energy drinks may cause adverse health issues, some studies say otherwise. In fact, this study states that it depends on your consumption.
To be more specific, you have to choose an energy drink brand with the right ingredients as well as caffeine content, since we can have varying caffeine tolerances.
To counter these claims, many energy drinks brands have put out more health-focused energy drink products with naturally-derived ingredients and minimal caffeine and sugar content.
Still, I’m reluctant to call any energy drink “healthy”. But as I said, it’s a matter of choosing the right energy drink for your lifestyle and needs!
Continue reading for my list of energy drink alternatives you can pick to avoid pesky side effects!
Let’s get into the details.
Are Energy Drinks Healthy?
First of all, energy drinks aren’t healthy. And that’s only because the FDA didn’t make any specific announcement to treat it as one. However, energy drinks’ contents follow the FDA guidelines.
Energy drinks are also not dietary supplements that can replace meals, despite the calorie content.
But it all comes down to the caffeine and sugar content. Even if the brand is sugar-free or has low caffeine, if you consume the drink excessively, you’ll find yourself experiencing some nasty side effects like headaches or insomnia.
What to Drink Other Than Energy Drinks?
Because energy drinks are not entirely healthy, you might be having a double-take for now. Luckily, there are other options that you could try in case you want a 100% healthy beverage.
First on the list would be water. Unlike energy drinks, we constantly need water to survive. Don’t you know that our body comprises 60% water?
Because we’re composed of water, it’s recommended that we drink at least eight glasses of water every day. If you’re constantly feeling tired and sleepy, you might not have been drinking enough water.
According to this article, not drinking enough water can cause fatigue. If your pee is dark yellow, that’s a sign that you’re dehydrated. That means you need to drink water more.
If it’s only the caffeine you want in an energy drink, why don’t you try coffee instead? A cup of coffee can provide you with 80-100mg of caffeine, and that’s enough to wake up your whole system.
It may not be obvious, but coffee also contains antioxidants and vitamins such as riboflavin and potassium. It also claims to lessen depression, but I guess just drinking it alone can pretty much take your stress away.
Check out my article on energy drinks vs coffee to see how they’re similar and different from each other.
How to Know Which Energy Drinks are Healthy?
I’ve come up with a checklist of things to look out for in a good energy drink brand that won’t harm your health!
Low on Sugar
If an energy drink has a high sugar level, that’s not a healthy energy drink for you. Sugar is a common ingredient in an energy drink. That’s because it can give you a quick energy boost and a good taste experience.
However, I don’t think you must look for high sugar content. Because you consume too much sugar, it can lead to sugar crashes. That would go against your workout routine and fitness goals because it can lead to weight gain.
This article advises you to keep your sugar consumption at 30g per day to prevent that. So, I guess the lower the sugar amount is in an energy drink, the better option it could be. However, some energy drinks don’t use natural sugar but instead artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are FDA-approved and suitable even for people with diabetes. Moreover, they can also prevent you from gaining extra weight because they have no additional calories.
Low in Caffeine
Just like sugar, the lesser the caffeine amount is, the better. Some energy drink brands have high caffeine content, while others keep it low.
This actually has its own pros and cons. For example, too much can lead to caffeine crashes, wherein too low can make you feel no power boost at all. However, it largely depends on your caffeine tolerance and the intensity of your activities for the day.
I don’t think a 30-minute jog would require lots of caffeine. But if you’re going weightlifting, then I guess two cans of energy drink would be enough. Just take note that the highest level of caffeine you can find in an energy drink is 300mg, such as Redline Xtreme Energy and G Fuel.
This is actually in the warning level because the recommended amount of caffeine you’re only allowed to take is at 400mg set by the FDA. If you consume over that amount, it could lead to headaches, anxiety, and even fever.
In addition, energy drinks contain other ingredients like taurine and B vitamins for an extra energy boost.
According to this study, taurine combined with caffeine can boost your mental performance. Most energy drinks contain 1000mg of taurine.
This might scare you because it’s such a high amount. However, taurine is beneficial to your body by lowering your blood pressure and calming the nervous system. Because of this, it’s safe to take up to 3000mg of taurine per day.
In addition, the Vitamin B complex helps prevent infections, thus strengthening the health of your cells. Other than that, it could also support the following:
- Red blood cells development
- Energy levels
- Good eyesight
- Healthy brain function
- Smooth digestion
- Healthy appetite
- Nerve function
- Hormones production
- Cholesterol production
- Cardiovascular health
- Muscle tone
As you can see, it has so many benefits to your body. However, it’s not safe to take too much of it. Unlike taurine, consuming enormous amounts of B vitamins can negatively affect your health.
Here is the daily amount recommendation according to this article:
|B Vitamins||For Women||For Men|
There are also energy drinks that use herbal supplements such as ginseng and guarana. The extract you can get from these two has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Just like caffeine, ginseng is also linked to increased alertness and reaction. On the other hand, guarana has caffeine in it. But aside from that, it also contains theophylline and theobromine, which are mild muscle relaxants.
How Much Energy Drink Should You Take Per Day?
According to this article, it’s safe to take two servings or two cans of energy drinks. However, I think that would depend on its contents.
In case you’re a kid or pregnant, you need to avoid energy drinks at all costs. Otherwise, energy drinks can be harmful to you. That’s why you should consider taking natural beverages for your health and the health of your baby instead.
Healthy Energy Drink Alternatives
Aspire is a healthier choice because it’s sugar-free and has a low caffeine content at only 80mg. With 80mg of caffeine, Aspire could give you a fair lift, as well as a boost on your mental concentration.
Moreover, I like Aspire Energy primarily because it claims to be vegan-friendly. This instantly can make you think like the drink is healthy, right? As I checked its content, I saw no problem at all.
In addition, the caffeine inside Aspire is from green tea and guarana seed. This could quicken your metabolism and help you take away more calories during exercise. Moreover, it also has vitamin Bs and vitamin C, essential to your well-being.
Another energy drink with a reasonable amount of caffeine is the Guru energy drink. It has only 100 mg of caffeine and has natural ingredients such as green tea, echinacea flower extract, and Panax ginseng root extract.
You would only not have a dose of energy but antioxidants as well. 22g of sugar came from an organic cane syrup instead of processed sugar. Even though it’s a healthier choice, it’s still best to keep your intake at only one can per day.
ZipFizz is a powdered energy drink that’s pretty convenient. A single-serve contains 100mg of caffeine and 0g of sugar, and other ingredients commonly found in energy drinks, such as B vitamins.
I’m just not fond of its high vitamin B12 amount, 41,667% of the daily value. Even though B Vitamins are water-soluble and won’t probably lead to any harmful side effects, it’s still much safer to be wary.
REIZE is the healthiest energy drink for me. That’s because it only has 50mg of caffeine per powdered stick.
Moreover, it doesn’t have any natural sugar and uses artificial sweeteners instead.
It also has additional nutrients such as taurine and B Vitamins. Aside from that, it has ginseng too that could help enable your efficiency and productivity. If you’re caffeine sensitive and you love living an active lifestyle, REIZE is your best option.
It’s also so flexible since it comes in handy 4g sachets that you can carry around anywhere. Just add water, and you can have yourself tasty energy enhanced by a great beverage. Isn’t that amazing? Furthermore, you can also control your dose much better with powdered energy drinks like REIZE.
You can get REIZE for only around $1 and you can even have your orders shipped straight to your door!
Try REIZE now and experience energy without any jitters from crashes.
Other Notable Mentions
Energy drinks are an excellent companion for your daily activities. And while they aren’t treated as a healthy option, they still have benefits to your body that can help you be healthy.
Some energy drinks contain nutritious ingredients. And you just have to a closer look to find the right one.
Nevertheless, you can keep your body healthy by eating a proper diet and resting well. Moreover, if consuming an energy drink is really necessary, check its contents first and go with the one that you’ll be able to handle!