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What is an Energy Drink? (For Beginners)

What is an Energy Drink? (For Beginners)

I’m sure you already have an idea what an energy drink is. Just from the name, you can tell that it’s a beverage that can energize you. If you can’t, well, there’s a lot of commercials and ads out there that promote energy drinks for athletes and the associated active lifestyle. The idea is that energy drinks will keep you going through all the fatigue and sweat.

That’s actually very close to the truth! According to Britannica, an energy drink is a beverage that stimulates the body. It contains various electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and many more to power and hydrate you.

Of course, the main ingredient of energy drinks is caffeine, the most popular and common natural stimulant in the world. A decent amount of it can help individuals focus for hours on end, effectively one of the main reasons people drink this product.

But that’s not all there is to energy drinks. If you’re a beginner, you might be confused as to what all these ingredients, nutrients, and labels mean. Don’t worry, this is your complete guide to getting to know the right energy drink for you!

The First Energy Drink

It’s common knowledge that tea leaves and coffee beans were the top dogs in keeping individuals awake and ready to take on the day for centuries. But when the second world war ended, things indeed started changing.

Japan’s post-war era welcomed the first-ever energy drink in the whole world in 1962. The Japanese company Taisho pharmaceuticals introduced Lipovitan D as an energizing herbal tonic whose target audiences were individuals who have long work shifts.

Instead of caffeine, its main ingredient is Taurine. A total of 3,000mg of this substance can be found in a single bottle of Lipovitan D to this day!

It wasn’t until 1985 when America had its own version in the name of Jolt Cola. However, it wasn’t known as an energy drink but a carbonated soft drink which most, if not all, members of every community drink to get more energy and calm their nerves.

Eventually, energy drinks were perfected by manufacturers and became a staple in many countries all over the world.

Energy Drink Common Ingredients

No matter what brand it is, you can find these ingredients without fail:

StimulantsCoffee, black and green tea, cocoaStimulates the central nervous system, increases vigilance, and reduces drowsiness
SugarTable sugar or Artificial sweetenerProvide energy to the body
VitaminsVitamins A to ZEssential building blocks of the body and help keep you in good health
CarnitineL CarnitineIt impacts brain function, transport fats into your cells
ElectrolytesPotassium, calcium sodium, and magnesium Keep the body’s balance of fluids at the proper level
Amino AcidsTaurineSupport growth and lower blood pressure
Contents commonly found in energy drinks and their uses

These small groups of substances make up a large portion of any energy drink. They ensure that your body receives essential nutrients and can replace other bodily substances you have lost during activities.

Many individuals raise an eyebrow when they hear the word carbohydrates while failing to realize that it provides most of the energy your body needs to function daily. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that you should have 225 to 325 grams of this macronutrient if you’re on a 2,000-calorie diet, which you can achieve by eating whole grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, and many more.

Extracting Guarana, a climbing native fruit of Brazil means that you must turn its seeds into powder. Once that is achieved, you can get antioxidants and other attributions such as reduced risks of fatigue improved cognitive functions, and kickstart your weight loss.

These portions set energy drinks apart from other beverages in the market as they can continuously be changed and removed as per the brand’s motto. Its ability to adhere to a particular group’s wants and needs makes them efficient drinks that can serve in more ways than one.

Caffeine Content

As previously mentioned, energy drinks are known to supply individuals with caffeine.

Since it is a stimulant and can have huge effects on the body, the FDA has put a strict recommendation daily intake of up to 400mg daily, purposely preventing many detrimental side effects that may instantly occur or over time.

Journals have also claimed that caffeine is most effective when it is less than 200mg per serving. Because of this, you can expect an increase in alertness and attention span, better cognitive function, reduced risks to certain cancers, and many more.

However, it would help to consider whether you’re caffeine-sensitive since not everyone can absorb the same amount of caffeine per serving. You know you can’t metabolize high amounts of caffeine if you’ve just taken a couple of sips and began exhibiting symptoms such as jitters, a headache, and irregular heartbeats, just to name a few.

On another note, you still should watch how much you consume despite having the ability to drink up to the ceiling of the daily intake recommendation, as it can cause irreversible damage to your body. Constant ingestion of beverages with high caffeine content will most likely result in caffeine dependency.

This can then escalate to caffeine addiction, where an overdose is just waiting to happen. A caffeine overdose may manifest through difficulty in breathing, hallucinations, confusion, and even convulsions.

Caffeine overdose is life-threatening. It can even lead to either a coma or death itself.

Picture of a man choosing energy drink.
Choose wisely, listen to your body and not exceed your limitations to prevent adverse side effects

Sugar Content

Table sugars are thrown into the energy drink mix to enhance flavor.

Since it is a type of carbohydrate, it can give the body energy to use and store for the time being. In fact, it plays a vital role in the function of the central nervous system.

Too much sugar can also cause life-threatening effects such as Hypoglycemia, more commonly known as a sugar crash. This happens when the blood sugar drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter, a medical emergency that can easily transcend coma and seizures.

Some of its famous side effects also include:

  • Diabetis
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Obesity
  • Skin problems

Unfortunately, many energy drinks contain high amounts of sugar, so it’s always essential to pick the best one for you. The supplement facts on every sachet, tube, or can display how sweet the beverage is.

To regulate the sugar consumption of individuals, the American Health Association recommends that women should only consume 26 grams while men are capped at 36 grams.

The introduction of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols has since changed the industry as they continue to provide healthier avenues for companies to explore. In this junction, diabetics and those who intend to watch their sugar intake can consume energy drinks if they want to.

Personally, the key to consuming energy drinks with sugars is to regulate your consumption of their product. It also wouldn’t hurt to pair your energy drink of choice to healthy meals and an overall healthy lifestyle.

Calorie Content

Contrary to what countless stereotypes you hear from movies, calories aren’t the world’s number one public enemy. They play essential roles in various bodily systems.

Their presence allows your body to continuously operate as they also disperse countless nutrients to your body while allowing some portions to be stored as body fat.

Though calories aren’t inherently dangerous to your body, too much may cause weight gain and obesity, allowing various diseases to develop in the long run possibly. To watch how many calories go into your diet, you can follow the prescribed dietary guidelines of up to 2,400 calories for women and 3,000 calories for men.

Good news though, there are calorie-free energy drink brands that you can try!

What are Energy Drinks For?

As previously mentioned, energy drinks function as an energy booster and a good source of nutrients, though most are synthetically produced. Some brands also aim to replace the electrolytes you may lose during physical activity.

Some brands also intend to aid you on your weight loss journey and even aid you in numerous activities such as racing, taking an exam, or recovering from a fever.

Energy drinks are versatile. You can take them if you’re thirsty or just plain curious about it in general.

You can also check out this Youtube video to familiarize yourself with energy drinks’ effects.

Can Children Drink Energy Drinks?

Children and teenagers are not recommended to drink energy drinks.

Research has shown that this particular demographic is more susceptible to the side effects of energy drinks, especially those with high caffeine content.

Technically, the FDA has set a 100mg limit for teenagers, and a few energy drinks like Red Bull and Aspire do fit that requirement but bear in mind that we also usually consume other caffeine-laden products like chocolate and tea every day.

If you’re not careful, you can easily exceed the daily limit. This is the main reason why children and teenagers are not encouraged to consume caffeine.

Famous energy drinks in can.
Lots of Energy drinks are available at the market.

Are Energy Drinks FDA Approved?

Energy drinks, as a whole, aren’t FDA-approved as they are labeled as dietary supplements. This only means that they don’t need to ask for permission to be used by countless individuals.

However, their contents, such as caffeine and sugar, are heavily monitored due to the danger they can impose on one’s health. The FDA also checks the ingredients to see if they can cause allergic reactions or cause unnecessary effects to the body. If there are ingredients that might trigger allergies, the label will show them for safety.

But medical professionals and lawmakers are keen on changing how EDs present their data on its supplement fact section as this beverage is sending people in the emergency room. If you want to read more about this, you can check out this article I made.

The Most Popular Energy Drink Brands

There are at least a hundred brands of energy drinks in the market, and they aren’t planning on stopping any time soon. Here are some of the world’s most preferred brands of energy drink thus far.

Red Bull

Who hasn’t heard of Red Bull, aka the King of energy drinks?

Made in 1987, this 8.4 fl. oz contains 110 calories, 80mg of caffeine, and 27g. It also has essential vitamins and minerals such as the infamous B-Vitamins and Calcium.

If you want to explore the world of energy drinks, I suggest you start with the best of the best. After all, Red Bull won’t be the most preferred ED of Olympians and other world-class athletes if it isn’t one of a kind.


If you mentioned the King, you gotta include the creme of the crop that is Monster Energy.

A single 16 fl. oz can possess 160mg caffeine, 190 calories, and 54 g of sugar. These amounts are currently on the high side but not a threat to your well-being if you regulate its consumption.

So if you’re thinking about energy drinks, Monster is the ideal brand to start with.

REIZE (The Best)

REIZE is your Australian-based powdered energy drink in a 4g sachet filled with 50mg caffeine, 11 calories, and other essential vitamins and minerals such as B-Vitamins, Taurine, and Ginseng.

It’s perfect for beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike because its caffeine content is just right for a great energy boost without the risk of side effects! Plus, it’s also sugar-free.

It’s also suitable for any kind of lifestyle because it comes in handy sachets that you can take with you anywhere. Enjoy the delicious fizzy flavor of REIZE anytime, just add water!

For just around $1 per sachet, you can get this product shipped right to your doorstep.

So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a REIZE today!

Reize Sachet poured in a glass
Reize Sachet poured in a glass

Other Noteworthy Eenergy Drinks

If you’re looking for more EDs, you can try the following:


Energy drinks are one-of-a-kind beverages that intend to bring out the best in you. They have essential vitamins and minerals that you may undoubtedly need sooner than later. Not to mention, their caffeine content is guaranteed to give you enough energy for your day’s activities.

Energy drinks are best for adults who are healthy and do not have existing medical conditions or are caffeine-sensitive. Remember to always have proper diet and exercise to achieve maximum benefits without risking side effects.

The best thing about energy drinks is that although most brands share the same ingredients and effects, they have different blends and nutritional value. You have a lot of choices, so make sure you pick the right energy drink brand that suits your lifestyle!

If you’re particularly physically active, you can go for high-caffeine brands with a lot of performance-enhancing micronutrients. If you’re just in it for a decent but mild energy boost for your morning commute, you can try some low-caffeine brands with natural extracts.

But don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it soon! Just bear in mind to consume energy drinks in moderation and everything will be smooth sailing.