Top Recommended Energy Drinks to Give You the Alertness You Need!

Feeling sleep-deprived and grumpy? Energy drinks will deliver a quick increase in alertness and wakefulness while providing the extra fuel to get on with your day. There are different types of energy drinks, each with a different purpose. The main considerations are taste, ingredient, and the effects. We have highlighted the things to look for when buying a product, as well safety concerns.

We found three basic categories of products: ready-to-drink beverages, powders, and energy supplements for use during exercise. We included a sampling of all three. With each one, we identified its primary use and the ingredients they contain. Of course, the final decision comes down to taste. We have given our take on what we thought of each one’s flavour.

5 of the Best Energy Drinks in the UK

Monster Ripper Science in Sport Go Electrolyte Rockstar Xdurance High 5 Race Pack Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy Diet Supplement
Product
Quality

Monster Ripper Energy Plus Juice

The Monster Ripper Energy Plus Juice is a tasty way to get a serious energy boost. The fuel sources include caffeine, taurine, ginseng and B vitamins which support energy production in the body. A 500-ml can contains a whopping 160 mg of caffeine which is more than the amount in a cup of coffee. As the manufacturer rightly notes, this product is not meant for children.

It contains a delicious blend of apple, passion fruit, pineapple, and guava juices. The product description puts the juice amount at 50%, though we have found it to be 20%. It contains both natural and artificial sweeteners which put its carbohydrate content at 12 g per 100 ml or 60 g if you drink the entire can. That’s about 12% of the recommended carb intake.

It has no fat or protein. It includes several vitamins including B3, B6, B2, and B12. We loved the fruity taste which wasn’t overly sweet or syrupy. The nutritional information list a serving as 100 ml which is a bit misleading since you will finish an entire can. Also, it’s carbonated, and you probably won’t want it to sit around all day with it.

Pros

  • 20% juice from concentrate
  • Energy boost from caffeine, taurine, ginseng, and B vitamins
  • High carbohydrate content
  • Can-size options available
  • Fruity taste

Cons

  • Description mentions 50% juice concentrate
  • Can mess with sleep patterns
  • Can cause sweating

Science in Sport Go Electrolyte Energy Drink Powder

Science in Sport Go Electrolyte Energy Drink Powder increases your energy level with electrolytes that help maintain proper hydration during exercise. Fatigue is a classic symptom of dehydration which can affect your performance. It works differently than other types of energy drinks by addressing the cause, rather than providing the quick caffeine fix.

That’s where it differs from other beverages. The carbohydrates provide an excellent source of energy that your body can metabolise quickly. It includes sodium and other electrolytes so that you can replace sodium and other electrolytes lost during intense physical activity. Vegetarians and vegans can use this product. We didn’t see anything to indicate it’s not gluten-free.

Some may not like the fact that it contains aspartame because of its taste. However, it keeps the calorie count low.  It comes in five flavours and sizes. The 1.6 kg size will make between 20 to 25 pints. We liked the idea of using a powder as opposed to other containers for an eco-friendlier option.

Pros

  • Comes in 5 flavours
  • 36 g of carbohydrate per 500 ml serving
  • Low calorie
  • High in sodium for aiding workouts

Cons

  • Contains aspartame
  • Can be way too sweet for some
  • Can be gritty after mixing

Rockstar Xdurance

Rockstar Xdurance is a yummy blend of blueberry, pomegranate, and acai flavours. Each of these fruits on their own has some evidence to support its use as a healthy drink. It contains caffeine, green tea extract, guarana, taurine, ginseng, and B vitamins as well, to provide the necessary energy.

Each 100 ml serving is about 58 calories with 14 g of carbohydrates. It contains no fat and it has a small number of electrolytes. We were surprised to learn that it also includes amino acids, albeit only in trace amounts. These chemicals are the building blocks of proteins. Like Monster, the caffeine content of this beverage is high at 32 mg per 100 ml.

While it tastes great, it is heavy on the sugar. This results in its high calorie count. The sweetness does make the drink go down easy though. Just be prepared for the caffeine rush which comes on quick and furious. The drink is carbonated with a slight aftertaste.

Pros

  • Contains caffeine, green tea extract, guarana, taurine, ginseng and B vitamins
  • Blend of blueberry, pomegranate and acai flavours
  • 14 g of carbohydrates per 100 ml serving
  • Increases alertness

Cons

  • Contains sugar
  • High in calories
  • Can be gritty after mixing

High 5 Race Pack

The High 5 Race Pack provides high-quality energy to endurance athletes who need a reliable source of fuel. It differs from other energy drinks, in that, it is formulated to serve your specific nutritional needs during a longer event. It provides a step-by-step guide to ensure optimal energy and hydration levels.

The pack includes several products in its line including Energy Source Sports Drink Mix, Extreme Sports Drink Mix, Protein Recovery Mix, Energy Bar, Isogel, EnergyGel Plus with caffeine, Zero Tabs, and Zero Tabs Extreme. We liked the selection so that you can try out a wide variety of products to see which works best for you.

The High 5 Race Pack is not for everyone. But if you are serious about sports nutrition, it provides an excellent introduction to finding the products that work best for you depending on the type of activity you engage in. You will also get a chance to try several of their flavours such as pink grapefruit and tropical.

Pros

  • Variety pack of 10 different products
  • Instructions for optimal nutrition and hydration based on your activity
  • Includes a water bottle
  • Full nutrition for up to 4 hours of endurance events

Cons

  • More than 50% of the items have caffeine; can be too much for some

Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy Diet Supplement

The Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy Diet Supplement offers a great tasting product that ups your energy level with 100 mg of caffeine in each serving. That’s about the same as drinking a cup of coffee. It also contains green tea extract and taurine for an added boost. We loved the fact that it is sugar-free with only 29 calories per 100 ml serving.

It’s an eco-friendly option as a powder which mixes easily in water. You will need two scoops for each serving and a 270 grams product will provide you with 30 servings. It contains a blend of 13 amino acids and vitamin C to support building muscle mass and recovery from tough workouts. It comes in 21 tasty flavours including Blueberry Mojito and Blue Raspberry. We thought it tasted great.

The manufacturer recommends only one serving per day either before or after exercising. You can take it any time you need to increase your energy levels. We didn’t see any red flags to indicate it contains gluten, but the label doesn’t contain any information about its content.

Pros

  • 21 flavours to choose from
  • Includes amino acids and vitamin C
  • Sugar free formulation
  • Low calorie

Cons

  • Can cause stomach upsets
  • Reviews state, that the made in USA version is better

What are Energy Drinks?

The purpose of energy drinks is to increase your stamina and fight fatigue.

Some beverages do it directly with stimulants such as caffeine. These ingredients put your body into an active fight-or-flight mode. You will notice an increase in your heart and breathing rates. You will be more mentally alert and respond quicker.

Other drinks raise your energy levels in more subtle ways using vitamins like B-complex. These nutrients may increase your endurance, especially if your diet doesn’t provide adequate amounts.

Other products deliver quick energy usually in the form of simple sugars. Your body can absorb these quickly so that you can benefit from the added fuel.

What Do These Beverages Contain?

The contents vary with the energy drink and its overall purpose. The reason you want to know this is because it is an important consideration while choosing the right one for you. Each type of beverage contains a different profile of ingredients geared towards the intended outcome. You will find many similarities across the spectrum within each kind.

Caffeine

Caffeine is the primary ingredient in drinks that delivers quick energy. Caffeine works by blocking the action of a brain chemical that makes you feel sleepy. Instead of feeling tired, you will feel alert, explains the European Food Safety Authority. Your body will also respond by releasing more epinephrine. That is the hormone that comes into play in the fight-or-flight response.

The effects of caffeine are one reason that athletes may consume it to increase their endurance and performance, or even fat burn. It acts quickly, usually within 45 minutes. Its effects will gradually wear off in about 4 to 6 hours. Many energy drinks will contain the equivalent of a cup of coffee or more.

This video by IOC Diploma Sports Nutrition discusses the role of caffeine on athletic performance.

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks5acics2SY

Taurine

Taurine is another ingredient you will often see especially in products that contain caffeine. It is an amino acid, which are the building blocks of proteins. Some research has suggested that its use with caffeine will boost performance, but the evidence is mixed. However, one study by the Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense in Brazil identified another benefit.

The researchers found that taurine supplementation may reduce muscle damage and thus, soreness after exercise in experiments done with young men. Our take on it, is that, sensitivity to these ingredients varies with the individual.

Vitamins

Many energy drinks rely on the health benefits of B complex vitamins. These nutrients support a host of body functions including cell growth and metabolism. They may provide a temporary boost in alertness when taken in conjunction with the other ingredients. These vitamins are water-soluble which means your body doesn’t store them.

Your body will expel anything higher than the reference intake. If you see RDA percentages of more than 100%, it’s just marketing. There is little scientific evidence to suggest any real health benefits through vitamins in energy drinks. In fact, megadoses of some vitamins may even be harmful.

Sugar and Sweeteners

While most products contain little if any fat, they often contain sugar—and lots of it. Sugars contain carbohydrates which are easy for your body to metabolise quickly. It fits in well with the purpose of these beverages. However, it will increase the calorie count considerably. It’s an important consideration if you are drinking them as a caffeine substitute.

Again, consider the serving size and the actual amount which you are consuming. It may differ little from drinking soda for some products. Some beverages will use artificial sweeteners to reduce the calorie count, but that may affect the taste. It’s one of the tradeoffs you may see with these items.

Other Ingredients

You should pay attention to these other ingredients of your energy drink, especially in herbal supplements. That is where we enter a grey area regarding the actual benefits and potential interactions. Ginseng is a common addition to these beverages. While some evidence suggests it may increase alertness, there is also a risk of harmful side effects such as low blood sugar.

It’s essential that you read the label of the product carefully and note all the ingredients. If you are on medication or have a pre-existing condition, consult your doctor before taking an energy supplement. It’s better to be safe than risk the effects of harmful interactions.

Are They Safe to Drink?

Now we are left with the question of safety. We will consider it on several fronts to help you decide if these beverages are right for you. Caffeine is generally considered safe to consume as long as you keep your intake under 300 mg per day. That raises the question of serving size. Many of the ready-to-drink products we reviewed listed 100 ml as one portion.

That means that a 500-ml can contains five servings—and five times the amount of caffeine. Therefore, it’s essential to pay attention to the numbers. Some people may be sensitive to the effects of caffeine. It can cause jitters and insomnia in some individuals. Generally, pregnant women and children should avoid consuming caffeine.

Part of the problem comes from the amount consumed. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that high consumption can cause headaches and behavioural issues in adolescents. And these beverages are not safe to consume with alcohol.

It also depends on the type of product. Ready-to-drink beverages are a far cry from drinks or powders that improve athletic performance. Many people consume canned products as a substitute for coffee. Powders serve a similar purpose in a different form. Performance products provide a quick source of energy and electrolytes to improve endurance.

The bottom line is that these products are safe to drink in moderation if you are not overly sensitive to any of the ingredients. They provide a quick source of energy to get a jumpstart on your day. And for athletes, they can improve performance and stamina.

Conclusion: Which Energy Drink Do You Recommend I Buy?

Our review of energy drinks identified different types of products that serve specific purposes. For the athlete, there are choices that will deliver quick energy for better performance and endurance. For the consumer, there are both ready-to-drink beverages and powders for a more economical option.

Taste was our most important consideration. While the canned beverages tasted good, we preferred a product that was less sweet. Our favourite among the bunch is the Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy Diet Supplement. We liked the fact that it provided more than just an energy boost with added nutrients in a great tasting drink.

We were also swayed by the calorie count of these products which made our pick a clear winner. The fact that it is an economical choice as a powder sealed the deal.

Your pick for an energy drink depends on what factors are important to you, whether it’s a caffeine buzz or nutritional support. Our selections give you a taste of what options are available.

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