The Best Energy Drinks

The 7 Best Energy Drinks of 2022

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Energy drinks have become hugely popular over the past decade. Many people rely on them as their go-to to get them through the day when their get up and go has got up and left. But others remain skeptical of energy drinks, claiming that they are artificial, unhealthy, and side effect heavy. In this article, I’ll reveal the 7 best energy drinks on the market right now. I’ll also give you the real facts on the benefits and side effects of energy drinks.

Quick Overview: Top 3 Energy Drinks

Monster Energy Drink Zero Ultra

  • Great Taste
  • Zero Sugar
  • No Calories
  • No after taste

VPX Bang Energy Drink

  • 300 mg per can
  • Zero sugar
  • No calories
  • 26 flavors

ZipFizz Healthy Energy Drink Mix

  • Powdered energy drink
  • Range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
  • Low carb and low calories
  • Sugar-free
  • Cost-effective

The 7 Best Energy Drinks Rated:

DrinkCaffeine Calories Sugar
Monster Energy Drink Zero Ultra150mgZeroZero
VPX Bang Energy Drink300mgZeroZero
ZipFizz Healthy Energy Drink Mix120mg202 grams
Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Drink Coffee135mg21026 grams
Red Bull80mg11027 grams
5-Hour Energy Drink Extra Strength207mg    4Zero
Rockstar Zero Carb Energy Drink240mgZeroZero

The 7 Best Energy Drinks:

1. Monster Energy Drink Zero Ultra

Monster Energy Drink Zero Ultra

Pros:

  • Great Taste
  • Zero Sugar
  • No Calories
  • No after taste

Cons:

  • Low in caffeine

Monster have become a  huge name in the energy drink market. They have a large range of products, all of them tasting great, which is the basis of their popularity. Zero Ultra is the healthiest of the range. It is completely calorie-free and contains no sugar whatsoever. One of the great things about the Monster taste is that there is no after taste, which you often get with competing products. 

The key energy source in Monster Zero Ultra is ginseng. It is also not as carbonated as other energy drinks, delivering a lighter, more refreshing drink. This drink is sold in a 24-pack of 16 oz cans for a great price. The first 5 ingredients in Monster Energy Drink Zero Ultra are Carbonated Water, Citric Acid, Erythritol, Taurine, and Sodium Citrate.

2. VPX Bang Energy Drink

VPX Bang Energy Drink

Pros:

  • 300 mg caffeine per can
  • Zero sugar
  • No calories
  • 26 flavors

Cons:

  • May be too caffeine heavy for some

VPX Bang Energy Drink is another sugar-free, zero-calorie energy boating beverage that comes in massive 26 flavors. The VPX stands for Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc who is the company who manufactures this drink. VPX has developed a reputation for very strong energy products. As a testament to that, each 19 oz can of VPX Energy Drink contains 300 mg of caffeine. 

VPX has made some pretty controversial claims about their energy drinks, including that they can cure mental retardation and Huntington’s Disease. As a result, the company has faced a number of lawsuits, but the product is still on the market and doing extremely well. Along with the 300mg of caffeine in each can, you also get 40mg of sodium, 80mg of potassium, magnesium, niacin, vitamins B12 and C. 

Not all of the flavors taste great, with some of them having an artificial tinge to them. My personal favorite is Peach Mango.

3. ZipFizz Healthy Energy Drink Mix

ZipFizz Healthy Energy Drink Mix

Pros:

  • Powdered energy drink
  • Range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
  • Low carb and low calories
  • Sugar-free
  • Cost-effective

Cons:

  • Have to mix it yourself

ZipFizz Healthy Energy Drink Mix differs from most of the other beverages on this list because it comes in concentrated powder form. The powder is mixed with water and is designed to kick in 15 minutes after you drink it to give you up to 6 hours of energy boost. This is a low carbohydrate, sugar-free drink that delivers only 20 calories per serve and just 2 grams of carbohydrate. It also includes a range of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including caffeine and the B vitamins to provide an energy surge.

There are 14 flavors of ZipFizz available, including citrus, pink lemonade, and fruit punch. The top seven ingredients in this product are:

  • Caffeine anhydrous
  • Guarana seed extract
  • Green tea leaf extract
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Green coffee bean extract
  • Grape seed extract
  • Grape skin extract

The powdered form of this energy drink makes it one of the most cost-effective energy drinks on the market. 

4. Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Drink Coffee

Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Drink

Pros:

  • Great Starbucks Taste
  • 12 grams protein per can
  • 135 mg caffeine
  • Range of flavors

Cons:

  • Quite expensive

Millions of people line up every day for their daily energy shot of Starbucks coffee. So it was only a matter of time before they came out with an RTD energy drink. That product is Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Drink Coffee. The 15oz can provide you with 12 grams of protein, a range of B vitamins, and 135mg of caffeine. It also contains guarana and potassium.

You get a real energy boost with this delicious tasting drink. It’s also got a range of different flavors to meet every taste preference. It’s not very high in sugar and it is sold in a 12-case for convenience and value. However, the individual price is quite expensive in comparison to most competitors on the market.

5. Red Bull

Red Bull

Pros:

  • 80 mg caffeine per serve
  • Great energy boost
  • Lost of great flavors

Cons:

  • Comes in small cans
  • 27 grams sugar per serve

Red Bull stands at the top of the energy drink sales pyramid and has done so for a long time. That is the result of a combination of intense marketing, great taste, and performance – it really does give you wings! 

There are 110 calories in an 8.4 fl. oz can of Red Bull regular. Here are the 7 top ingredients in Red Bull:

  • Carbonated Water
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Citric Acid
  • Taurine
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Caffeine

You get 80 grams of caffeine per serving which is pretty modest. Keep in mind, however, that we’re talking about half the serving size of most other energy drinks, so you have to double that to 160 mg to get an apples for apples comparison. There are also 27 grams of sugar in a serving of Red Bull, which is pretty high. So, if you’re worried about controlling your weight, you might want to give Red Bull a miss. If that’s not an issue for you, however, there is no denying that Red Bull will give you a powerful energy surge – and that it tastes great. 

6. 5-Hour Energy Drink Extra Strength

5-Hour Energy Drink

Pros:

  • Delivers 5 hours of energy per serve
  • 207 mg of caffeine
  • Zero sugar
  • 4 calories per serve

Cons:

  • Very small serving size

5-Hour Energy Drink Extra Strength does exactly what the can claims to do – provide you with a powerful energy boost for up to 5 hours after taking. It’s been a favorite of graveyard shift workers and college students for years and is just one gaining widespread recognition. You get 207 mg of caffeine per serve, serving as the power base of your energy burst. That is enough to make a difference without risking post-energy boost jitters or a crash. 

5-Hour Energy Drink Extra Strength contains just 4 calories and zero sugar. However, these bottles are small – you get just 1.93 fl oz. per serve! You can, however,  buy them in 12 packs. 

7. Rockstar Zero Carb Energy Drink

Rockstar Zero Carb Energy Drink

Pros:

  • Zero carb
  • 240 mg of caffeine
  • Taurine
  • No calories

Cons:

  • Contains sucralose and erythritol

Rockstar Zero Carb Energy Drink is an extremely popular energy drink among the Ketogenic Diet community. That is because it is completely zero carbs. There are also zero calories in this drink. There are, however, plenty of B vitamins packed in here, along with Caffeine, Guarana, B-Vitamins, Taurine, Ginseng, and Milk Thistle. Instead of sugar, you get sucralose and erythritol, which some people may not like. 

There is 240 mg of caffeine in each can of Rockstar Zero Carb Energy Drink. You can choose between 7 tasty flavors as well. Overall, this is the best choice for people who are living the low-carb diet lifestyle. 

Energy Drink Market Overview

Energy Drinks are designed to provide energy for improved physical and mental activity. They typically contain large amounts of caffeine and other legal stimulants, such as guarana, taurine and ginseng. Energy Drinks may contain as much as 80 grams of caffeine, the equivalent of a cup of coffee. 

Also Read:   The 10 Best Natural / Organic Pre-Workout Supplements of 2022

Some energy drinks are banned in countries like Norway, Denmark, and France and by some sports leagues around the world. Yet, energy drinks are one of the fastest-growing retail markets in the world. In 2001, energy drinks recorded sales of $8 million annually. Just 5 years later, sales grew to exceed $3 billion annually. By 2020 that figure had grown to $57.4 billion.

Red Bull has long been a market leader in the energy drink space. This energy drink was created by a savvy marketing guy from Austria named Dietrich Mateshitz. In 2002, the Snapple Corporation introduced a new form of marketing when they began producing their energy drinks in aluminum bottles shaped like bullets. One of the benefits of this packaging was that it was easily recycled. 

When used safely, energy drinks can provide you with a safe energy and strength boost. They can be used to help you get through difficult tasks, such as driving at night, studying or working late into the night. They should not, however, be relied on in place of healthy sleep habits. 

Energy drinks should not be relied upon as a regular beverage, as it is easy to become addicted to them. 

Energy Drink Buyer’s Guide

There is a huge variance in the quality and goodness of energy drinks on the market today. Here’s a quick guide of what to look out for to make sure that what you’re putting into your body isn’t doing more harm than good …

Caffeine Content

According to the FDA, we should be limiting ourselves to 400 mg of caffeine per day. Yet, some energy drinks contain that whole amount of caffeine in a single can. Look for an energy drink with a moderate amount of caffeine in the 150-200 mg range. This will avoid the side effects of too much caffeine like the jitters, nausea, and an energy crash. 

Ingredients

Look for the common, accepted, and proven ingredients like taurine, ginseng, vitamin b, carnitine, and creatine. If you’re after a weight loss energy drink it should be zero sugar.

Sugar Substitutes

It’s no surprise that sugar is bad for our health. Look for a brand that uses a healthier replacement to sugar, such as stevia, aspartame or other sweeteners that will give you an energy boost without the negatives that come with sugar. 

Are Energy Drinks Harmful?

Energy drinks, like all foods and beverages, can be harmful if taken in excess. Many people take the attitude that, if a little is good, more is better. That is definitely not the case. In fact, there have been accounts of apparently healthy young people dying after over-consuming energy drinks before sporting competition. In one case, an 18-year old basketball player who had 3 cans of an energy drink before the game died afterward.

While people often take energy drinks to provide an extra boost of energy during periods of intense work or exercise, or after exercise to quench their thirst, the drinks may actually lead to dehydration. 

Some symptoms of overconsuming energy drinks, or mixing them with alcohol, include:

  • Electrolyte disturbances
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart irregularities

The high amount of caffeine found in some energy drinks presents another potential health problem. This can result in sleep problems, headaches, irritability, and nervousness. Overconsumption of energy drinks is considered to be more than two cans of energy drinks a day or more than 500 ml. 

The mixing of energy drinks with alcohol has become popular among young people. The mixing of the powerful stimulants found in energy drinks with depressants in alcohol could cause cardiopulmonary or cardiovascular failures. 

According to David Peason, a researcher at the Human Performance Laboratory, “It

It is scary to think that these energy drinks are being used as a mixer with vodka and whiskey. You are just overloading the body with heavy stimulants and heavy depressants.”

Another common ingredient in many energy drinks that can be a problem if taken in excess is niacin or vitamin B3. According to the FDA, the maximum recommended daily dosage of niacin is 35 mcg. Some energy drinks contain close to that daily max in a single can. 

The side effects of too much niacin in the body include excessive itchiness, redness of the skin, and flushing. 

Another potential problem with energy drinks is the high amount of sugar that they contain. According to the American Heart Association, we should have no more than 25 grams of added sugar in our diet daily. However, some 16 oz cans of energy drink contain double that amount. An excessive amount of sugar will lead to a whole host of health problems, including obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. 

Common Energy Drink Ingredients

Taurine

Taurine is a natural amino acid that is needed by the human body to regulate heartbeat and muscle contractions. 

Ginseng

This root is thought to have numerous medical and health benefits. It is believed to relieve stress and increase energy levels.

Vitamin B

This is a group of Vitamins that convert sugar to energy in the body.

Carnitine

Carnitine is an amino acid, the main effect of which is to help to metabolize fats in the body.

Creatine

Creatine is an organic acid whose main contribution is energizing the muscles for muscle contraction. 

Inositol

Inositol is a member of the B Vitamin Complex family. It helps to relay messages within the cells of the body.

Ginkgo Biloba

This compound is derived from the seeds of the Gingko Biloba plant. It is used as a nootropic agent to enhance memory and improve focus. 

Caffeine

Caffeine has the ability to block certain brain chemicals from sending messages to the brain. This brain chemical, adenosine, is mainly involved in sleep.Its blockage initiates the release of adrenaline from the pituitary gland, making the heart beat faster, the eyes dilate and the liver release higher amounts of sugar than normal. 

Guarana

Guarana is a seed derived from Brazil that includes caffeine. It has double the potency of the coffee bean. The maximum recommended dose of guarana is 300 mg. 

Glucose / Sucrose

Glucose and sucrose provide a fast-acting energy source that will pick you up immediately prior to the caffeine taking effect. 

FAQs

Are energy drinks really beneficial or simply overhyped?

There is no doubt that there has been a lot of aggressive marketing related to energy drinks. As a result, many people have come to rely on them for their day-to-day energy needs. That can lead to dependence and addiction, which is unhealthy. These drinks should be used for a specific purpose, such as working out or working long hours. 

Are energy drinks good pre-workouts?

An energy drink can make an effective pre-workout if taken 20 minutes before going to the gym. The caffeine in the energy drink will be absorbed during the workout, providing the energy boost you need to power you through your training session.

The glucose contained in the energy drinks will also provide an initial kick to get you into the workout. However, you don’t want to take a pre-workout energy drink with more than 300 grams of caffeine as this will most likely lead to a post-workout energy crash. 

How do energy drinks affect the body?

Energy drinks mainly affect the physiology of the human body. Taking caffeine into your system will cause your heart rate to beat faster, while also speeding up your reactions and enhancing your physical performance. It will also make you mentally sharper. When taken in excess, however, it can lead to a shaky, jittery feeling, cause headaches and result in a post-high energy crash.

The sugar in an energy drink will give you a quick hit of energy as a result of the release of insulin. However, this will soon be followed by a dip in blood glucose levels. This will bring on a craving for more sugar, which can feed the addiction loop. 

The B-vitamins in your energy drink can improve a person’s mood as well as their physical energy levels. Niacin, or vitamin B3, is one of the B vitamins, however, that can cause problems if taken in excess, leading to itchiness and flushing. 

How long do the benefits of an energy drink last?

The length of time that the energy-producing benefits of your energy drink last will largely depend on how much caffeine is in the product. It will take five hours on average for 50 percent of the caffeine in an energy drink to be eliminated from your body.

You will need to be consuming about 80 grams of caffeine to get a significant energy effect. So, if your energy drink contains around 200 mg of caffeine, which seems to be about standard, the energy-enhancing effects will last for about 5 hours. 

Conclusion

Energy drinks have evolved since they were first introduced in the early 2000s. You can now down a potent energy drink without filling your body with sugar, calories, and carbohydrates. Most brands now offer a range of products including zero sugar and low to no-calorie. The three best energy drinks on the 2022 market are Monster Energy Drink Ultra Zero, VPX Band Energy Drink, and ZipFizz Heathy Energy Drink Mix. 

Use energy drinks as an occasional energy boost but don’t rely on them as a daily energy source or you’ll quickly become addicted – and then even the healthy brands we’ve covered here can be a problem for you. 

This article was last updated on February 2, 2022 .

Written by
Steve Theunissen

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