Many people turn to energy drinks for an energy boost before a tiring day at work, a strenuous workout, or a late-night study session. However, not all energy drinks are good for you. Most energy drinks contain artificial flavors, caffeine, and sugars, which can be detrimental to one’s health.
There are various healthy energy drinks on the market today that contain less sugar, caffeine, and calories, as well as beneficial vitamins and minerals.
What are Energy drinks?
An energy drink is a drink that contains stimulant compounds, most commonly caffeine, and therefore is marketed as providing cognitive and physical stimulation. They can be carbonated or not and can contain sugar, other sweeteners, herbal extracts, taurine, and amino acids. They are a subset of the larger category of energy products that includes bars and gels, as opposed to sports drinks, which are advertised to improve athletic performance. This drink category contains numerous brands and different types.
Energy drinks contain caffeine and sugar, but there is little to no scientific proof that the other components have any effect. The presence of caffeine is responsible for the majority of the effects on cognitive performance, such as increased focus and responsiveness. Other studies attribute the improved performance due to the effects of the combined ingredients. Energy drink advertisements typically feature increased muscle power and endurance, but there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims.
12 Best Healthy Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are promoted to youngsters and they provide the health benefits derived from caffeine as well as benefits from the additional ingredients they contain. Caffeine-containing energy drinks, according to health experts, improve alertness. Energy drink marketing has primarily targeted teenagers, with manufacturers sponsoring or marketing at extreme sports events and music concerts, as well as targeting a young audience through social media platforms.
Choosing healthy energy drinks can be sometimes challenging and time-consuming. It can be overwhelming and difficult to choose from many options and different marketing messages.
Let’s go through the best healthy energy drinks!
1. MatchaBar Hustle
Hustle by MatchaBar is a carbonated energy drink with a delightful fusion of ceremonial-grade matcha, green tea extract, and lime and lemon extracts. One of the key ingredients in this low-calorie energy drink is matcha, a green tea extract highly regarded for its high concentration of antioxidant-rich flavanols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, as well as the innumerable health benefits they provide. Antioxidants, as you may realize, decrease cellular damage caused by free radicals, which aids in the prevention of many serious diseases and ailments.
Each can contains just 5 calories and about 4% of the daily required fiber intake. According to the brand’s certifications, this product is dairy-free, kosher, paleo-friendly, vegan, vegetarian, and keto-friendly. The caffeine content per 12-ounce can is 120 milligrams, which is about moderate for a healthy energy drink option. Flavors like lemon-lime, mint, berry, and peach are available.
2. Guayaki Yerba Mate
Guayaki Yerba Mate company offers a variety of products, including what they regard to be high-energy cans. The brand claims that these 15.5-ounce beverages are a non-carbonated blend of yerba mate and organic fruit juice that contains 150 milligrams of caffeine.
Guyaki is a natural energy drink with 24 minerals and vitamins as well as 15 amino acids. The caffeine in this healthy energy drink is derived from yerba mate. Yerba mate is an herbal tea made using the leaves and twigs of the llex paraguariensis plant; it boosts energy and helps to improve mental clarity, alertness, and ability to focus. As a result, it’s a common ingredient in some of the healthiest energy drinks in the market, including those made by this company.
Guayaki’s unsweetened option, which contains 140 milligrams of caffeine but less than a gram of natural sugars, is a top choice. However, keep in mind that each serving contains 60 calories. They come in flavors such as Sparkling Classic Gold, Sparkling Pomegranate, Enlighten Mint, Tropical Uprising, Lemon Elation, Orange Exuberance, and Revel Berry. This drink contains 27g of sugar, but if you’re going to have a sugary energy drink, this is a good choice.
If you want an energy boost during your workouts, Celsius is a great choice. It intends to boost energy and metabolism prior to workouts. According to the company, this so-called “dietary supplement” may help you lose more body fat and burn extra calories while working out. Celsius explicates that this can occur when the metabolic rate is increased by combining green tea, caffeine, ginger root extract, taurine, and guarana. These last two components are common in energy drinks. According to the company, every Celsius can is sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and Kosher. Celsius contains a whopping 200mg of caffeine per can.
Depending on the kind of Celsius, each can may contain some vitamins and nutrients. Vitamins B, C, B6, and B12 are present in Celsius Peach Vibe.
4. Bai Bubbles
Bai Bubbles is a sparkling antioxidant-infused drink. Each 11.5-ounce Bai Bubbles can is gluten-free. A single serving has only 5 calories and 1 gram of sugar. Some flavors contain additional nutrients, such as potassium and vitamin C. Bai Bubbles contains less caffeine than the other drinks on this list. Each can of this product contains only 45 milligrams of caffeine, making the dosage comparable to that of green tea rather than a mug of coffee. However, each of these drinks is carbonated, offering you everything in the drink above but with bubbles.
5. Matcha LOVE
Matcha Love Energy is an energy drink filled with goodness that combines green tea and matcha to provide an antioxidant-rich, gentle energy boost as well as mental clarity. Matcha LOVE is one of the many products offered by ITO EN, a Japanese company specializing in green tea products.
The unsweetened Matcha LOVE drink comes in a 5.2-ounce can and contains approximately 28 milligrams of caffeine. The sweetened version of the same size contains around 29 milligrams of caffeine, which is a little more caffeine.
The beneficial properties of Matcha LOVE can differ based on the quality of the tea. The matcha used in these drinks, according to ITO EN, is premium and imported from Japan. According to the USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods, Matcha LOVE “contains approximately [six] times more Catechin Tea Antioxidants than the average ready-to-drink green tea.”
RUNA is made with organic guayusa tea, which is a naturally occurring source of caffeine from South America. One 12-ounce can of RUNA’s healthy energy drinks holds up to 150 milligrams of caffeine. According to Cecere, guayusa “may be less stimulating than synthetic caffeine,” but it does have “antioxidant properties.” Because it is unsweetened, this product is among the best calorie-free, sugar-free energy drinks on the market. And Runa has a variety of tropical flavors with a tea-like flavor. Berry boost, blood orange, lime twist, mango tango, pineapple pick me up, and watermelon focus are some of the best flavors.
7. Zevia Energy
Zevia Energy contains 120 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can. The company says that its product is non-GMO. Zevia is well-known for using the stevia plant in its products. This organic sweetener is 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so you can expect a sugary drink. As per Zevia, the extract of stevia leaf is beneficial because it is low in calories and does not elevate blood sugar levels.
It comes in 15 various flavors, many of which are unique, such as mango-ginger, grapefruit, and raspberry-lime.
8. EBOOST Super Fuel
EBOOST energy drinks are non-GMO, keto-friendly, gluten-free, and soy-free, with 110 milligrams of caffeine per 11.5-ounce can, 10 or 15 calories depending on flavor, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. This beverage is relatively fresh on the market, but BevNET media named it one of the best new products of 2019.
One of the added benefits of EBoost is the presence of electrolytes such as potassium, which aid in hydration, making it suitable as both a sports drink and an energy boost. It also contains dihydromyricetin, an herbal extract that some researchers believe can help with hangovers, and silymarin, a powerful antioxidant that supports liver function. There are three fruity flavors to choose from: Strawberry Lemonade, Ginger Lime, and Orange Mango.
Hiball incorporates a variety of stimulating components to make one powerful and effective drink. One can contain 160 milligrams of caffeine, as well as 50 milligrams of guarana and 50 milligrams of ginseng. Ginseng, in addition to the caffeine found in the first two components, is thought to enhance energy levels.
The bubbly beverage contains no sugar at all. With zero calories and one gram of carbs, keto diet followers can enjoy this beverage guilt-free as well. Hiball also adds vitamins and minerals to its beverages. Drinking one 16-ounce can provides 150% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12, which can help with fatigue and weakness.
The next energy drink on the list is neuroSONIC, offered by the Neuro brand, which also offers other beverages such as one for improved sleep and immunity. Each drink is designed to assist the consumer with a particular aspect of their lifestyle. The neuroSONIC drink asserts that consumers will feel refreshed and energized after drinking it. Their website also promotes drinks such as neuro sleep for better sleep and neuroBLISS for stress relief.
The ingredient L-Theanine is typically found in neuroSONIC and several other energy beverages. According to Medical News Today, L-Theanine is primarily added to focus and energy-boosting drinks because it is thought to enhance brain function. Other potential advantages include anxiety and stress reduction, immunity, and blood pressure regulation.
This neuroSONIC drink comprises 35 calories per serving. In this case, each 14.5-ounce bottle is a serving size. Each drink contains 9 grams of sugar. It also contains brain-boosting components that work together to provide increased focus, attention, short-term memory, and energy. It truly is one of the best natural energy drinks available.
It also contains antioxidants and vitamins D2, B6, and B12. Superfruit infusion and blood orange passion are the two flavors available.
11. Steaz Yerba Mate
Steaz’s healthy energy drink contains green tea, yerba mate, and guarana, which provide a boost of plant-based energy. This drink is an excellent option if you want all of the benefits of yerba mate without the sugar. Steaz also contains B6 and B12 vitamins. Steaz Energy, which comes in flavors like Berry, Orange Clementine, and Super Fruit, comprises 100 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can.
Steaz also offers three zero-calorie flavors: berry, pear pomegranate, and super fruit.
Yachak is yet another organic yerba mate-based drink that contains all of the same ingredients as Guyaki yerba mate but has slightly higher sugar and caffeine concentration. The caffeine content per 15.5-ounce can is 165 milligrams. As a result, it is one of the most highly caffeinated drinks on this list.
Yachak contains 150 calories and 34 grams of sugar per can ( excluding Berry Red, which contains 33 grams of sugar). It may seem like a large amount of sugar, but it is Fair Trade certified, Non-GMO verified, and USDA organic certified “organic cane sugar.”
This drink is offered in the following flavors: blackberry, passionfruit, ultimate mint, berry red, and berry blue.
Are Energy Drinks Really Healthy?
Energy drinks are not all that healthy and should be taken in moderation. This is because some energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and sugar. However, there are many energy drinks available that consist of a reasonable dose of caffeine and little or no sugar. Even though they aren’t exactly “healthy,” these types of energy drinks are less detrimental to your health.
However, it’s totally alright to consume one or two of the healthier energy drinks per day as long as you don’t have any pre-existing health issues. Moreover, a small amount of caffeine can be beneficial for you; it’s when you overdo it that you run the risk of potential health issues.
How to Choose the Best Healthy Energy Drinks
When you’re buying an energy drink, there are certain nutritional and ingredient claims you must look out for.
Numerous energy drinks contain high levels of sugar, and excessive sugar isn’t good for you. Sugar is a common ingredient in energy drinks due to the instant energy boost it provides and the way it sweetens the taste. The energy you get from sugar is generally momentary and is followed by a sugar crash. Diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, different types of cancer, and, of course, obesity and metabolic syndrome have all been linked to prolonged excess sugar usage. When you’re buying energy drinks, look for those that are sugar-free. If you can’t find a sugar-free energy drink, try to find one with less sugar and a lot fewer calories than the others on the market.
Another thing to consider when you’re looking for the healthiest energy drink is caffeine concentration. In general, the FDA recommends that you limit your caffeine intake to no more than 400mg per day. Caffeine, when consumed in excess, can cause a variety of health issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and headaches. As a result, when selecting a healthy energy drink, opt for one that contains a moderate amount of caffeine.
As stated by the Mayo Clinic, a total of 400 mg of caffeine per day is safe for the average healthy adult. This was validated by a panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which also concluded that a caffeine intake of up to 400 mg daily is safe for adults. This is equal to four cups of coffee (90 mg each) or 2 1/2 standard cans (250 ml) of energy drink (160 mg each/80 mg per serving), as determined by the ESFA.
Energy Boosters Like Amino Acid Derivatives and Vitamins
When searching for healthy energy drinks, look for one with a reasonable amount of taurine, B vitamins, and other additives. L-theanine and B vitamins, which are frequently mentioned but practically useless additives, are fine, but they are not a selling point. Supplements that provide additional health advantages are a real bonus.
In addition to caffeine, energy drinks typically contain a variety of other ingredients such as taurine and a B vitamin complex to boost overall energy levels. Taurine is an amino acid that, when combined with caffeine, improves cognitive performance. B vitamins, on the other hand, are necessary for your body to convert food into energy. While B vitamins are water-soluble, consuming them in excessive amounts can be unsafe.
Benefits of Healthy Energy Drinks
- Better Cognitive Performance: Energy drinks are consumed for a wide range of reasons. One of the most important reasons is to enhance brain function to increase mental alertness. According to PubMed Central study results, consuming energy drinks increases brain functions such as memory, focus, and reaction time while decreasing mental fatigue.
- Helps Improve Memory and Concentration: Caffeine in energy drinks can help you focus and remember things better. As a result, one of the primary reasons people drink energy drinks is to feel intellectually alert. The primary cause of this phenomenon is caffeine, which is normally found in energy drinks. Caffeine consumption has been linked to improved long-term memory.
- Energy Boosters: Energy drinks provide an extra boost of energy, allowing you to get through a long tiring day. Caffeine and other ingredients in instant energy drinks provide a natural energy boost.
- Increased Body Strength: Caffeine is a stimulant that, when consumed in appropriate amounts, can optimize endurance and performance. Energy drinks can boost your body’s flexibility, strength, and durability.
Health Issues Associated with Excessive Consumption of Energy Drinks
Consuming energy drinks in excess amounts can have serious health risks due to the high caffeine and sugar intake, especially in children, teens, and young adults. Excessive consumption of energy drinks may disrupt adults’ sleep cycles and can be associated with increased risk-taking attitudes. Extreme or frequent consumption of energy drinks can result in cardiac issues such as arrhythmias and heart attacks, as well as psychiatric issues such as anxiety and phobias.
Energy drinks comprising sugar and caffeine have been linked to the deaths of athletes across Europe. Caffeine content was not the only major reason, and the cocktail of other ingredients in energy drinks made them riskier than drinks containing only caffeine; the studies concluded that more research and government regulation were required.
According to the “DAWN Report: Update on Emergency Department Visits Involving Energy Drinks: A Continuing Public Health Concern”, there were 1,494 emergency department visits in the United States associated with energy drink consumption in 2005, and also energy drinks were related to 20,783 emergency department visits in 2011. During this period of growth in the consumption of energy drinks, male consumers were consistently more than female consumers to visit the emergency department. According to research trends, adverse reactions to drinks are the leading cause of emergency department visits.
The misuse and abuse of these caffeinated beverages also result in a significant number of emergency department visits. According to the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 42% of cases, patients consumed energy drinks mixed with another stimulant, while in the remaining 58% of instances, the energy drink was the only thing consumed.
Caffeine consumption in amounts greater than 400 mg has been linked to anxiousness, mood swings, sleeplessness, increased urination, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), and dyspepsia. Excessive consumption has also been linked to pupil dilation.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should not consume caffeinated energy drinks.
Energy drinks are designed to increase your energy level, attentiveness, and concentration. Individuals of all ages consume them, and their popularity is growing. Healthy energy drinks can help you function better when you’re tired or sleep-deprived by increasing brain function and helping your body function when you’re tired.
However, there are numerous health risks associated with energy drinks, especially related to excessive caffeine consumption, sugar content, and mixing them with alcohol.
If you choose to drink healthy energy drinks, keep your daily intake to 16 ounces (473 ml) and avoid “energy shots.” To avoid the negative effects of too much caffeine, try to limit your intake of other caffeinated beverages.