Remember when energy drinks appeared two decades ago with enough sugar and caffeine in one can to fuel an NFL team for a season? Health conscious individuals took one sip of the first tachycardia-inducing formulas and switched to water with lemon. Last year, a sample of 72 college students by Global Medicine Enterprises discovered that fit-minded millennials and Gen Zs would rather stain their stainless steel water bottles with a little fruit juice than stay hopped up on Red Bull for the rest of their anxious lives.
While the big soda makers like Pepsi and Coca-Cola compete for a dominant share in the still-growing energy drink market by offering healthier alternatives, the American Beverage Association discovered from a recent focus group that people were still up for energy drinks as long as they featured safe, healthy and natural ingredients. The respondents also thought there was too much caffeine and too much High Fructose Corn Syrup in most drinks.
I generally prefer water during and after my workouts. But there are times when I need an energy boost because I've overdone it, and then I look for an energy drink that meets my desire to only put healthy ingredients in my body. The latest offerings from a host of forward-thinking companies feature low sugar or no sugar, definitely no High Fructose Corn Syrup, and a wide array of desirable nutrients.
Have you seen this summer's explosion in the refrigerated grocery shelves for chocolate flavored reishi mushroom drinks and lemonade with ashwagandha? A dizzying choice of high-powered, flavored Kombucha drinks (mojito flavored!), now sporting alcohol labels take up an entire end-cap at my local grocery store.
One of the first energy drinks on the market, Monster Energy, was introduced by Hansen Beverages in 2002. Now owned and marketed by Monster Energy on 1 Monster Way in Corona, CA, the company, which also brings you Monster Sports, has come out with drinks that have zero or low sugar offerings, and others that feature 100 percent of daily value for viatmin B-12, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B-6. Many of their drinks contain Taurine, L-Carnitine and Inositol, which take part in energy transcription factors for optimal metabolism, but not more Inositol than you would find in an infant formula, comparing ounce-for-ounce.
So it's possible today, thanks to consumer pressure, to quickly get your hands on a bad ass energy drink, featuring slow-brewed green tea that the legendary Chinese herbalist Emperor Shennong would gladly imbibe.
The good news here is that it's apparently safe for you to return to energy drinks. I'm still hoping that the makers eliminate the sucrolose, a sugar alcohol that gives half of us some mild GI distress, but I understand the need to make an 8-ounce drink that boasts only 20 calories. The hunt continues for energy drinks that add a touch of monkfruit instead of sugar alcohols.
Your Global Medicine Hunter is still on the hunt, but less thirsty