Energy Drinks That Are Good for You
In a perfect world we would all wake up rested and ready for our day, with no need of support from energy drinks to put a pep in our step. Sadly, life isn't always like that, and sometimes we need a little extra boost to help make it through our to-do lists. However, energy drinks tend to have a bad health rep, so we are going to talk about energy drinks that are good for you.
If you are not a fan of coffee, energy drinks are the next logical alternative, but are some better for you than others? Are all energy drinks unhealthy or can you find brands that are made with ingredients that can actually benefit you?
While some energy drinks can be loaded with too much sugar and caffeine, there are others that make use of natural or low-calorie sweeteners and plant-based botanicals to enhance your body's natural energy-producing power.
Read on to learn more about which energy drinks are good for you, what to avoid when choosing a healthy energy drink and more!
Why Are Energy Drinks Thought to Be Unhealthy?
When it comes to deciphering whether an energy drink is unhealthy, there are a couple key factors to keep in mind. Firstly, you will want to look at the sugar content and then at the amount of caffeine.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming fewer than 6 teaspoons to 9 teaspoons of sugar per day. Consuming large amounts of sugar in the diet is not recommended for several reasons:
- Sugar-sweetened drinks are a major source of added sugars in the diet. This excessive amount of extra sugar can lead to major weight gain over the long-term.
- If you consume too much sugar (about a quarter of one's daily calories) in your diet, you are more than twice as likely to die of heart disease than someone who eats half that much.
- It boosts your odds of developing diabetes or insulin resistance.
- It can increase your blood pressure through effects on insulin.
- It can increase your bad cholesterol levels.
- It can contribute to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- It can impact your oral health, potentially increasing the risk of cavities.
- Eating too much sugar throughout the day can mess with your insulin and blood sugar levels, contributing to hormonal imbalances and poor sleep.
- Some studies have linked issues with mood imbalances and excessive sugar consumption.
- Some studies have linked the consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas (like energy drinks) with shortened telomeres, which can contribute to premature aging.
There are a lot of reasons to keep your sugar consumption within the guidelines recommended by the AHA, so one thing we will look at when it comes to healthy energy drinks is the amount of sugar they contain per can or serving.
Not everyone is going to have the same reaction to caffeine. Some people can consume large amounts (up to about 400 milligrams per day or roughly 4 cups of coffee) safely without adverse effects. However, others can experience symptoms that include:
- Increased heart rate.
- Increased risk of anxiety.
- Increased blood pressure.
- An impact on the way your body uses sugar (be careful if you have diabetes or insulin resistance).
- Worsening diarrhea in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Energy drinks are generally concentrated sources of caffeine, so it is important to track how much you are consuming, how sensitive you are to its effects and whether you feel better or worse after drinking it.
Top 3 Healthy Energy Drinks
When it comes to energy drinks, there is the belief that they are all unhealthy for you. While there are certainly some energy drinks that should likely be avoided, you can also find energy drinks that are made with plant botanicals for a natural energy boost, healthy sweeteners and lower amounts of overall sugar. Check out our favorites below.
1. Guru Organic Energy
The caffeine in these drinks comes from natural sources listed below. Each can contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine, so they are great if you are looking for a burst of energy and aren't as sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
These delicious drinks are made with natural sweeteners:
- Organic cane sugar.
- Organic apple juice concentrate.
- Organic passion fruit juice concentrate.
- Organic monk fruit juice concentrate.
- Organic stevia extract.
Since they do contain about 21 grams of sugar per can, they are probably best consumed before or after a workout so you can use that sugar to fuel your muscles!
Depending on the flavor, the energy in these drinks comes from these ingredients:
- Organic guarana extract.
- Organic green tea caffeine.
- Organic panax ginseng extract.
- Organic yerba mate.
Guru energy drinks come in the following flavors:
- Guayusa Tropical Punch.
- Yerba Mate.
2. Alani Nu Energy Drinks
These energy drinks make use of moderate amounts of caffeine combined with L-theanine, which is a nutrient designed to balance the potential jittery effects of caffeine. That means you get all the energy and none of the crash. These drinks also contain nutrients like taurine and guarana for natural energy.
There are no sugars added, so you don't have to worry about any of the potential negative effects from too much sugar.
- Watermelon Wave.
- Cosmic Stardust.
- Cherry Slush.
3. Bai Bubbles Sparkling Antioxidant Infusion
Bai energy drinks contain a modest amount of caffeine (45 milligrams per serving) and contain only 5 calories! They're better for people who may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine, as a little goes a long way! They're also infused with antioxidants to support overall health and vitality. The base is sparkling water, so they are the perfect choice for someone who is looking for a light and refreshing energy boost.
- Bolivia Black Cherry.
- Jamaica Blood Orange.
- Gimbi Pink Grapefruit.
- Bogota Blackberry Lime.
- Peru Pineapple.
- Lambari Watermelon Lime.
- Waikiki Coconut Lime.
Tips and Tricks for Choosing the Best Energy Drinks
When looking for the healthiest options, there are a couple things to look for:
- Look for reduced sugar, low calorie, or alternative sweeteners.
- Check the caffeine content to make sure it is not too high.
- Look for natural energy boosters, such as guarana extract, ginseng, green tea, or yerba mate. They can help support the body's natural energy production and prevent the dreaded crash or jittery anxiety that can be a side effect of excessive caffeine consumption.
- For an added bonus, look for energy drinks that contain energizing B vitamins.
- Adaptogens, which are herbs and mushrooms that help your body cope with and adapt to stress, improve resiliency and possibly boost your natural energy over the long-term.