Let's look at the facts.
What's Even In Monster?
Unfortunately, Monster’s website doesn’t shed much light on what exactly is in their drink. Fortunately, the internet knows all. Here’s the ingredient label for a 16 ounce Monster Energy drink:
With Monster being a leader in the energy drink industry, you know it’s going to be packed with caffeine. The regular 16oz Monster has 160mgs of caffeine.
One of the lesser-known facts about caffeine is that there are many sources of caffeine. Some of the sources are natural, plant-based caffeine while others are synthetically produced.
Synthetically produced caffeine from Chinese pharmaceutical plants is the most popular caffeine source in soft drinks and energy drinks. Synthetic caffeine is quickly absorbed into your body, giving you the energy you crave faster than that of a naturally sourced caffeine. However, synthetic caffeine will lead to a much quicker crash.
And it. Is. Harsh.
Where does Monster source their caffeine from? Great question. They make no mention of where their caffeine is sourced from. Looking at the ingredients label, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of natural plant extract that can act as a stimulant. This leads us to believe that it’s likely an artificial source of caffeine.
When you look at a drink’s ingredients list and see sugar is the second thing listed, that’s never a good thing.
Glucose is the main sweetener in Monster. In the 16 oz can, there are 54 grams of sugar. To put it in perspective, per day, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams of sugar consumption for men and 25 grams for women.
That's from ALL of your nutrition sources for THE ENTIRE DAY.
Despite being around since the 1990s, there has not been a ton of human research done on the effects of sucralose. There have been sucralosestudiesconducted on rats showing damage to gut bacteria. There have also beenstudieslinking sucralose to a higher risk of cancer with the mice.
Of course, there are sugar-free versions of the classic Monster, but they are far from safe. Like sucralose, Ace-K is a calorie-free sweetener used in many diet products, including sugar-free versions of Red Bull, Rockstar, and Bang. Similar to sucralose, Ace-K has been tested against mice. Theresearchshowed that Ace-K has been linked to cancer, thyroid issues, and changes in brain function.
Are There Better Alternatives to the Sugar and Caffeine in Monster?
Of course, there are alternatives!
Erythritol and stevia are two natural sugar alternatives that can be used instead of the dangerous artificial sugars. These sugar alternatives are generally found in small amounts in fruits and vegetables. They are also found in Kill Cliff's lines of clean, tasty AF™ energy, recovery, and CBD beverages.
Erythritol only has 6 percent of the calories of sugar but retains 70 percent of the sweetness. Erythritol doesn’t spike your blood sugar or insulin, so this makes it a great sugar substitute for diabetics. Studies have shown that erythritol acts as an antioxidant, reducing blood vessel damage that has been caused by high blood sugar levels. Erythritol also will not cause your teeth to decay, unlike sugar and other artificial sweeteners.
Stevia also makes for a great natural sugar substitute. Stevia has no calories and is 200x sweeter than sugar. Studies have shown that stevia has the potential for treating diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Antioxidant compounds, including kaempferol, can be found in Stevia. Studies have shown that kaempferol can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23%.
Green tea caffeine is a naturally sourced caffeine that your body metabolizes differently than coffee, meaning it will affect you differently.
What could be THAT much different? It’s all caffeine, right?
Well, it’s actually something pretty beneficial. The caffeine found in green tea sticks to the antioxidants in the tea. This causes the caffeine to be absorbed slower by your body. As a result, you will not get the immediate caffeine rush you would with synthetic caffeine. Instead, your caffeine will slowly release over time, giving you more sustained energy.
Caffeine is also known to give people the shakes or jitters. With green tea caffeine, that is absent due to one of the antioxidants called L-Theanine, which is an antagonist to caffeine.
Does Monster Help Sports Performance?
The answer is tricky, but it's mostlyno. Let us explain.
Drinking a caffeinated beverage, such as an energy drink, will stimulate your nervous system. This stimulation will give you a temporary energy boost. With the right dosage, your mental performance will also receive a boost.
Studies have shown that your cognitive functions can improve as a result of drinking energy drinks. This will allow you to get more done in a short amount of time.
But wouldn't you rather have a longer-lasting energy boost than a just a short energy spurt? If so, look for a drink with naturally sourced caffeine rather than the typical energy drink with synthetic caffeine.
Caffeine is also a diuretic, meaning it will cause you to urinate, leading to possible dehydration. With 160mgs of caffeine in the 16oz can, Monster does not have enough electrolytes to help hydration and prepare you properly for any sort of exercise.
Sugary drinks are also known to make you prone to losing extra fluids. With 54mgs of sugar in their 16oz can, Monster certainly falls underneath this umbrella. Again, with not enough electrolytes to help replenish lost fluid, drinking a Monster before or during athletic activity is doing yourself a disservice.
Does Monster Have Alcohol?
Monster does not have added alcohol. But nutritionists warn that adding alcohol to a beverage with chemical caffeine and tons of sugar and sweeteners is risky. In fact, adding alcohol to Monster can have the opposite effect people drink energy drinks in the first place. The acid of alcohol and the caffeine and sugar can cause heart palpitations, tremors, and insomnia—not very healthy.
Is There a Healthy Alternative to Monster?
Yes! Here at Kill Cliff, we love a good energy drink, but we're aware of the possible dangers of the many unnatural ingredients that many popular energy drinks contain. We wanted an energy drink with a strong caffeine buzz coming from a natural source, with no artificial sweeteners.....so we made one.
Kill Cliff IGNITE is a sugar-free, naturally sweetened energy drink that delivers the jolt you crave with 150 mg of naturally-sourced green tea caffeine (about a cup and a half of coffee). Additionally, Kill Cliff IGNITE includes only FDA-regulated ingredients in its specialized blend of B-vitamins and electrolytes. It provides you with 10 percent of your daily values of magnesium and potassium, which helps regulate hydration and blood flow.
What About Kill Cliff and Alcohol?
Glad you asked! Not only is Kill Cliff a better alternative all the way around than other energy drinks, it also makes a delicious and effective mixer. In fact, we have created recipes that are ideal for home bartenders. Try this Lemon Lime Lightning Kill-a-Ritafor starters*.
*Drink, but drink responsibly. We want you back.
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