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Comparing Energy Drinks: Which is the best? Which is the worst?

When you go into a convenience store, the energy drink section can be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of options and without research, it can be hard to determine which one is the best for you. 

We're here to do the research for you and figure out what these drinks are bringing to the table. We're going to be looking into the amount of caffeine, sugar, and other beneficial ingredients are in each drink. 

Things to note

According to studies, the most caffeine an adult should consume in a day is 400mg. 

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams of sugar consumption for men and 25 grams for women per day. 

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. 

Taurine, an amino acid, is a common ingredient in many popular energy drinks, including Red BullMonster, and Rockstar. In moderation, taurine can be beneficial as it supports neurological development and regulates water and mineral levels in blood. However, the combination of taurine and the other ingredients in popular energy drinks can become harmful. Excessive levels of taurine can lead to severely low blood pressure. The long term effects of taurine have yet to be discovered. 

Ginseng, Gingko Biloba, and Guarana are safe when consumed individually, but when mixed with common energy drink ingredients such as caffeine and sugar, they can become dangerous. Together, they can lead to side effects such as high blood pressure, heart palpitations, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, swelling, dehydration, and kidney failure.

Now, time for the comparisons!

Energy Drink Comparisons (all will be per 16 fl.oz)

Image result for red bull

Red Bull 

Caffeine - 151mg 

Caffeine Source - Synthetic

Sugar - 52 grams  

Sugar Source - Table Sugar (Sucrose) and Glucose 

Other ingredients - Taurine and B Vitamins

Comments - Red Bull is a name we all know, but it's not something you should be drinking regularly.

Red Bull proudly claims they have real sugars in their drinks. We're all for natural sweeteners, but not table sugar. Drinking one 16 oz can of Red Bull is the equivalent to eating two regular-sized Snickers bars.  

Where does Red Bull source their caffeine from? Great question. Their ingredients page is misleading. They include the quote "Caffeine is naturally present in more than 60 plants and is contained in many foodstuffs such as coffee, tea, and chocolate." This would make you think that Red Bull is sourcing its caffeine from one of these natural sources, right? Well, shocker, that's not the case here, as Red Bull uses synthetic caffeine in their drinks. 

Though Red Bull does have some B Vitamins (B6 and B12), those aren't enough of a reason to drink this when you consider the amount of sugar that is packed into Red Bull. 

Monster

Caffeine - 160mg 

Caffeine Source - Synthetic 

Sugar - 55 grams  

Sugar Source - Glucose

Other ingredients - Taurine, L-carnitine L-tartrate, B Vitamins (B3, B6, B2, and B12), and inositol. 

Comments - Monster Energy is another you've likely heard of, seen, and probably tried. Similar to Red Bull, you might want to stay away from this one as well. 

Compared to Red Bull, Monster is a step up. When we say a step up, we mean that one-half step in your house that you always forget is there and usually trip on. 

When it comes to sugar, Monster packs it in with 55 grams of sugar per 16 oz can. Drinking one can of Monster is the equivalent of eating five and a half Krispy Kreme donuts. 

Like many energy drinks, Monster uses synthetic caffeine as opposed to a naturally sourced caffeine. 

The main reason I say Monster is a step up from Red Bull is due to the other ingredients that Monster includes that Red Bull doesn't. Monster includes has more B Vitamins than Red Bull and also includes L-carnitine L-tartrate and inositol. 

Inositol, a simple carbohydrate, has an impact on your brain's neurotransmitters. Your anxiety issues may be lessened as studies have shown that inositol can reduce panic attacks for those with panic disorders. 

L-carnitine L-tartrate is an amino acid that is often found in sport-performance products due to its aid in muscle soreness and recovery in exercise

While yes, Monster has some added benefits that Red Bull does not, we do not advise drinking this regularly, as the sugar content is still too much to combat, even with those added benefits. 

Bang

Caffeine - 300mg 

Caffeine Source - Synthetic

Sugar - 0* grams 

Sugar Source - Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K)

Other ingredients - BCAAs, Super Creatine, B Vitamins (B3, B6, and B12), CoQ10, Electrolytes, and Vitamin C

Comments - "300mg of caffeine and 0 grams of sugar?! Wow, what a drink!" You may have thought that to yourself when you read the ingredients, but don't let the can fool you. You don't want this. 

As we mentioned earlier, 400mg is the suggested daily maximum for caffeine intake. WIth Bang sitting at 300mg, just one cup of coffee and you're either pushing the maximum or heading north of that 400mg. Plus, it's the crappy synthetic caffeine. There are better options for caffeine. 

For most of us, we're all interested in an energy drink that has 0 grams of sugar, but in reality, these drinks have to be sweetened somehow. With wanting a drink with 0 grams of sugar, Bang had two choices: a zero-calorie natural sweetener or a zero-calorie artificial sweetener. Naturally, Bang chose the unnatural side of things (and so have their models). 

Bang uses a combination of sucralose and acesulfame potassium (ace-K) to sweeten their drinks. Though both are deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), both have plenty of question marks surrounding their safety and the long term side effects that come with their consumption. 

Bang contains Super Creatine, which is their own version of creatine. They don't list how much of this creatine is in each drink, which is an issue. Also, creatine isn't regulated by the FDA, so the quality standards and potency of the supplement often vary widely. This is certainly a drawback to drinking Bang. 

Bang also claims to have BCAAs and CoQ10 (coenzyme 10), but like creatine, they don't list how much of each of these ingredients are found in each drink. They also aren't really necessary to add to their drink. 

"If you're eating an overall healthy diet and you're balancing your protein throughout the day, you really don't need to take BCAAs in supplement form," says Joy Dubost, RD and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Between the artificial sweeteners, synthetic caffeine, and FDA-unregulated ingredients, it's smart to stay away from Bang. 

KILL CLIFF 

*12oz can*

Caffeine - 150mg

Caffeine Source - Green Tea Extract

Sugar - 0 grams 

Sugar Source - Stevia and Erythritol

Other ingredients - Ginger Root Extract, Electrolytes, Vitamins (E, B2, B3, B6, B12), and Asian Ginseng Root Extract

KILL CLIFF is an elite energy drink for many reasons. Let's talk about those reasons. 

KILL CLIFF Ignite is naturally sweetened by Erythritol and Stevia. These natural sugar alternatives are found in fruits and vegetables.

Erythritol is a great sugar for diabetics as it does not spike your blood sugar or insulin. Erythritol also won't cause tooth decay like sugar and artificial sweeteners will. 

Stevia is a no-calorie sweetener that has the potential for treating diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Antioxidant compounds, including kaempferol, can be found in Stevia.

Ignite uses green tea extract as it's caffeine source. Not only will green tea extract give you an energy boost from the natural caffeine, but it's also a longer-lasting caffeine buzz than synthetic caffeine possesses. Unlike synthetic caffeine, green tea extract won't give you the jitters that are often associated with synthetic caffeine. With 150mg of caffeine, Ignite give you the perfect, longer-lasting energy buzz that will help power you through life. 

KILL CLIFF Ignite contains three types of electrolytes, which are incredibly beneficial for hydration. Electrolytes can help maintain the water in your body, maintain pH levels in your body, remove waste from cells, and more. 

There are plenty of B VItamins to go around in KILL CLIFF Ignite. B-Vitamins are water-soluble nutrients that are important in your body's maintenance of physiologic and metabolic functions.

Ginseng has been commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries because of its many health benefits, which include anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory properties, improving brain function, improving erectile dysfunction (fellas), immune system strengthening, and more. 

Along with being delicious, ginger is an incredibly healthy spice. Ginger has often been used to help digestion, fight nausea, and combat the flu and common cold. Ginger is also known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

It's simple, really. Buy KILL CLIFF Ignite. You won't be disappointed. Free yourself from toxic energy drinks. Choose clean. Nothing fake. Ever. Drink KILL CLIFF.

Image result for rockstar drink

Rockstar

Caffeine - 160mg

Caffeine Source - Synthetic

Sugar - 61 grams 

Sugar Source - Sucrose and Glucose

Other ingredients - Taurine, L- carnitine, inositol, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Guarana Seed Extract, and Ginseng Root Extract 

After Red Bull and Monster, Rockstar is probably the third-most recognizable name on this list. To no one's surprise, it's just as bad as the others. 

160mgs of caffeine is fine, but again, it's the bad kind of caffeine. Stay away from synthetic caffeine if you can. 

The thing that pops out the most with Rockstar, besides their awful can design, is the 61 grams of sugar in each 16 oz can. That's the equivalent of eating three whole KitKat bars. As enjoyable as that sounds, your body will thank you for avoiding doing so. 

We covered taurine, L-carnitine, inositol, and ginseng, so we won't reiterate those details, but we will go over Gingko Biloba Leaf and Guarana Seed Extract. 

Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract is often taken as a supplement for memory and thought problems, anxiety, vision problems, and other cognitive issues. Unfortunately, there's no scientific evidence to back this up. 

Guarana Seed Extract is generally taken by mouth for athletic performance, mental performance, obesity, and to increase energy. Similar to Ginkgo, there's no evidence to back these claims. 

Don't forget that when mixed with caffeine and sugar, Guarana, Gingko, and Ginseng can be dangerous. Between that danger and the obvious danger that 61 grams of sugar can present, we recommend staying away from Rockstar. 

Reign

Caffeine - 300mg

Caffeine Source - Natural?

Sugar - 0* grams 

Sugar Source - Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K)

Other ingredients - B Vitamins (B3, B6, and B12), BCAAs and CoQ10, Electrolytes

Comments - From what I can gather, Reign is basically a Bang copycat, minus the Super Creatine, Vitamin C, and synthetic caffeine. 

Both Bang and Reign have BCAAs, CoQ10, 300mg of caffeine, electrolytes the same artificial sweeteners, and even the same exact B Vitamins. 

The main difference is the caffeine source. Reign proudly claims to use a natural source of caffeine, but their ingredients list simply lists it as "caffeine", which typically means its synthetic caffeine.

There is a LOT of caffeine in Reign. Again, 400mg is the recommended daily amount, so you really have to be careful when drinking something like Reign. With the high caffeine dosage and artificial sweeteners, we recommend you stay away from Reign altogether. 

CONVINCED?

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% of your daily values of magnesium and potassium, which helps regulate hydration and blood flow. 

So, whether you want sustained clean energy to help you through your day, or you want a natural alternative pre-workout drink...or you want to get fired up for a long night of playing Call of Duty and Red Dead Redemption...or you want a tasty Cherry Lime-A-Rita, Kill Cliff IGNITE is your go-to option! Check it out!

Connor Deneau
Connor Deneau


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