If you haven't heard, Coca Cola has released an energy drink simply named Coca Cola Energy. With Coca Cola being one of the most recognizable brand names in the world, we figured we should take a look at their newest product.
For the regular flavor of Coca Cola Energy, here are the listed ingredients on the site: CARBONATED WATER, SUGAR, GLUCOSE, LESS THAN 2% OF: NATURAL FLAVORS, CAFFEINE, GUARANA EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, PHOSPHORIC ACID, VITAMINS B3 AND B6 (NIACINAMIDE AND PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE), SODIUM BENZOATE AND POTASSIUM SORBATE (TO PROTECT TASTE).
For the cherry flavor of Coca Cola Energy, here are the listed ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, GLUCOSE, LESS THAN 2% OF: NATURAL FLAVORS, CAFFEINE, GUARANA EXTRACT, VITAMINS B3 AND B6 (NIACINAMIDE AND PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE), CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, PHOSPHORIC ACID, SODIUM BENZOATE AND POTASSIUM SORBATE (TO PROTECT TASTE).
For the regular flavor of Sugar-Free Coca Cola Energy, here are the listed ingredients: CARBONATED WATER, LESS THAN 2% OF: NATURAL FLAVORS, CAFFEINE, GUARANA EXTRACT, VITAMINS B3 AND B6 (NIACINAMIDE AND PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE), ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, SUCRALOSE, CITRIC ACID, CARAMEL COLOR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, PHOSPHORIC ACID, SODIUM BENZOATE AND POTASSIUM SORBATE (TO PROTECT TASTE).
Taking a glance at these ingredient lists, you can see that the various versions of Coca Cola Energy are sweetened by high fructose corn syrup, glucose, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose. Let's talk about those unnatural sweeteners.
Sucrose is the main sweetener in regular Coca Cola Energy. In the 12 oz can, there are 39 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. Not ideal for anyone.
Fructose, found in the cherry flavored Coca Cola Energy, has been linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, and metabolic syndrome. Another study has shown that added sugars can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes, fructose might be the worst of these added sugars.
Sucralose is one of the main artificial sweeteners used in sugar-free Coca Cola Energy. Despite being around since the 1990s, there has not been a ton of human research done on the effects of sucralose. There have been sucralose studies conducted on rats showing damage to gut bacteria. There have also been studies linking sucralose to a higher risk of cancer with the mice.
Like sucralose, Ace-K is a calorie-free sweetener used in many diet products, including sugar-free versions of Coca Cola Energy, Red Bull, Rockstar, Bang, and Monster. Similar to sucralose, Ace-K has been tested against mice. The research showed that Ace-K has been linked to cancer, thyroid issues, and changes in brain function.
Coca Cola Energy has a measly 114 mg of caffeine. Every other popular energy drink contains more than 120 mg 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.
Where does Coca Cola source their caffeine from? Their website doesn't say exactly where they source their caffeine from, but a lack of natural energy sources on their ingredients label would lead you to believe that they use synthetic caffeine in their energy drink.
Are there better alternatives to the sugar and caffeine in Coca Cola Energy?
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.
Erythritol only has 6% of the calories of sugar but retains 70% 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 Coca Cola Energy actually work?
Coca Cola Energy might provide you with a small energy lift and a sugar rush, but there are other energy drinks on the market that won't fill you with dangerous sugars and synthetic caffeine.
Is there a healthy alternative to Coca Cola Energy?
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% 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, Kill Cliff IGNITE is your go-to option! Check it out!