Few corners of the grocery store have caused as much controversy as the energy drink cooler.
American teens, a third of whom consume caffeinated drinks on a regular basis, are at the center of a health debate that researchers, parents and nutritionists have been having for years. While brands like Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar boast the “power to give you wings” and fast-acting energy kicks, a slew of newcomers to the caffeinated beverage market are singing a different tune, about organic ingredients, low sugar and natural energy.
As with any trend, the onus falls to the consumer to pick apart the marketing from the substance. Paige Penick, a registered dietician and owner of Start Fueling Better in Overland Park, Kansas, told HuffPost, “Product packaging can make claims and use trendy terms that make them seem really awesome and superior, but it is often not legitimate and just a marketing ploy to make money.”
To get a better sense of the kinds of kick out there: the average cup of espresso has 63 mg of caffeine, a single serving of matcha has roughly 72 mg of caffeine and a can of Red Bull has 80 mg of caffeine.
Which alternative energy drinks are actually the healthiest? Which have the least sugar, and which actually work the best? And what about taste? Here’s a guide to some of the most popular options out there.
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