When it comes to finding an energy drink that is actually good for you, the reality is that your options are limited. The majority of energy drinks on the market today are filled with artificial ingredients and loads of sugar which is not something you should be putting into your body on a daily basis.
Luckily there are some good options that exist and in this blog post we’ll review what you should care about when picking your energy drinks. We’ll also recommend our two favorite options!
What Ingredients To Look For
Lots of energy drinks advertise themselves as natural or healthy, but when you look at their ingredient lists and begin to peel back the onion you quickly realize how scary most of the ingredients are. Here’s what you should be looking for:
Most energy drinks are filled with preservatives -- here's a few to look for:
While the FDA considers most preservatives to be safe for daily use, studies have shown that they damage the good bacteria in your gut which can lead to a whole bunch of health issues. Our recommendation is to look for energy drinks that are Preservative Free!
Artificial & Zero Calorie Sweeteners
Like preservatives, most energy drinks are filled with either artificial sweeteners like Sucralose or zero calorie sweeteners like Stevia. While artificial and zero calorie sweeteners can reduce the amount of sugar you consume, which is generally a good goal to strive for, the side effects of these sugar alternatives are often worse than the sugar itself. Artificial sweeteners, for instance, have been shown in animal studies to cause weight gain, brain tumors, bladder cancer, and many other health hazards.
Additionally, zero calories sweeteners like stevia can also have a negative impact on your gut health, similar to preservatives.
When it comes to artificial and zero calories sweeteners, we suggest staying away from all of them except Monk Fruit which is a natural zero calorie sweetener that has been exhaustively studied and found to be safe.
Over the years scientists have created synthetic and artificial flavors that taste better, last longer, and are cheaper to produce than the real thing. This is great for big corporations looking to maximize profits but not for real people consuming them. You should always try to stick to real foods and stay away from anything artificial.
The truth is that several studies have started to raise concerns about artificial ingredients but the full scale of their damaging effects on the human body is yet to be fully understood. Our philosophy is keep it simple and say no to artificial!
Amount of Sugar & Calories
You also need to look at the amount of sugar and calories but it’s important to highlight that the lowest amount is rarely the best option. Many energy drinks claim to be zero calories and no sugar but they’re filled with artificial sweeteners, stevia, and artificial flavors. A small amount of calories and sugar from real fruit juices is likely a better option than synthetic alternatives.
Our recommendation is to look for low calorie drinks (less than 50 calories per serving) with low levels of sugar (less than 10g) that have no preservatives and nothing artificial. Your body needs calories to function, you just want to make those calories are good calories!
Our Pick: Proper Wild
Proper Wild’s clean all day energy shots are 100% plant-based, which means they’re made with real ingredients and nothing artificial. Every 2.5oz (super convenient) shot of Proper Wild has 180mg of Organic Caffeine from Green Tea and 120mg of L-Theanine, which is an amino acid that can also be found in Green Tea.
These shots really work -- you’ll feel a quick boost of energy and focus which will last for hours and because Proper Wild includes L-Theanine you don’t have to worry about getting all jittery or a big unwanted crash.
The shots are preservative free, artificial sweetener free, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, stevia free, gmo free and basically as clean as you can get!
We picked Proper Wild as our “energy drink that is good for you” winner because it works, it’s small and convenient, and you can feel good about what you’re putting in your body!
Runner Up: MatchaBar Hustle
Our runner up energy drink is the MatchaBar Hustle energy drink. The Hustle contains 120 mg of caffeine and is 100% vegan, gluten free, gmo free and contains nothing artificial.
It’s a full 12 oz drink vs Proper Wild’s 2.5 oz, but it contains less caffeine. Because of that we gave a slight edge to Proper Wild which is smaller, more convenient, and packs a bit more of a punch. Outside of that we love the Hustle and if you’re looking for an energy drink with clean natural ingredients, the Hustle makes for a great choice!
When it comes to picking an energy drink that is good for you -- it’s all about the ingredients. Beverage companies have gotten really good at marketing but at the end of the day you want to look for ingredient lists containing nothing artificial! If you don’t know what you’re putting into your body, we suggest you toss it and find something else!