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Best and Worst Energy Drinks—Ranked

Eat This, Not That! Logo By Tiffany Ayuda of Eat This, Not That! | Slide 1 of 17: Additional reporting by Kiersten HickmanCan an energy drink really be healthy? While there’s wide speculation on energy drinks being healthy or unhealthy, there are in fact a few healthy energy drinks out there that aren’t waist-widening beverages that cause jitters and make your heart pound. A new crop of energizing sips are sparkling waters with natural fruit flavors or tea-based beverages fueled with B vitamins and brain-boosting adaptogens, like L-theanine. They’re also canned without added sugars and zero artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors. Some use cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices for color and extra nutrients.But how can you ensure that what you’re drinking is going to give you the boost you need? To help you find the unhealthy and healthy energy drinks on the market, we tapped Dr. Mike Roussell, PhD, nutrition expert and co-founder of Neuro Coffee, as well as Hillary Cecere, RDN and registered dietitian for Eat Clean Bro.How to find healthy energy drinksWhen shopping the aisles for an energy drink, Roussell says to look for one that “Ideally has zero [sugar], but definitely less than 10 grams per 8-ounce serving. If you’re going higher than that, I would only use it prior to exercise.”When it comes to energy drinks fortified with vitamins and antioxidants, Roussell says they’re not going to make much of a difference in giving you energy. However, B vitamins are essential for converting food into energy. “B vitamins are put in a lot of energy drinks because they are needed for our body to break down and use the energy found in the foods we eat. But more B vitamins doesn’t make your body do this better, and it isn’t something that you can feel,” Roussell explains.Some energy drinks also infuse certain antioxidants, minerals, and adaptogens to reduce muscle soreness, improve cognitive function, and promote calm. But Roussell reminds us that the benefits of these health boosters are limited. “Most energy drinks are under-dosed and contain levels of ingredients that are so low, you won’t benefit from their effect,” he says.In terms of how much caffeine you can enjoy daily, it’s best to limit your intake to no more than 400 milligrams.  “Everyone should be cognizant of the amount of caffeine that they’re consuming, as everyone has a different level of sensitivity to it,” Roussell says.So to help eliminate the guesswork at the grocery, we rounded up the unhealthy and healthy energy drinks on the market to help you make smarter choices for your caffeine boost. Our ranking is based on calories and sugar content. However, if some don’t have either, we then based on the carb content.First, the worst.Before you decide which healthy energy drink to buy, here are 35 Things You Didn’t Know About Caffeine.

Best and Worst Energy Drinks—Ranked

Additional reporting by Kiersten Hickman

Can an energy drink really be healthy? While there’s wide speculation on energy drinks being healthy or unhealthy, there are in fact a few healthy energy drinks out there that aren’t waist-widening beverages that cause jitters and make your heart pound. A new crop of energizing sips are sparkling waters with natural fruit flavors or tea-based beverages fueled with B vitamins and brain-boosting adaptogens, like L-theanine. They’re also canned without added sugars and zero artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors. Some use cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices for color and extra nutrients.

But how can you ensure that what you’re drinking is going to give you the boost you need? To help you find the unhealthy and healthy energy drinks on the market, we tapped Dr. Mike Roussell, PhD, nutrition expert and co-founder of Neuro Coffee, as well as Hillary Cecere, RDN and registered dietitian for Eat Clean Bro.

How to find healthy energy drinks

When shopping the aisles for an energy drink, Roussell says to look for one that “Ideally has zero [sugar], but definitely less than 10 grams per 8-ounce serving. If you’re going higher than that, I would only use it prior to exercise.”

When it comes to energy drinks fortified with vitamins and antioxidants, Roussell says they’re not going to make much of a difference in giving you energy. However, B vitamins are essential for converting food into energy. “B vitamins are put in a lot of energy drinks because they are needed for our body to break down and use the energy found in the foods we eat. But more B vitamins doesn’t make your body do this better, and it isn’t something that you can feel,” Roussell explains.

Some energy drinks also infuse certain antioxidants, minerals, and adaptogens to reduce muscle soreness, improve cognitive function, and promote calm. But Roussell reminds us that the benefits of these health boosters are limited. “Most energy drinks are under-dosed and contain levels of ingredients that are so low, you won’t benefit from their effect,” he says.

In terms of how much caffeine you can enjoy daily, it’s best to limit your intake to no more than 400 milligrams.  “Everyone should be cognizant of the amount of caffeine that they’re consuming, as everyone has a different level of sensitivity to it,” Roussell says.

So to help eliminate the guesswork at the grocery, we rounded up the unhealthy and healthy energy drinks on the market to help you make smarter choices for your caffeine boost. Our ranking is based on calories and sugar content. However, if some don’t have either, we then based on the carb content.

First, the worst.

Before you decide which healthy energy drink to buy, here are 35 Things You Didn’t Know About Caffeine.

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