Monday, October 27, 2008

Pure Energy: Caffeine Levels of Energy Drinks, Coffee, Sodas

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Popular Beverages, Energy Drinks:
Caffeine Levels of Popular Drinks
More Bang for Your Buck

The Top Ten

How Much Energy do you REALLY Get from All those Energy Drinks?

With the elections coming up, many political junkies may pull an all-nighter on Election Night 2008. What's a body to do when it needs a pick-me-up?

Many will put on another pot of coffee. Some will turn to colas. Still others will slurp down one of the many popular energy drinks. What's the best for pep?

Let's take a look. But first, just how do energy drinks work? From How do energy drinks work?:

Energy drinks are supposed to do just what the name implies -- give you an extra burst of energy. As it turns out, most of that "energy" comes from two main ingredients: sugar and caffeine. A typical energy drink can contain up to 80 milligrams of caffeine (about the same amount as a cup of coffee). By comparison, a 2006 study found that the average 12-ounce soda contains 18 to 48 mg of caffeine.

What's in energy drinks? An ever-expanding list of exotic ingredients is featured on the containers of energy-promising drinks. Just what is all that stuff?

Here are some of the ingredients you may find in popular energy drinks and what they do in the body:

* Ephedrine - A stimulant that works on the central nervous system. It is a common ingredient in weight-loss products and decongestants, but there have been concerns about its effects on the heart.
* Taurine - A natural amino acid produced by the body that helps regulate heart beat and muscle contractions. Many health experts aren't sure what effect it has as a drink additive (and the rumor that taurine comes from bull testicles is false).
* Ginseng - A root believed by some to have several medicinal properties, including reducing stress and boosting energy levels.
* B-vitamins - A group of vitamins that can convert sugar to energy and improve muscle tone.
* Guarana seed - A stimulant that comes from a small shrub native to Venezuela and Brazil.
* Carnitine - An amino acid that plays a role in fatty acid metabolism.
* Creatine - An organic acid that helps supply energy for muscle contractions.
* Inositol - A member of the vitamin B complex (not a vitamin itself, because the human body can synthesize it) that helps relay messages within cells in the body.
* Ginkgo biloba - Made from the seeds of the ginkgo biloba tree, thought to enhance memory.

So what's the best bang for your buck?

Caffeine content of popular drinks

Just how much kick is your drink giving you? How much is hype?


TOP TEN - By the can:
  • Fixx - 500 mg
  • Boo-Koo Energy - 360 mg
  • Spike Shotgun - 350 mg
  • Wired X344 - 344 mg.
  • Redline Power Rush - 340 mg
  • Starbucks Grande Coffee - 330 mg
  • SPIKE Shooter - 300 mg
  • Viso Energy Vigor - 300 mg
  • Cocaine Energy Drink - 280 mg
  • Starbucks Tall Coffee - 260 mg

TOP TEN - By the mg of caffeine/oz

  • Ammo - 171.00
  • Redline Power Rush - 140.00
  • Mana Energy Potion - 118.52
  • Extreme Energy 6-Hour Shot - 110.00
  • Jolt Endurance Shot - 100.00
  • CHARGE! Super Shot - 100.00
  • Powershot - 100.00
  • Stok Black Coffee Shots - 90.91
  • Fuel Cell - 90.00
  • Upshot - 80.00


  • Coffee (Espresso) - 51.33
  • Starbucks Tall Coffee - 21.67
  • Coffee (Drip) - 18.12
  • Coffee (Brewed) - 13.44
  • AriZona Green Tea Energy - 12.50
  • Rock Star - 10.00
  • Tim Hortons Large Coffee - 10.00
  • Red Bull - 9.64
  • SoBe Adrenaline Rush - 9.52
  • Jolt Cola - 9.36
  • McDonald's Large Coffee - 9.06
  • Amp - 8.93
  • Mountain Dew - 4.58
  • RC Cola - 3.77
  • Dr Pepper - 3.42
  • Slim-Fast Cappuccino Delight Shake - 3.33
  • Pepsi-Cola - 3.17
  • Coca-Cola Classic - 2.88
  • Hot Cocoa - 0.62
  • 7-Up - 0.00

[For a complete listing of caffeine content of practically every energy drink on the market, see Caffeine Content of Drinks]

Legally, caffeine and sugar are the old stand-bys.

For those readers who want their caffeine in a sweet package, the average chocolate bar contains 30 mg of caffeine. Five Hershey bars equal the same caffeine kick as an average cup of coffee.

That's a wrap on caffeine, energy and energy drinks.

Now, it's time to put on that second pot of coffee.

by Mondo Frazier

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