The Best and Worst Energy Drinks: part 2
- Updated: April 19, 2013
By Jerry Teixeira of Precision Nutrition Plus
To help you race your best, it’s essential that you maintain high energy levels at all times. Although some Sports/Energy Drinks will help you accomplish this, there are a lot that will harm you more than help you.
In our second feature of this three part series, we will look at five Sport/Energy drinks you should avoid when your race lasts 90 minutes or more.
With all the marketing and all the hype, it is easy to confuse a good drink choice from a bad one. Below are five popular and commonly used Energy and Sports Drinks you should avoid consuming, especially on race day.
RockStar Energy Drink
RockStar has greatly helped racing through their sponsorships of both racers and race events. However, the reality is most of their energy drinks are far from being beneficial to consume at races. With a 16 ounce can of RockStar containing sixty-two grams of sugar, which is the sugar equivalent to six Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts, no electrolytes, or no good source of carbohydrates, it’s clear there are much better choices available that will give you way better results during your race. RockStar does provide B vitamins and some amino acids such as Taurine and L-Carnitine, but overall the harmful ingredients outweigh the benefits here.
I would like to point out, RockStar is one Energy Drink maker who has realized the demand for a healthier energy drink and has started to produce better energy drinks with little or no sugar, with added electrolytes and even added other beneficial ingredients such as branch chain amino acids. However, the amounts added aren’t that much and the drinks overall still have a long way to go before they are truly something you would want to consume on your race day. If you decide to grab a RockStar Energy Drink, at least go for their new drink called XDurance.
Monster Energy and Red Bull
Like Rockstar and a few others, Monster and Red Bull have also tremendously helped the racing industry through their agressive sponsorships marketing plans. Much like RockStar Energy Drinks, Monster and Red Bull’s original drink line are far from being healthy or anything you would want to consume before, during or after a race. With fifty-four grams of sugar in a 16 ounce can of Monster Energy and twenty-seven grams of sugar in an 8.3 ounce can of Red Bull (the equivalent to fifty-two grams of sugar in a 16 ounce can), it is easy to see how unhealthy these drinks are as well. With no other sources of carbohydrates for sustained energy, or electrolytes there are clearly far better choices to give your body what it needs to perform at its peak ability during your race.
Gatorade has been around for years and provides quick digesting carbohydrates in the form of high fructose corn syrup and sucrose syrup, which essentially is sugar. Gatorade also comes with sodium and potassium for electrolytes and plenty of water to keep you hydrated.
However, the only carbohydrate sources are simple sugars with fourteen grams per serving. Gatorade provides two of the main electrolytes provided, but there are several other electrolytes, which are not included in Gatorade.
There have been some arguments that the amount of sodium provided in Gatorade, may be too much. Gatorade also does not include any B vitamins, or amino acids such as L-Tyrosine, L-Carnosine or L-Carnitine, which would be very beneficial on race day.
All Sport is a sports drink similar to Gatorade. Much like Gatorade, its main source of carbohydrates comes in the form of simple sugars with sixteen grams of sugar per serving. All Sport also provides two electrolytes, which are also sodium and potassium, but again doesn’t provide any other valuable electrolytes.
All Sport does provide an antioxidant in vitamin C, which is beneficial, but just like Gatorade, there are better sports drinks currently available, which will provide better sources of sustained energy, more electrolytes and less sugar.
Thermogenic Fat Burners
Although not an actual Energy or Sprots Drink, there have been plenty of individuals who use Thermogenic products before races. Thermogenic Fat Burners consist of such products as Hydroxycut, VPX Redline Ultra Hardcore and HydroxyStem, just to name a few. When Ephedra was used in products, it was often used within these types of fat burners.
Thermogenics are used to increase energy and promote fat loss, however many of these fat burners come packed with caffeine and other stimulates to push your metabolism to increase your rate of fat burning. Some products contain ingredients, which can result in giving you jittery fillings, abnormal heart rate and even high blood pressure, which can be harmful and down right dangerous during your race. On race day, I would absolutely stay away from these.
So there you have five Energy/Sports drinks you should make sure you don’t bring with you to the track on race day. Always be sure to carefully read all the package information before you make your selection to ensure that you’re choosing one that’s right for you.
In our third and final part of this feature, we’ll cover the five Energy/Sports Drinks that I highly suggest you drink on race day, and I’ll list why they’re much better choices than the drinks mentioned above.