I know there are some of you who are still drinking energy drinks ;). I was asked specifically about Monster Zero Ultra. Below, I have defined every ingredient in the beverage (these ingredients are common in most energy drinks) so you are aware of what you are consuming 🙂
Carbonated water: bubbly water 🙂
Citric Acid: is used as a PRESERVATIVE and adds an acidic/sour taste
Erythritol: is a sugar alcohol (60-70% sweeter than sugar but almost non-caloric) that is partially absorbed by the body and has a unique digestive pathway making gastric side effects less likely.
Sodium Citrate: known as “sour salt” is used as a PRESERVATIVE and for flavor
Natural and Artificial Flavors: speaks for itself
Panax Ginseng Root Extract: AKA Asian or Korean ginseng, is considered to be an all around stimulant. It may help increase brainpower and possibly lower blood glucose levels. HOWEVER, it can also cause changes in blood pressure either lower or raise, so if you are on a blood pressure medication, use with caution.
Taurine: is an amino acid found in your brain and acts as a neurotransmitter. There’s an article in Men’s Health that breaks down the most popular ingredients found in energy drinks. Taurine was one of the ingredients and this is what they found. “Does it work?: Scientists aren’t sure, but it doesn’t seem likely. When taurine is dumped into your bloodstream—when you down a Red Bull, for instance—it can’t pass through the membranes that protect your brain, says Neil Harrison, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College. But even if it could, Harrison’s research suggests that taurine might behave more like a sedative than a stimulant. When he and his team applied the amino acid to the brain tissue of rodents, they discovered that it mimicked a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical that slows brain activity”.
Sucralose: as many of you already know, it’s an artificial sweetener. Sucralose, most popularly known as “Splenda” is a synthetic chemical. Everyone has a different opinion about sucralose (and mine would be to use it sparingly if at all) so I would recommend making your decision based on how you feel after using Splenda or any other brand. Dr. Mercola wrote an article about the dangers of sucralose (click the link below) and I wanted to share with you what was very alarming to me. “There have been no long-term human toxicity studies published until after the FDA approved sucralose for human consumption. Following FDA approval a human toxicity trial was conducted, but lasted only three months, hardly the length of time most Splenda users plan to consume sucralose. No studies have ever been done on children or pregnant women. Much of the controversy surrounding Splenda does not focus just on its safety, but rather on its false advertising claims. The competition among sweeteners is anything but sweet. The sugar industry is currently suing McNeil Nutritionals for implying that Splenda is a natural form of sugar with no calories.”
Caffeine: is a central nervous system stimulant. The caffeine we consume mainly comes from the coffee plant, tea bush or kola nut.
Sorbic Acid: PRESERVATIVE
Benzoic Acid: PRESERVATIVE. According to www.fooducate.com “Sodium benzoate / benzoic acid are used to prevent the growth of microorganisms in acidic foods. They are natural substances. However, in beverages with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), a chemical reaction creates small amount of benzene, a carcinogen”. (!!!!)
Acesulfame Potassium: is an artificial sweetener. The FDA approves it but the CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) has concerns. The tests that have been conducted have been short and done so on rats and mice. Two of the tests results suggested that acesulfame potassium could potentially be carcinogenic. I realize similarly to sucralose you will find articles that argue these artificial sweeteners are safe in moderation. Read more below:
L-carnitine: is an amino acid that helps break down fatty acids and convert them to energy. This is also naturally produced in our bodies.
L-tartrate: is a salt used as an additive top help with the absorption of the L-carnitine
Niacinamide: is a form of vitamin B3
D-calcium Pantothenate: is a form of vitamin B-5 and is an essential nutrient your body uses to create energy and break down carbohydrates and fats.
sodium chloride: known as “table salt”.
D-glucuronolactone: is a naturally occurring chemical that is an important structural component for most connective tissues.
Inositol: is a form of vitamin B8. It exists in every cell of our bodies but the majority being in the heart and brain. Check this article out for more info:
Guarana Seed Extract: is a stimulant. It’s seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee beans.
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride: is another member of the B complex family, vitamin B6. It is found naturally in bananas, chicken, spinach, sardines and avocados and is necessary for proper nerve function as well as for metabolizing nutrients.
Maltodextrin: is a starch-derived food additive use as a filler or to thicken foods and beverages. It is little to no nutritional value but does contain approximately 4 cal/g. It has been described as being slightly sweet. Endurance athletes will pour maltodextrin into their water for quick energy source because the body will digest it as a simple carbohydrate.
Cyanocobalamin: is commercially prepared by bacterial fermentation. According to wikipedia “Cyanocobalamin is the most famous and widely produced vitamer (has a similar molecular structure and can produce similar outcomes as the actual vitamin BUT…it is PRODUCED) in the vitamin B12 family (the family of chemicals that function as B12 when put into the body), because cyanocobalamin is the most air-stable of the B12 forms”.
If you’re already drinking Monster or some form of energy drink, or soda…diet or not, you may continue to even after reading this. I just want you to be aware of what is actually in your beverage. My main concerns with these drinks are as follows:
1. They are HIGHLY processed. When the ingredient list contains more than 10 ingredients, you can bet not much of what you are about to consume is real food and if it is, it’s far from being fresh or in its purest form.
2. There is not enough evidence out there to make me feel artificial sweeteners are safe.
3. They can be addicting. I know from experience, as soon as the caffeine starts to wear off you will crash hard and very easily want to reach for another can. This leads to my last concern…
4. The warning on the can: ” Max one can every 4 hours with limit 3 cans per day, not recommended for children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant women or women who are nursing”.
I am currently looking for healthier alternatives aside from coffee or tea. If any of you have some suggestions that have worked for you, please share them so I can include them in the email. Thanks so much and please email me if you have any questions 🙂
Yours in Health and Wellness,