Our List of the Best Alternative Energy Drinks

Despite their immense popularity, energy drinks are not without their detractors. Critics will be quick to point out the incredibly high sugar content and synthetic ingredients that can cause health problems. 

As a response, we’re seeing more and more “alternative energy drinks” hit the market. These drinks promise to give you the same energy boost as traditional energy drinks by using all-natural products. 

The question is, do they live up to the hype? 

 

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Why energy drinks?

Before we dive into our list, let’s take a second to think about why consumers reach for energy drinks in the first place. There are plenty of vitamins, supplements, and natural sources of caffeine on the market, so how has the energy drink sector become so popular in such a short amount of time?

The answer actually lies with the new societal norms. Thanks to the internet, we have an incredible amount of power at our fingertips. Almost anything we need can be found within seconds, and it’s essentially changed our brains to expect everything on demand. This is one of the key reasons traditional energy drinks have become so popular.

Consumers are looking for an instant energy boost while they are on the go, and that’s exactly what energy drinks offer. They’re convenient and pack a punch. No matter if you need to enhance your physical performance or boost your concentration, an energy drink will get you there.

But what are the negatives?

For all their benefits, there are an equal number of downsides to energy drinks. The main negative being the incredibly high sugar content.

One can of Monster Energy’s original flavor contains 55 grams of sugar. That’s almost 14 teaspoons of granulated sugar! This is incredibly bad news for regular energy drink consumers. 

Sugar addiction has been identified as both a behavioral and chemical addiction, the side effects of which can be extremely damaging. Too much sugar can increase your risk of heart disease and other related factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation. 

Even as heavy sugar consumers start to change their habits, the transition to low sugar food and drink can have a nasty range of withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, intense cravings, nausea, mental health issues, fatigue, and more. The high caffeine content can also cause similar issues, with caffeine being extremely addictive. 

With all that in mind, it’s no wonder so many consumers are turning to alternative energy drinks. 

Why choose alternative energy drinks?

Considering the negative aspects of energy drinks, you may wonder why consumers are still looking at energy drinks at all. The truth is, many people believe the pros outweigh the cons. They’re looking for a fast, convenient energy boost and they understand the negative implications. 

That’s where alternative energy drinks come in. 

Alternative energy drinks have been formulated as a healthy alternative to traditional, sugary energy drinks. They use natural energy sources such as B vitamins and adaptogens to give you a healthy, more sustained energy boost.

Alongside the health aspects of alternative energy drinks, consumers can also enjoy a much wider product selection. Alternative energy drinks aren’t simply carbon copies of traditional energy drinks with the sugar taken out, they come in all kinds of forms such as:

Mashups - two products are mixed together to create a unique flavor while offering all the natural caffeine you could need.

Sparkling drinks with natural flavors - a familiar fizzy drink experience created by all-natural sources.

Ready-to-drink coffee - From nitro-brew coffee to pre-made lattes, coffee fans are well catered for.

Tea-based infusions - Match and green teas are naturally high in caffeine, providing a healthy energy boost without the synthetic agents found in traditional energy drinks.

The best alternative drinks on the market in 2022

Top 3 powdered alternative energy drinks

Powdered energy drinks are quickly taking over gyms and eSports tournaments across the world as athletes and gamers alike try to find the perfect combination of focus, energy, and performance. For consumers looking to dominate, powdered alternative energy drinks could be the secret weapon you need.   

Bang Master Blaster Pre-Workout

Bang Energy has a wide selection of energy drinks aimed at the fitness market. While they still rely on 350 mg of caffeine to give you that energy boost, their pre-workout powder packs a punch with 250 mg of patented SUPER CREATINE® (creatyl-L-leucine) and a range of other supplements designed to make your workout as productive as possible. 

SNEAK

SNEAK is a sugar-free power mix featuring 13 vitamins and minerals, including 6 types of B vitamins for a healthier energy boost. Each serving has just 12 calories and has no artificial colors or flavors. SNEAK cut back on their caffeine content, to just 150 mg per serving, so their customers can enjoy 2 servings a day, while still leaving space for other caffeine sources. 

G Fuel

G Fuel prides itself on giving a healthier way to increase your energy and focus. While their partnerships with Sony, Marvel, and some of the biggest names on Twitch are impressive, the really exciting part of G Fuel is the drink itself. They offer a huge range of flavors to suit every palate, all with zero sugar, plenty of vitamins, and the addition of a focus amino to supercharge your concentration. G Fuel packs 140 mg of caffeine, which is the lowest of any of the powered options we have on this list. 

 

Top 3 coffee-based alternative energy drinks

Many energy drink lovers are searching for the same boost as a cup of coffee in a convenient on-the-go package. Thankfully, there are plenty of coffee-based options in the alternative energy sector.

Caveman Coffee Nitro

Caveman Coffee’s Nitro is a cold brew coffee that promises low acidity and maximum flavor. There are just three ingredients; a blend of premium South American coffee beans, cold water, and nitrogen. There are no bells and whistles, just three natural ingredients to give you a natural boost. Despite its simplicity, Caveman Coffee Nitro packs 200 mg of natural caffeine. 

 

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Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Espresso Coffee

For those looking for a familiar experience from a name they trust, Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Espresso is the drink for you. It’s far from the healthiest option on our list, but with 135 mg of caffeine and a mix of added taurine, L-Carnitine, ginseng and guarana, you can be sure it’ll give you the boost you need.

Starbucks BAYA Energy

While it might not surprise you to see Starbucks twice in this section, you might be surprised by their new offering, BAYA. BAYA takes its caffeine from the coffee fruit, rather than the coffee beans, to give you 170 mg of natural caffeine. So while this is a coffee-based alternative energy drink, it doesn’t have that coffee taste and comes in multiple fruity flavors.

It’s important to note that the two Starbucks beverages contain sugar.

Top 3 sparkling alternative energy drinks

A common complaint about traditional energy drinks is their incredibly intense flavors. If you’re looking for a lighter, more refreshing taste that still packs a punch, these sparkling alternative energy drinks are for you!

Guru Energy Drink cans cheers-ing. Golden Gate Bridge in the background

 

Guru Energy Drink

Originating from Canada, Guru Energy Drink prides itself on using organic, sustainably-sourced ingredients and naturally occurring caffeine from sources like matcha green tea, guarana, and yerba mate. Guru Energy Drinks are low-sugar but high in flavor, making them a tasty, all-natural alternative to their sugar-laden competitors. 

Bai Bubbles Sparkling Antioxidant Infusion

Bai Bubbles offers a flavorful energy boost with just 5 calories and 1 gram of natural sugar. Bai Bubbles comes in a wide range of flavors, each of which contains plenty of antioxidants and zero artificial sweeteners. It takes its caffeine content from coffee fruit (similar to BAYA) and white tea. It also offers the lowest caffeine content on our list so far, clocking in at just 45 mg per serving. 

Hiball Energy Seltzer

If you can’t get enough of seltzers, Hiball has an alternative energy drink for you. Hiball Energy Seltzer offers a highly refreshing taste with zero sugar, zero calories, and lots of natural energy sources. With 160 mg of naturally-derived caffeine alongside ginseng, guarana, and a range of B vitamins, this drink packs a heavy punch.

Top 3 tea-infusion alternative energy drinks

Just as coffee drinkers make the switch to green tea, the alternative energy drink sector is turning to tea for a more gentle caffeine boost.

RUNA Energy Drinks

RUNA is an all-natural drink that uses brewed guayusa leaves to create a chilled tea flavor that is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and energized. The guayusa leaf is packed full of natural caffeine, giving RUNA a surprising 150 mg of caffeine per serving. Thanks to its real fruit flavoring, RUNA is packed with antioxidants, iron, and vitamin C to give you a long-lasting, natural boost. 

MATI

MATI offers a similar drink to RUNA with brewed guayusa, natural fruit juices, and no added sugar. Mati comes in multiple versions, including a zero-calorie seltzer-style drink, and a fruit juice-infused drink in two sizes. MATI offers a lower caffeine content than its rival RUNA, with just 115 mg per 250ml can, which is either a pro or con depending on your outlook on life.

MatchaBar

MatchaBar is deceptively simple. Yes, it’s just a matcha tea powder, but as an alternative to your daily coffee or traditional energy, it’s a fantastic option. MatchaBar promises the highest grade matcha powder you can buy, with a higher level of antioxidants and amino acids than other matcha brands. It offers 80 mg of caffeine per serving, which may not seem like a lot, but the caffeine in matcha is released into the bloodstream over a 3 to 5-hour period. This gives you a sustainable energy boost for longer than traditional energy drinks. 

 

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Top 3 alternative energy shots

Sometimes your schedule is just too full to take a moment to enjoy a full beverage. For those days, try an alternative energy shot for a fast, long-lasting energy boost.

Proper Wild Clean All Day Energy Shots

Unlike a “proper wild” night out in the UK, Proper Wild’s Clean All Day Energy shots will leave you feeling bright, fresh, and ready for your day. Proper Wild uses the organic caffeine content of green tea to give its drinkers 2x as much caffeine as a shot of espresso and 15x more L-Theanine than a cup of green tea in a tiny 2.5 fl oz package. 

Vital Proteins Collagen Energy Shots

As part of their collagen shot range, Vital Proteins Collagen Energy shots look to give you all the benefits of collagen peptides while putting a little pep in your step. Vital Proteins have packed as much as they possibly can into this 2 fl oz shot. There’s a dense mix of vitamins, minerals, Alpha GPC, and 90 mg of caffeine derived from coffee fruit extract. Despite all this, it offers a tasty pink grapefruit flavor that will keep you wanting more.

SuddenRush Guarana

SuddenRush may not be the biggest name on our list, but they do have an extremely exciting product. Rather than combining guarana with caffeine from the coffee bean or fruit, SuddenRush attributes all of its caffeine content to the guarana plant. This offers up to six hours on natural energy to help you stay focused for longer. SuddenRush Guarana shots come in three strengths starting, 110 mg, 165mg, and 220 mg of caffeine per 11ml serving. That’s a lot of caffeine in a tiny little bottle, but thanks to its slower release, you can avoid the extreme highs and lows that a traditional energy drink with this much caffeine per milliliter would give you. 

The alternative energy drink revolution is only just starting

As you can see, there is a wide range of alternative energy drinks on the market right now. However, the alternative energy drink sector is still in its infancy. We can expect to see many more innovations and combinations in the future. 

To keep up with the best new trends, make sure to keep coming back to the Buffalo Market blog.

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