These Energy Drinks that are Actually Good for You

According to Statista, the United States consumes the most energy drinks per capita with a whopping 29.23 liters consumed on average in 2021. This is over double the next leading country (the United Kingdom with 13.31 liters per capita).

America’s love of Red Bull, Monster, and other sugary energy drinks caused the number of energy drink-related ER visits to double in the six years between 2007 and 2011. So if you’re cautious about most energy drink products, your concerns are valid!

With people becoming more and more aware of the possible health implications of consuming too many energy drinks, the market has started to see some healthier alternatives.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the best healthy energy drinks that will give you a needed boost without the side effects.

A woman doing a handstand against a rainbow-colored wall

What makes a healthy energy drink?

Before we start talking about what makes a healthy energy drink, we need to know what it is about traditional energy drinks that make them unhealthy. Let’s put scandal to one side and see what it is about these drinks that make them potentially harmful.

Caffeine is the major constituent in most energy drinks — and this is where the biggest problem lies for many people. A study on the consumption of energy drinks found that the average drink contained between 80 and 150 mg of caffeine in eight ounces. This is the same amount as 5oz of coffee or two 12-oz cans of Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Now, consider the fact that each energy drink probably contains 16 ounces of energy drink, you’re looking at consuming 10oz of coffee or four cans of Pepsi. That’s a huge amount of caffeine, which is certainly not good for you.

Besides caffeine, traditional energy drinks also contain a high amount of sugar. For example, an 8oz serving of VAULT citrus flavor contains 31.96g of sugar, which is 36% of its content. That’s around six and a half teaspoons of sugar! 

Consuming sugar in excess comes with all sorts of health implications. In the short term, you’re likely to suffer from tiredness, weight gain, and acne. And in the long term, you’re putting yourself at risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

So, when choosing energy drinks, how can we make sure we’re choosing the best healthy energy drinks? Here are some things to be mindful of.

Healthy energy drinks have low(er) sugar

As mentioned above, traditional energy drinks contain a lot of sugar, and most people now realize that too much sugar is bad for your health. When looking for the best healthy energy drinks, the first thing to look at is the sugar content. 

Sugar is normally included in energy drinks because it gives you a quick energy boost. This energy boost, however, is very short-lived and is subsequently followed by a crash. The energy boost only lasts between thirty minutes and sixty minutes, so unless you’re planning to run a race, it isn’t going to give you long-lasting effects.

When you look for healthy energy drinks, you need to find ones that are sugar-free. Or if you want that sugar boost, try to choose a drink that has the lowest amount of sugar.

Healthy energy drinks have low(er) caffeine

Another thing to look out for when searching for the best healthy energy drinks is to scan the amount of caffeine in the drink.

According to the  FDA, you shouldn’t consume more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. In excess, caffeine can cause problems like anxiety, headaches, and insomnia. So when you’re choosing an energy drink, select one that doesn’t have an excessive amount of caffeine.

Healthy energy drinks have extra boosters such as Amino acids and vitamins

Some energy drinks double up as health drinks too. And these, of course, will be much better for you than mainstream energy drinks.

Some healthy energy drinks contain B vitamins. These are water-soluble vitamins that help your body convert food to energy. Like anything, though, they can be dangerous if consumed in excess. You should check the label to see what percentage of your recommended daily intake is. 

If the drink is over 100%, you should consider a different drink.

What are we looking for in an energy drink?

There are, of course, many benefits to energy drinks. They can:

  • Give you a quick boost of energy
  • Enhance your performance
  • Boost your concentration
  • Come in a variety of flavors

Let’s look at these in more detail.

#1 They give you a quick boost of energy

The clue is in the name! Basically, energy drinks are made for this. Their ingredients (like caffeine and sugar) are what’s needed for this boost of energy.

Health-wise, you can still get good energy drinks that don’t contain as much caffeine and sugar. It’s all about balance. No one really needs that much caffeine anyway!

#2 They enhance your performance

If you’ve got a performance coming up, whether it’s a sporting event or a show, an energy drink can really help for that boost you need just before. Of course, a sweet coffee will probably have a similar effect but it’s often less convenient than carrying around a can of energy drink.

A close up of fruit segments splashing with water

#3 They boost your concentration

It’s not just physical performances that energy drinks can help with. If you have an exam or need to concentrate for a long period at work, an energy drink is a good choice.

#5 They come in a variety of flavors

If you’re not a fan of coffee, then you’re pretty stumped when it comes to getting your energy and caffeine fix (unless you like cola). With energy drinks, however, there are loads of flavors to choose from and you’re bound to find something that suits.

Energy drink risks and side effects (even of natural energy drinks)

We all know the risks of traditional energy drinks, but even natural and healthier energy drinks can have side effects when consumed in excess. Typically, a healthy person could consume an energy drink once a day but no side effects but any more than that could lead to problems.

Too many energy drinks can cause:

  • Weight gain. This is due to the high amounts of sugar and calories in most energy drinks.
  • Caffeine addiction. It is possible to become addicted to caffeine, which is problematic for many reasons.
  • Heart problems. This is because caffeine and energy drinks can cause an increased heart rate.
  • Anxiety. Too much caffeine can cause or heighten anxiety.
  •  Insomnia and restlessness. Again, an effect of the high caffeine content. This often becomes a vicious circle as you start to take in more caffeine to counteract the tiredness you feel from poor sleep, which in turn causes insomnia.

It’s worth remembering that these risks and side effects only happen when you consume energy drinks excessively.

10 energy drinks that are actually good for your health

Okay, let’s get to the crux of it: our list of the best healthy energy drinks out there. We’ve produced a list of ten options so there is plenty for all tastes. Here are our top ten:

1.  MatchaBar Hustle Unsweetened

This energy drink was the first one that used matcha as its energy source. Yet it’s not like drinking matcha at all. 

The MatchaBar Hustle Unsweetened drink is made using a signature blend of matcha (ceremonial-grade nonetheless), developed exclusively in partnership with a Japanese 10th-grade tea expert from Kagoshima.

There is no taurine, and it is a completely vegan, keto, and paleo-friendly drink.

Since the caffeine is derived from matcha plants (young green tea that has been stone-ground into a fine, silky powder) it doesn’t give you the jitters or a crash later in the day. This means you also have an extended release of energy rather than a sudden burst.

Ingredients

MatchaBar Hustle Unsweetened contains:

Water, ceremonial-grade match, lactic acid, chlorophyllin, organic cane sugar, green tea extract, lemon extract, lime extract.

From each drink, you also get 120mg of caffeine, antioxidants, and amino acids.

Why is it a healthy energy drink?

This is one of the best healthy energy drinks thanks to its low sugar content and its extended-release caffeine that offers all-day energy rather than a boost and a crash. It also contains L-theanine, which is an amino acid that occurs naturally. This ingredient increases the alpha wave activity in your brain which creates a calm focus, unlike caffeine.

Matcha: a popular healthy energy drink ingredient

2.  Zipfizz

Zipfizz is an energy drink that comes in powder form that you add to water. This makes it really convenient. Each serving contains 100mg of caffeine but zero sugar. There are also B vitamins included but it seems to contain a frightful amount of vitamin B12, which could be detrimental.

Each tube is 11g and is loaded with antioxidants. It’s also gluten-free and contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. There is also a balance of electrolytes, including calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium.

Ingredients

Zipfizz (berry flavor) contains Vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, manganese, copper, chromium, sodium, potassium, botanical antioxidant blend, citric acid, and a few other ingredients.

Why is it a healthy energy drink?

Zipfizz doesn’t contain too much caffeine, which makes it healthier than some of the market leaders. It also contains zero sugar. For anyone taking part in sports or exercise, it also has a good balance of electrolytes, which are essential for hydration.

3.  Monster Zero Ultra

If you love Monster but want a healthier version, then Monster Zero Ultra is the one for you.

This drink comes in nine different flavors and is vegan too. It contains 30mg of caffeine per 100ml, which equates to 150mg of caffeine per can.

As well as this it contains vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin (vitamin B3), and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). There are around 57 calories per drink.

Ingredients

Carbonated water, citric acid, erythritol, taurine, sodium citrate, natural & artificial flavors, ginseng flavor, L-carnitine, L-tartrate, caffeine, sucralose, sorbic acid, benzoic acid, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, acesulfame potassium, inositol, vitamin B8, vitamin B12.

Why is it a healthy energy drink?

Okay, so there are healthier and more natural energy drinks than this but for those who simply love the Monster flavor and effect, this is by far the best choice of their range. You get the boost you need without the high sugar.

4.  Celsius

Rather than market its product as an energy drink, Celsius uses the term ‘fitness drink’ and describe it as a dietary supplement. Their USP is that they focus on movement and so their drinks are different. They claim to have a clinically proven formula that helps the body to burn fat and boosts the metabolism.

Ingredients

Celsius contains no artificial flavors or preservatives. It also doesn’t contain high-fructose corn syrup or aspartame and is low in salt. The drinks are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher. They contain carbonated water, citric acid, sucralose, beta-carotene, green tea extract, vitamin B, vitamin C, Guarana seed extract, ginger root, chromium, and 200mg of caffeine per serving, which is quite high.

Why is it a healthy energy drink?

Unlike some energy drinks, Celsius contains only natural colors and flavors. It also contains no sugar and no aspartame, which many people avoid nowadays. It’s also non-GMO and clinically proven to do what you need it to do (and so is great for fitness).

5.  Reize

Like ZipFixx, Reize is also a powder. Each serving contains 50mg of caffeine — a smaller amount than most, but probably enough. There’s also no sugar and a sensible amount of vitamin B.

What makes Reize unique is that it is versatile and can be added to any drink, even cocktails! It’s also very affordable.

Ingredients

We couldn’t find a list of complete ingredients online but understand that it contains vitamin B, no sugar, and 50mg of caffeine. It also contains a small amount of ginseng and taurine.

Why is it a healthy energy drink?

Reize is healthier because it contains a small amount of caffeine. It also has no sugar.

Other healthy energy drinks you’ll have to try

If you’d like to explore more of the best healthy energy drinks, here are five more that make up our top ten:

  1.   SOUND Sparkling Organic Yerba Maté with Citrus and Hibiscus
  2.   Guayaki Unsweetened Yerba Maté
  3.   Proper Wild Clean All Day Energy Shot
  4.   MATI Unsweetened Sparkling Organic Energy Drink
  5.   Toro Matcha Sparkling Ginger

If you’ve enjoyed this post, check out the rest of the Buffalo Market blog for more food and beverage tips.

More Like This