Archive for the Ingredients Category

Acesulfame Potassium

Posted in Ingredients on 07/01/2010 by Brett

First of all: Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers out there! Time to crack open a few sodas! And by sodas, I mean beers!

Anyway, onto today’s topic. We all know sucralose is a calorie-free artificial sweetener found in numerous energy drinks. Another calorie-free artificial sweetener you will find is acesulfame potassium, also known as Ace K (K being the symbol for potassium on the Periodic Table). Ace K is marketed under the trade mark names Sunett and Sweet One. It is known under the E Number (additive code) E950.

Ace K was discovered accidentally by German chemist Karl Clauss in 1967 while working at Hoechst AG, now known as Nutrinova. It is 180-200 sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), as sweet as aspartame, half as sweet as saccharin and one-quarter as sweet as sucralose. Apparently, Ace K is mixed with other sweeteners, such as sucralose, not only to give a drink a sugar-like taste, but also to mask each other’s aftertaste. Ace K has a very bitter aftertaste, much like saccharin.

Like any artificial sweetener, Ace K has its share of safety concerns. Critics have stated Ace K has not being studied adequately by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may be carcinogenic. But the FDA, as well as the European Union, have repeatedly dismissed these claims.

Source: Wikipedia

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Ginkgo Biloba

Posted in Ingredients on 06/24/2010 by Brett

So far, I have only found one brand of energy drink that contains ginkgo biloba. That energy drink would be Rockstar. The majority of flavors in Rockstar’s line-up contain around 250-300 mg of ginkgo biloba. According to many medical experts, taking supplements that contain 40-200 mg of ginkgo is perfectly fine.

Ginkgo biloba is derived from leaves off Ginkgo trees, which are native to eastern China. These trees grow between 20-35 meters (66-115 feet) tall. For centuries, the Chinese have used Ginkgo Biloba to enhance memory, as well as enhancing concentration and averting vertigo. Past studies, on the other hand, have differed about its efficacy. For instance, ginkgo biloba has been tried in alleviating dementia, though was found ineffective.

I have found while drinking Rockstar, at least any flavor that has ginkgo biloba, my mind has never felt fuzzy and have been able to concentrate on any tasks I need to accomplish. Not saying ginkgo biloba is entirely responsible, but it’s helped.

Source: Wikipedia

Maltodextrin

Posted in Ingredients on 06/17/2010 by Brett

So today, I am reviewing another ingredient you will find in energy drinks. It seems this ingredient is pretty common within the Monster Energy line-up: Maltodextrin. As a result, I decided to check and see what this ingredient is all about.

Maltodextrin is derived from corn in North America and wheat in Europe. But it may be derived from any starch. Wheat-derived maltodextrin has raised flags when it comes to containing gluten. As maltodextrin is such a highly-processed ingredient, the protein has been removed. Therefore, it is gluten-free.

Maltodextrin is also commonly used as an alternative to sweetening foods and drinks. Besides being an ingredient in Monster, it may also be found in sodas and candy. One candy that contains maltodextrin is SweeTarts. Maltodextrin is also known for being easily digestible, and is as rapidly absorbed as glucose.

Maltodextrin is classified by DE (dextrose equivalent) and has a DE between 3 and 20. Depending how high the DE value is, the glucose chain will be shorter, the sweetness will be higher, as will the solubility. If a DE level is 20 or higher, it is classified as glucose syrup under the European Union’s CN Code. Whereas DE levels of 10 or lower, maltodextrins are classified as dextrins.

Source: Wikipedia

Glucuronolactone

Posted in Ingredients on 06/10/2010 by Brett

For the time I have been doing this blog, I have posted ingredients with the drinks I have reviewed. One ingredient that always appears in the medicinal section is Glucuronolactone. So finally, I decided to write about this ingredient, as it has intrigued me for quite some time, I am going to reveal what this ingredient is all about.

According to an article in Wikipedia, Glucuronolactone is “a naturally occurring chemical produced by the metabolism of glucose in the human liver.” It has also been found glucuronolactone is present in many plant gums.

The main claim to fame Glucuronolactone has in energy drinks is that it detoxifies the body. While it is known levels of Glucuronolactone far exceed those found in the rest of our diet, it has been concluded by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that exposure to consumption of glucuronolactone in energy drinks is not a safety concern (No Observed Adverse Effect Level of Glucuronolactone = 1000 mg/kg/day). The EFSA did report that fatality did occur after an intake of 1420 mL of an energy drink.

In essence, Glucuronolactone is like any vitamin or mineral: No matter how it is taken, a certain level is fatal. But the right amount is just fine.

Source: Wikipedia

Taurine

Posted in Ingredients on 04/28/2010 by Brett

As we all know, energy drinks have a variety of medicinal ingredients. One in particular that is seen in every energy drink on the market is taurine. Taurine originally (and I highly emphasize “originally”) came from the bile of certain animals, such as bulls and oxen. In fact, the word “Taurine” is derived from the Latin word “Taurus,” which, of course, means bull. But the taurine in energy drinks today is produced synthetically from plants.

Taurine has been heavily mistaken as an amino acid, when, in actuality, it is an organic acid, as it occurs naturally. Another name for Taurine is “tauric acid.” Energy drink manufacturers have stated that Taurine can have positive effects on the body. Unfortunately, scientific studies have not found any proof behind this, nor have they proven Taurine to be energy-giving. But one study that has been done has proven Taurine can be beneficial in aiding high blood pressure as well as other cardiovascular ailments, such as hypertension.

People have often stated how unhealthy energy drinks are. Being a common consumer of energy drinks, they are right to a degree. For example: Stay as far away as you can from energy drinks containing high fructose corn syrup. But in a 2008 review, according to Wikipedia, it was revealed there were no negative effects associated with the amount of taurine in energy drinks. On average, energy drinks contain 1000 mg per serving (A serving is generally 8.4 fl. oz. or 240 mL).

So while taurine doesn’t provide the energy benefits we thought it did, it does help in certain ways with your health. Personally, I’d say ginseng provides more energy than taurine, but that’s just me.

Source: Wikipedia

Panax Ginseng

Posted in Ingredients with tags , , on 04/13/2010 by Brett

We have reviewed a number of ingredients that go into energy drinks. But one ingredient that has always stood out to me is panax ginseng. This ingredient can be found in energy drinks such as Rockstar, Xenergy and AMP, but it is common in other energy drinks as well.

Ginseng is commonly grown in eastern Asia,  primarily Korea, China and Siberia. Typically, in cooler climates. The Korean Panax Ginseng seems to be the most common, as I always find it in Xenergy and Rockstar. But most energy drinks list it as Panax Ginseng, not specifying if it is Korean, Chinese or Siberian. Ginseng has also been grown in countries such as Germany and even in Wisconsin, USA.

So where does the word “Panax” come from? Simple. “Panax” is the botanical/genus name and means “all-heal” in Greek. It shares the same origin as “panacea” and was apparently applied to this genus, as Linnaeus was aware of its uses as a muscle relaxant in Chinese medicine.

But Ginseng has been discovered to be used for other treatments. One common use of ginseng is to treat Type II diabetes, as well as sexual dysfunction in men (Don’t have to worry about that for a while personally, but good to know). It is even used as an aphrodisiac and for nourishment.

Its purpose in energy drinks though is, of course, to provide energy. Being the avid consumer of energy drinks myself (obviously), I have discovered any time I have consumed an energy drink with ginseng has keep me going throughout the day. Sometimes, maybe more than I would like. I feel great because of the ginseng, though the other ingredients certainly do their part as well.

Source: Wikipedia

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Posted in Ingredients with tags , , , , on 04/03/2010 by Brett

Those of you who have read my posts have probably seen this ingredient listed in a number of the drinks reviewed: High Fructose Corn Syrup, or HFCS for short. It is also known as “Glucose/Fructose” in Canada and “Glucose Fructose Syrup” in the United Kingdom. Now I know what you’re thinking: Brett, how come you’re telling us this? Simple.

Since countries like the United States, United Kingdom and Canada do not produce real sugar, they find other ingredients to replace sugar. HFCS is a cheap substitute, as it is expensive to import real sugar, which comes from beets or canes.

But there is a downside to having HFCS as an ingredient. While companies might be saving money by using HFCS instead of real sugar, HFCS is not good for you. The reason HFCS is not good for you is because unlike natural sugar (sucrose), HFCS does not have a bond between glucose and fructose, whereas natural sugar does. Due to this bond, your body must break it down before being utilized. But since there is no bond in HFCS, it can be utilized more easily. Even Dr. Oz has mentioned in his show how harmful HFCS is to humans and how it has increased obesity worldwide.

I know I have reviewed energy drinks containing HFCS in the past and may continue to do so, but I have also primarily reviewed numerous energy drinks that contain real sugar or no sugar at all. Some examples of drinks that contain natural sugar are Rockstar and Beaver Buzz. One brand of energy drink I like that contains no sugar is Xenergy. I have reviewed Xenergy’s entire line of energy drinks in the past and have mentioned it is the official energy drink of UFC…and we know those guys only have a single digit of body fat on them, and with good reason!

I’d say in time: HFCS, or “Glucose/Fructose” in Canada and “Glucose Fructose Syrup” in the UK, will be eliminated, just like trans fats were from foods. So in the meantime: Please check the ingredients on anything you buy. Not just energy drinks. Everything!

Sources: Broken Secrets