19 energy drinks tested

Beate Jeske
19 energy drinks tested
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E nergy drinks are now bestsellers on the beverage market. The market leader Red Bull alone sells over 4.6 billion cans a year worldwide. In the past ten years, the consumption of sweet lifestyle drinks has increased by 55 percent. If you believe the industrial stagings, they should inspire top performance, increase the ability to concentrate and keep you fit. The list of ingredients in energy drinks impresses with extravagant-sounding ingredients such as taurine or inositol and a few added vitamins. The thing about perking you up actually works.

Energy drinks with a high sugar content

However, this has less to do with mysterious recipes, but is more due to the fact that practically all of them come under the umbrella term energy drink current products have two components that can increase performance in the short term: caffeine and sugar. The stimulating effect of caffeine is undisputed: it eliminates symptoms of tiredness and improves concentration - a welcome effect on long car journeys. salary ”. However, there is only a maximum caffeine limit if the product is to be marketed as an energy drink or a soft drink. If the brew is only marketed as a food or dietary supplement, lawmakers don't care how much caffeine is in it. The majority of the energy drinks tested have around 32 milligrams of caffeine per 100 milliliters of liquid.

The function of sugar as a quick source of energy is also undisputed. With the exception of the Mega Force product (zero percent sugar), the drinks tested contained between 10.2 and 14.2 percent of it. 'A normal car driver doesn't need that much sugar even on a long drive,' says Rufus Rieder, nutrition expert at the magazine 'Men's Health' - unless he is completely starved and dog-tired.

Scientific evidence is missing

Probably the best-known additive in energy drinks is taurine, which is considered a metabolism accelerator, but does not have any stimulating effect itself. More than ten years ago, the non-profit German Nutrition Society established how this aminosulfonic acid should be assessedclearly: “The advertising suggests that taurine as a component of energy drinks promotes both physical and mental performance. So far, however, no well-controlled studies are known that show a positive effect of taurine supplements on physical performance in healthy people and patients. ”The often subjectively felt positive effects are due to placebo effects or to other ingredients such as caffeine.

It is now known that the human body also produces taurine - around 50 to 125 milligrams a day. According to the German Nutrition Society, this amount is completely sufficient to cover personal needs. Whether an additional intake increases performance is a matter of dispute. Uwe Schröder from the Institute for Sports Nutrition in Bad Nauheim says: “In the amounts usually consumed it probably has no effect.” The same applies to glucuronolactone, a carbohydrate that is also often an ingredient in energy drinks. Are they causing something or not?

'In some endurance sports, they can supply the body with additional energy,' admits the nutritionist. However, only as long as the body still has sufficient fluids. “Energy drinks are hypertonic drinks, so they have a higher concentration than blood,” says Schröder. 'They therefore remove additional fluid from the body so that it can process it.' Apart from the fact that driving is not exactly one of the endurance sports, the correct drinking and eating behavior is important during longer car journeys in order to avoid loss of performance, reaction and concentration .

Air conditioning can now be found in most cars. This means dry air in the interior, which further increases the body's need for fluids. If you want to avoid mental performance lows while driving, you should drink in good time, i.e. before you become thirsty - at least one and a half liters per day, ideally two to 2.5 liters. Mineral waters with a calcium-magnesium ratio of 2: 1 are preferred. They are quickly absorbed by the body and are particularly suitable for balancing out fluid deficits and meeting the needs of minerals. Fruit juice spritzers, unsweetened fruit teas, non-alcoholic beer and whey beverages ensure variety and enjoyment.

Pay attention to the biorhythm

Smaller snacks are recommended in order to stay focused and alert during longer car journeys. Easily digestible and carbohydrate-containing snacks such as muesli bars, dried fruits, nuts or dairy products supply the brain with nutrients and offer a balanced range of carbohydrates that provide energy quickly and over the long term. Thinly sandwiches, fruit and vegetables are also well suited as travel provisions.

Also thatYour own biorhythm plays a role: a typical morning person should not necessarily move longer car journeys into the night. As a general rule, night drives should not be started before two o'clock in the morning. And it is important to have slept for a few hours before starting your journey.

Regular breaks are also essential on long journeys, you should rest for at least 20 minutes every two hours. Then get out of the car, do relaxation exercises and breathe deeply in and out, because this supplies the cells with oxygen. Even a simple stretching of the body works: This stretches the muscles, which in turn can relieve tension.

When tiredness takes over

'A short sleep can compensate for tiredness to a certain extent,' says sleep researcher Jürgen Zulley. Ideally, the driver has a cup of coffee beforehand. The natural pick-me-up takes around 20 to 30 minutes to take effect. By the way: In addition to the energy drinks, a cup of freshly brewed beer also completed a small test round in the laboratory - the result: With a caffeine content of 71.5 mg /100 ml, a perfectly normal coffee provides more than twice as much caffeine as most products in the beverage industry. Jürgen Zulley warns against overestimating coffee as well: 'When the caffeine influence wears off, you get very tired.' The duration of action is very different.

This is how we tested energy drinks

Seven Colleagues from the sister magazine 'MOTORRAD' did the hard tasting work: they bravely drank through the offer and diligently kept minutes. In the laboratory of device manufacturer Kärcher, food chemist and laboratory manager Frank Ritscher analyzed the test samples bought in grocery stores and at a petrol station. The Kärcher laboratory team determined the caffeine content with the help of a high-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC). Using a refractometer, they determined the sugar content using the refractive index. An electronic ph meter showed the acidity. As a guide: lemon juice has a pH value of 2.0 and apple spritzer a pH of 3.6. The acid content was not included in the evaluation. This test scheme was chosen because the stimulating effect is more important for motorists and therefore has more weight: In the property evaluation, the drinks achieved a maximum of 50 points for caffeine content, sugar content and taste 25 points each.

This is how we rate

100 - 90 points: very recommendable
89 - 65 points: recommendable
64 - 44 Points: conditionally recommended
43 - 0 Points: not recommended

Fatigue can be combated in the short term

In the experience of sleep researcher Jürgen Zulley, a short nap is a good way toin order to regain new strength on tiring car journeys - for example on vacation. The best way to do this is to place the backrest as flat as possible so that your head can be laid back. The first step to short sleep is relaxation. Zulley advises concentrating entirely on breathing or on very soft music, for example. “Everyone has to find out for themselves what is the best way to switch off,” says the sleep researcher, “with one person classic works, with others George Moustaki.” Muscle relaxation and autogenic training also help. Ideally, the short nap lasts 15 minutes, but never more than half an hour. 'Then comes deep sleep,' says Zulley.

Fitness experts: 'An espresso with two spoons of sugar has the same function'

Most energy drinks contain a large amount of caffeine. Is that completely harmless?

Stenglein: From around 500 milligrams or in combination with other stimulating substances, nausea, headaches and sleep disorders can occur . About ten grams of caffeine is fatal in adults.

So could you kill yourself with energy drinks?

Stenglein: No, excluded. To do this, you would need to drink around 125 cans, or the same amount of black coffee. Cardiac arrhythmias or overexcitation can occur after just one gram of caffeine.

So how much can you drink?

Stenglein: According to the Federal Office for Consumer Protection, two doses a day, i.e. around 160 milligrams of caffeine, are harmless. The absolute upper limit is five to six small 250 milliliter doses. But only in exceptional cases, please.

Often taurine is also added. What do you think of it?

Stenglein: According to the manufacturers, taurine is supposed to improve the transmission of nerve signals and improve performance. These properties have not been proven for humans and especially when they are consumed through food.

So is taurine a harmless additive?

Stenglein: Difficult to say. Side effects have not yet been scientifically investigated in humans, but in animals - they suffer from respiratory disorders in the event of an overdose.

Except for the light products, the tested energy drinks abound Sugar. What's the point?

Stenglein: A can contains on average around 25 grams of sugar, around a quarter of the recommended daily requirement. Such a high amount of short chain carbohydrates as found incontained in a can, should only be consumed if you are involved in intensive endurance sports, for example running a fast half marathon or going on vacation by bike instead of by car.

How useful are energy drinks?

Stenglein: The effect of energy drinks is mainly on the combination of sugar and Attributed to caffeine - both have been shown to work. A strong coffee with two spoons of sugar or a small cola fulfill the same function as an energy drink. The relevant beverage companies and caries bacteria benefit most from the expensive and sweet energy drinks.

What do you do when you are tired on the highway?

Stenglein: Drive right into the parking lot and ideally take a nap for 15 minutes. But it also helps to pump fresh oxygen into the muscles. For this, about 15 push-ups, 15 squats and 15 jumping jacks are excellent choices.

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