Alternative Energy

So many energy drinks to choose from, but which one is best?

By Mika Bradford

All energy drinks are not the same and while they all profess to give you that extra boost of energy to get you through your late-night work deadline or increase your endurance for a grueling workout their ingredients can be extremely different.

The labels and breakdown of ingredients can be confusing since some energy drinks actually provide two servings per container, however, the ingredients typically are listed per individual serving. For example, the amount of caffeine they contain can be as low as 79 milligrams per 8.4 ounces, similar to your average 8-ounce cup of coffee or as high as having 316 milligrams per 16-ounce can. Other ingredients commonly found in energy drinks are the amino acid Taurine, B  vitamins and herbs like Guarana, Panax Ginseng and Yohimbe.

Knowing your energy drink’s ingredient profile can help you better choose the drink that fits your energy needs  depending on what activities you have planned, your tolerance to caffeine and any medications you may be taking. The type of sweetener used can directly impact the flavor of the drink and any possible after-taste.

Here is a quick reference to help you choose the right pick-me-up drink:

Amp Energy

AMP Energy Sugar Free

71 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce and 142 per 16-ounce can. AMP offers a similar ingredient profile to the Monster formulations having Guarana Seed Extract, Taurine, Panax Ginseng Extract and B vitamins. This drink has a citrus flavor and look to it similar to noncaffeinated sports drink.





Monster Lo-Carb
70 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce serving and 140 milligrams per 16-ounce can. It is a little sweet because glucose is one of the sweeteners. It also has Panax Ginseng, L-Carnitine, L-Tartrate, Guarana Extract and B vitamins.




Red Bull


Red Bull Sugar Free
80 milligrams of Caffeine per 8.4 ounces has Taurine with B vitamins. This energy drink has a distinct after-taste with a nice balance of carbonation. By itself or in a mixed drink it provides a moderate amount of pick me up.





Redline Extreme
158 milligrams of caffeine per 4-ounce serving and 316 milligrams per 8-ounce can. This light berry-flavored energy drink contains branched chain amino acids, various herbs like Yohimbe, Yerba MateExtraxt, and dietary supplements Vinpocetine and 5HTP. This energy drink is concentrated and often is used prior to workouts for endurance support.


Robust Suger Free

Robust Sugar Free

79 milligrams of caffeine per 8.4-ounce can with Taurine and B vitamins. This drink is crisp in flavor, does not have a strong artificial aftertaste and has just the right amount of zing. Robust can be used in place of a cup of coffee, as a quick source of energy that won’t make you wired or jittery. And it gives a natural and unique blend of flavors when paired with mixed drinks.