Whether we’re working late, hitting the gym hard or wrangling the kids on a busy weekend, sometimes we all need a little boost—which is why we’re thankful for Gayot.com’s 5 Best Energy Drinks.
Loaded with natural supplements like guarana, ginseng and gingko biloba, these drinks are designed to increase energy, sharpen concentration and improve athletic performance—and taste great doing it.
Take a look at our list to find everything from two-ounce energy shots to sixteen-ounce cans of performance-boosting carbonated beverages.
1. Red Bull
Red Bull is the original energy drink. Endlessly copied by competitors, the slender, eight-ounce, blue-and-silver can is recognized the world over. Crafted with ingredients like taurine (an essential amino acid), glucuronolactone (a carbohydrate) and caffeine, Red Bull claims to “give you wings” by improving concentration and alertness. Its taste is notoriously hard to describe (Pixy Stix? Carbonated Sweet Tarts?), but is unquestionably distinctive. While imitators come and go, Red Bull continues to reign supreme, from bars to college campuses, truck drivers to tired office workers. Capitalizing on the success of its flagship product, Red Bull now offers a number of other beverages, including Red Bull Sugarfree, Red Bull Energy Shots and Red Bull Cola.
Monster burst onto the energy drink scene in 2002 and has been snapping at Red Bull’s heels ever since. The original flavor, Monster Energy, is a carbonated, citrusy beverage that offers a palate-pleasing marriage of sweet and sour flavors. Its patented “Energy Blend” is a potent combination of taurine, ginseng, B-vitamins and guarana, a South American shrub whose berries contain a caffeine-like substance. There are now more than two dozen varieties, including Monster Java (coffee-flavored), Monster M-80 (made with tropical juices), Monster Assault (twice the caffeine) and Monster Khaos (made with fruit juice).
Rockstar hails from Vegas and doesn’t let you forget it, thanks to advertising campaigns featuring scantily clad women, fast cars and the invitation to “Party Like a Rock Star!” They sponsor multiple sporting events and even have a partnership with Playboy. Aside from caffeine, taurine and sugar, Rockstar energy drinks contain herbs such as ginseng, ginkgo biloba and milk thistle. (The milk thistle, a liver-cleansing plant, purportedly reduces hangovers.) Rockstar comes in sixteen-ounce cans of just about every flavor imaginable, with the original being an appealing mix of citrus and vanilla. While a regular sixteen-ounce can of Rockstar Energy has 280 calories, dieters can opt for Rockstar's Zero Carb Energy Drink, which clocks in at 20 calories per sixteen-ounce can.
AMP may not be as well known as the other beverages on this list, but the drink makes the cut due to its taste. AMP Energy Boost has a sweet, carbonated citrus flavor and, unlike many other energy drinks, contains real orange juice. Distributed by Pepsi, AMP has gone through various incarnations in its short lifespan. The brand’s current lineup includes AMP Energy Boost, AMP Energy Focus (with l-theanine and choline), and AMP Energy Active (with electrolytes). All three contain B-vitamins, caffeine, ginseng, guarana and taurine, as do many energy drinks; however, if you’ve tried other brands and did not vibe with their chemical taste, give AMP Energy Boost a try. All of AMP’s drinks are competitively priced; a sixteen-ounce can of AMP costs less than an eight-ounce can of Red Bull — another plus.
5. 5-hour Energy
We like 5-Hour Energy because in a single two-ounce “shot” you get the jolt of an entire energy drink, without having to slug down sixteen ounces. Since its launch in 2004, 5-Hour Energy's ubiquitous red bottles seem to have popped up in every gas station and convenience store across the country. Each shot contains a blend of taurine and B-vitamins infused with as much caffeine “as a cup of premium coffee.” Although 5-Hour Energy now comes in several flavors, the original is often described as having a berry-like tang to it. In spite of its small size, 5-Hour Energy has generated big profits, racking up over $1 billion in retail sales and spawning a host of imitations.
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