The Best & Worst Energy Drinks + How to Get Energized Without the Caffeine Fix

The “Queen of Energy Drinks”
For Kristin Rieck, the after effects of energy drinks do not apply because “that would assume there’s a time when I’m not consuming one,” she said.
While many of us are just trying to make it through one major or an extra minor’s requirements, Kristin’s curriculum resembles that of a course catalog. Not only is she pursing an Economic and International Affairs major and Spanish and French minors, but also a certificate in EU studies.
To make it through the day, the Georgia Institute of Technology senior depends dearly on coffee and energy drinks to get her through her busy schedule--and she’s not ashamed to admit it. “I've tried Redbull, Monster, Rock Star, and basically every type of coffee or espresso available in the Western world,” said Kristin.
“I depend on coffee to maintain basic brain function throughout the day, Monster to sip on continuously through the earlier hours of the night, and Redbull for the late night to early mornings,” she said.
While Kristin has built up an impressive resume of caffeinated consumption, her body will not be able to keep up this exhausting routine much longer.
“The demands placed on [college students] are increasingly overwhelming…We're not only having to work more, but we're also having to work harder,” Kristin said. “God forbid if you have a job or do research or would like to have a friend or two,” she added.  
Clearly, the effects of relying on energy drinks on a daily basis are already beginning to overwhelm Kristin.
While Rieck is not too worried about the after effects of all of these drinks right now, she does realize that they are not the best products for her body. “I don't have time to consider the ramifications [from relying on energy drinks] ten years down the road,” she said.  “Energy drinks?  Probably not great for you.  Especially not when they become your sleep.”
The Best and Worst Energy Drinks (And Which Ones to Avoid at all Costs)
While all energy drinks may seem to be created equal, some may be better than others. Before you pick up a can at the convenience store, stop and scan the product’s label.
5-Hour Energy

Energy Blend: The drink includes the taurine and caffeine components as well as ingredients likeGlucuronolactone, Malic Acid, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, L-Phenylalanine, Citicoline”
Words of Caution: While the drink contains about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, the sodium content is what’s really alarming. In a Yahoo Health article, David Zinczenko states that the 18 mgs of sodium found in 5-Hour Energy may cause a spike in your blood pressure. However, the lack of sugar in the drink, according to Zinczenko, helps consumers avoid the sugar crash suffered by Monster and Red Bull drinkers.
Verdict:5-Hour Energy drinkers will experience a bout of energy and virtually no sugar crash. The drink is about as effective as a cup of coffee, though.

Ngozi Ekeledo has four major loves in life: reading, writing, laughing and sports. She is a junior in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, yet despite being in the Midwest, she’s still a Southern girl at heart. She’s majoring in Broadcast Journalism, minoring in Sociology and pursuing an Integrated Marketing Communications Certificate. She is currently the Marketing Director for the Northwestern News Network and serves as a reporter for Sports Night, her campus’s sports TV show. She is also a writer for North By Northwestern (her campus’s online publication) and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and Alpha Kappa Psi. When she isn’t busy bouncing around in a bubble of journalism, she can be found dishing out sarcastic quips, longing for her mom’s homemade mac n’ cheese or playing impromptu Friday night basketball games with her crazy, yet entertaining friends. After college, she hopes to pursue a career in sports journalism and one day work her dream job at ESPN. Hopefully Erin Andrews , Linda Cohn and Rachel Nichols will be on board for her round table, The View-esque sports TV show idea.

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