Let’s talk energy drinks…they’ve had a bit of bad press recently and is it any wonder that, as their popularity continues to rise, particularly among teenagers who use it as a kind of second best to not being able to legally drink alcohol, that drinks containing high levels of sugar, caffeine and a whole manner of other artificial chemicals and preservatives, are causing all kinds of damage to our health.
One of the leading brands of energy drinks contains 80mg which although only about the same as a standard cup of coffee, when consumed in such vast amounts because it is so easy to drink, and particularly when you take into account that it also contains 27g of sugar (say what!?!) then it’s clear there’s a problem.
I was recently sent some samples of a new energy drink that labels itself as the #smartenergy drink.
Let’s take a look in a bit more detail at Brain Füd Energy Drinks.
Available in three flavours: Citrus & Mint, Berry & Coconut, and Pineapple & Ginger (more on those later), each drink contains 7 vitamins and minerals (B5, B6, B9, B12, D, Zinc and Magnesium), less than 20 calories per 250ml serving, no added sugar and guarana.
So what’s guarana when it’s at home?
It’s a natural plant based source of caffeine that’s what!
Originating in South America, the plant has been used by Amazonian tribes for centuries and now approximately 70% of all guarana production is used in the energy drink market. And it’s proper potent, in fact the amount of guarana used in one of the Brain Füd drinks has the equivalent of an Americano’s worth of caffeine.
Traditionally, energy drinks have contained taurine, the chemical found in animals and in particular within…wait for it…bile!
Both taurine and guarana are heavy on the caffeine and so therefore help boost energy levels, however because guarana is plant based and because more conclusive studies have been carried out on it, guarana remains the healthier and safer option.
If you aren’t great with caffeine then you probably shouldn’t go near these drinks, but if you love the ‘pick me up’ that comes from caffeine and your energy levels are in need of a bit of a boost then there is absolutely no harm in drinking these drinks…in moderation.
In my humble opinion, if you’re gonna drink energy drinks then at least go for the better ones, and these are those.
So now we’ve got all that heavy stuff out of the way, let’s take a look at what they taste like:
Citrus & Mint
Out of the three this one has the lowest calories at 24 cals per 500ml bottle and it smells exactly like a mojito (I’m planning on using it in a healthier mojito cocktail recipe for Christmas so keep an eye out!), zingy lime combined with fresh and zesty mint, these are definitely my kinda flavours. It smells stronger than it tastes, but the taste is clear, clean and incredibly refreshing, if only the weather was a bit warmer and I’d feel as if I’d been transported to a tropical beach somewhere. My one bugbear…mint isn’t listed in the ingredients…how can that be!?!
Berry & Coconut
This was my favourite flavour out of the three as it was just so lovely and creamy, whilst still having that watery consistency. Containing blueberry, blackberry and apple juice, hence the fabulous colour, the sharpness of the berries works fantastically well with the smooth creaminess of the coconut. I can imagine drinking this first thing in the morning instead of my usual cup of coffee alongside a bowl of berry topped porridge and at 14 cals per 250ml serving I’m pretty happy with how those figures stack up.
Pineapple & Ginger
When I opened the bottle my nostrils were immediately hit with the zing of the ginger followed by the intense sweetness of the pineapple, so I’ll be honest I was a little disappointed when I had a sip and it kind of tasted like weak squash. Then I read the bottle and realised that I needed to shake it first to get all those flavours intermingling…ahhhh much better. It still doesn’t taste as strong as it smells, but the flavour is refreshing and the ginger although incredibly subtle at first, starts to creep in more and more as you drink it. Out of the three, this one is the highest in calories, but at a measly 7 cals per 100ml (35 cals for the whole 500ml bottle) you can’t really argue! The recommended serving size is 250ml, which is half the bottle, but yet again I didn’t read the bottle first (when will I learn!?!) and so therefore necked the whole thing in one go. Hmmmm not such a great idea, as yes although it did perk me up I did notice I felt a bit jittery after a while and I definitely wouldn’t want to drink this before going to bed, but then why would you drink an energy drink before bed. Lesson number 1…read the bottle!!!
If like me you’re a bit of an ingredients fiend, you may well notice that there is no mention of ginger within the ingredients list, strange when that’s the main flavour. I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly have a problem with sweeteners, especially when they’re natural ones like those featured in these Brain Füd drinks, but I am concerned when a natural drink has a long list of ingredients – this one has 11! To me, natural usually means less and when there are words I can barely even pronounce, it does set my alarm bells ringing.
So here’s the deal, I’m not entirely convinced these are the healthiest drinks on the planet, but and this is a great big ginormous BUT, they are way, way, way better than other leading energy drinks currently on the market, which are also packed full of tonnes of sugar, artificial preservatives and heaps of other nasty stuff. If you’re not very good at drinking water, and let’s face it not many of us are, you don’t like hot drinks like coffee, but still need that morning pick me up to kick start your day, then these are the drinks for you.
Brain Füd is available to buy from Amazon and Ocado.
*Product gifted for review.