Published by: Dalton Moore
A wise man named Ronnie Coleman - the greatest bodybuilder of all time - once said, "everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights." Absolute legend.
Likewise, everyone wants to be successful, but nobody wants to wake up at the crack of dawn.
I get it:
Waking up early is essential, but it sucks too. Who wants to get out of their warm bed to start their day when they can hit snooze and go back to sleep?
Whether you're rising at the crack of dawn to hit the gym, studying in the library for a test at the last minute, pulling an all-nighter on Xbox with your friends, or working the graveyard shift for the fourth night in a row, you're bound to feel tired, low on energy and possibly, miserable at some point.
That's where energy drinks come in - many use these sugary cans of goodness to get them through the day. And although they're delicious, most energy drinks are something you should only have once in a while.
Between harmful chemicals you can't pronounce, tons of low-quality caffeine, not to mention a boatload of sugar, most energy drinks do more harm than good.
But not all energy drinks were created equal. Some energy drinks like Early Bird are made with natural and healthy ingredients proven to be good for your body and mind.
I've spent several years reading, learning, and testing different energy drinks to pursue a healthy way to wake up every morning feeling great and ready to take on the day without crashing in the afternoon.
In this post, you're going to learn about the best energy drinks and everything inside. There's a lot to like about healthy energy drinks, and a lot more to watch out for when it comes to their unhealthy counterparts. From energy drink nutrition to their red flags, it's all in this post.
Let's dive in:
There are three reasons why you feel like crap in the morning - and fixing these issues is the best way to wake up early feeling great for the rest of your day.
Here they are:
Overnight, you lose about a pound of water while breathing, which is why you wake up dehydrated. Early morning dehydration makes it quite hard for you (and your body) to wake up properly.
Water first thing in the morning helps, but we discover something that supercharges hydration… more on that soon.
You need energy for both your brain and body to wake up feeling ready to start the day. Waking up without giving your body energy is like trying to jumpstart a car that's been in the cold all night. The car itself is fine, but it needs a bit of a boost to get going.
Your brain goes offline overnight and needs a boost to get going, as does your body, which is stagnant all night long.
Some energy drinks nail the fast-acting energy part of the equation but fall flat on their face when it comes to long-lasting energy that keeps you moving throughout the day.
Giving your body both fast-acting and long-lasting energy is the key to wake up motivated, and stay that way throughout the day.
Ever started your day by bashing your head against a wall five times fast? Probably not - that'd ruin your mood.
Your morning mood has been shown to affect the rest of your day. If you want to have a great day and get sh*t done, you have to nail your morning mood.
That's why including a mood enhancement supplement first thing in the morning is key to feeling great all day long.
The EarlyBird Morning Cocktail is made with the perfect combo of 3 Nootropic Blends that give you energy, motivation, and EXACTLY what your body (and brain) need to make your mornings AWESOME... You'll wake up easily, EVERY SINGLE DAY!
That's why Wake Up Early and Get Sh*t Done is the Early Bird mantra.
The EarlyBird Morning Cocktail
EarlyBird is designed to do one thing and one thing only: help you wake up early and get sh*t done by giving your body and brain everything they need to have a kick-ass day!
After mixing with water in a shaker cup, EarlyBird makes use of a nootropic blend designed to hydrate you, make you feel good, and deliver fast-acting, long-lasting energy. It's definitely the best energy drink mix on the market.
Here are some of the ingredients in EarlyBird:
With zero sugar or calories and a bunch of ingredients from fruits and vegetables, EarlyBird is THE morning supplement. Simply mix with water in your shaker cup the night before, and leave it on your nightstand before bed.
Unlike Monster and Red Bull, EarlyBird is designed to give your body exactly what it needs most to feel great all day long.
EarlyBird is the best non-carbonated energy drink on the market. It's also an energy drink powder mix, so it's cheaper and more convenient than regular energy drinks.
In the morning, wake up, shake, and drink. You'll feel better almost instantly! You can even use Early Bird during your night shift.
When you think about energy drinks, brands like Monster, Red Bull, 5-hour Energy, and Rockstar probably come to mind. Huge companies with even larger marketing budgets.
Unfortunately, those drinks also happen to be terrible for you, especially when consumed on a regular basis. They're packed with sugar and caffeine which, according to Healthline, will increase blood pressure, heart rate, and will lead to a severe crash later in the day.
We ranked our energy drinks based on calories, sugar, and if they don't have either, we used carb content.
With that being said, let's take a look at the best healthy energy drinks on the market in 2020:
EBOOST Super Fuel is a tasty, non-GMO energy drink that will keep you awake all day long. Although it doesn't compare to EarlyBird, EBOOST is the best you're gonna get from a standard energy drink in can form.
It was mentioned in BevNET's "Best New Products" of 2019, and has a ton of essential vitamins/minerals - it's free of artificial sweeteners as well. It has some nootropics too, which aid brain function and uses electrolytes to help with hydration.
It's sugar-free, but has a decent amount of caffeine per serving, coming in at 100mg of natural caffeine, derived from botanicals. Still, it's one of the best energy drinks to stay awake all day on the market.
The EarlyBird Morning Cocktail
Known as the official energy drink of E-sports, Gfuel is quite popular among gamers. It's priced well, around $36 for ~40 servings, which is on the cheap side for energy drinks in general (roughly $1 per drink).
However, this powdered energy mix is packed with caffeine, coming in at 150mg per serving, nearly double that of a Red Bull.
Although it may be good for some, those with lower caffeine consumption habits (and consequently, lower caffeine tolerance) may find the drink overwhelming.
Rather than being able to focus, you may end up tweaking out. If you're a regular caffeine user, this supplement is for you - otherwise, I'd opt for an energy drink that won't give you the jitters (check out our post on the best energy drinks for gaming if you want more information.)
On the bright side, Gfuel is sugar-free, so you won't have to worry about a blood sugar spike followed by a crash, aka a rollercoaster of energy.
Zevia Energy is a great choice for students who want to study. With 120mg of caffeine, no sugar and zero calories, Zevia gets the job done.
For more information about studying in the morning without getting tired, and being more productive in college, check out our posts!
According to Dr. Mike Roussell, Ph.D., nutrition expert, and co-founder of Neuro coffee, it's important to keep an eye out for high levels of caffeine in sugar in energy drinks, both of which have detrimental health effects when consumed (especially on a regular basis).
Here are the things to look for in an energy drink, and how we ranked our picks for the best energy drinks on the market:
Energy drinks affect your body in a variety of ways thanks to a bunch of different chemicals/ingredients.
According to How Stuff Works, here are some of the most common ingredients in energy drinks:
Despite many energy drinks' advertising saying otherwise, sugar and caffeine are responsible for the majority of the energy boost you feel after downing a can.
When caffeine enters your bloodstream and makes its way to your brain, adenosine - a chemical that makes you feel tired, involved in sleep - is prevented from binding with your brain's receptors. This blockage causes brain neurons to go off, and your body goes into fight or flight mode.
Then, it releases adrenaline, causing your heart rate to increase, and makes your eyes dilate. Your liver will also send more sugar to your bloodstream for a quick energy boost.
Lastly, caffeine boosts your dopamine levels, which is why drinking coffee, energy drinks, etc. can become addicting. All of these things make you feel as though you have more energy for a short while.
Unfortunately, the caffeine-induced adrenaline spike will soon wear off, alongside a steep decline in blood sugar levels, causing you to crash later in the day.
This sudden drop off in alertness might make you crave more caffeine, which isn't a sustainable solution to feeling tired.
Instead, it's best to eat right, exercise often, and get plenty of sleep. Eating healthy, complex carbohydrates is another way to give your body sustained energy throughout the day without the crash, as opposed to simple carbs and sugars that spike your energy levels, followed by a crash.
The EarlyBird Morning Cocktail
Most energy drinks will keep you awake - the question is how long will the "energy" last and what happens after your body has processed the energy drink.
Most energy drinks are loaded with caffeine, the active ingredient that keeps you alert and awake.
According to Interesting Engineering, adenosine is the chemical in your brain that makes you feel drowsy and tired.
Caffeine keeps you awake and gives you "energy" by blocking your adenosine receptors, preventing you from feeling sleepy.
Combined with caffeine's ability to trigger 'feel-good' chemicals, it's no wonder why people love caffeine in coffee, tea, and energy drinks as a way to stay awake all day (or night) long.
However, some energy drinks like Monster Redline are loaded with too much caffeine, which can have negative consequences, according to Healthline.
In addition, most energy drinks are also packed with sugar, which isn't good for you at all.
First of all, once your body processes the sugar you'll crash soon after, usually within an hour or two of downing the energy drink.
Despite seeking an energy boost, your sugar crash could actually lead to an energy crash, leaving you worse off than before.
On top of that, sugar is bad for your overall health in general, and regularly having too much sugar can cause a plethora of health issues like obesity, greater risk of heart disease, and some cancers, just to name a few.
If you are going to have energy drinks regularly, opt for brands with little to no sugar per serving.
If you're downing an energy drink to study all night or because you have a long drive ahead, caffeine alone may not cut it.
Sure, it'll give you a temporary boost of energy, but you also want to make sure your brain has everything it needs to be alert, focused, and in a good mood.
Lastly, energy supplements - whether it's coffee, tea, or an energy drink - are not replacements for adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. You can't treat your body like crap, down an energy drink, and expect to fire on all cylinders.
Think about it this way:
You wouldn't put crappy gasoline in a luxury sports car, so why would you treat your body any differently?
Using energy drinks as a substitute for sleep and a healthy lifestyle is a recipe for disaster.
However, if you take care of your body and get plenty of sleep, energy drinks like EarlyBird are a great way to kickstart your morning, wake up early and get sh*t done!
When evaluating an energy drink, taking a look at its caffeine content is usually a good barometer of its potency and effectiveness.
But don't try to drink more caffeine than your body can handle, especially if you don't have it regularly.
Drinking too much caffeine can give you jitters and headaches, among other things. Your discomfort from the caffeine overload will definitely make you feel worse than before.
Most energy drinks give you a quick boost of energy followed by a crash. Early Bird, on the other hand, uses caffeine from green coffee beans to give you fast-acting, long-lasting energy without the crash.
Rather than going for a drink like Monster Redline that may have 300mg of caffeine per serving (3x a cup of coffee), go for an energy drink with other ingredients that promote focus, mental clarity, hydration, etc.
This way, you can stay awake all day (or night) without going overboard in the caffeine department.
Coffee and tea are two of the most popular drinks around the world. Though largely dependent on brewing time, technique, serving size, and more, coffee often has double the caffeine as the same amount of tea.
The average cup of coffee has nearly 100mg of caffeine, whereas a cup of black tea (the most popular type of tea worldwide) has around 47mg.
Most people can safely have 400mg of caffeine per day maximum, and when your consumption levels are below that threshold, many studies have associated plenty of health benefits with the world's favorite stimulant.
But is there a difference between coffee, tea, and energy drinks' impact on energy?
Tea has less caffeine than coffee but it also has a lot of L-theanine, an antioxidant that stimulates your brain (Early Bird also makes use of L-theanine).
According to Healthline, L-theanine provides anti-stress effects by increasing your brain's alpha waves, leading to a calm, relaxed feeling.
Counteracting the stimulating effects of caffeine, you'll have an alert mind without feeling drowsy later on. This is why some think tea provides a smoother energy boost than coffee.
Coffee gives you an energy boost by boosting dopamine levels and blocking adenosine as we mentioned previously.
Dopamine is responsible for your heart rate increase and the jittery feeling from drinking too much coffee - it also affects your reward system, which is why caffeine/coffee can become addictive.
Unlike tea, your body absorbs 99% of coffee's caffeine within 45 minutes of consumption, but blood concentrations are at their highest within 15 minutes of consumption, which is why many prefer a cup of Joe when they need a quick pick me up.
Typical energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar are probably the least healthy out of the three because of their excessive levels of sugar. These mainstream energy drinks are glorified cans of soda with way more caffeine and different marketing.
Sure, they have caffeine and will help you stay awake temporarily, but the sugar will inevitably lead to a crash and when consumed regularly, aren't good for you whatsoever. Just like you shouldn't drink coke every day, you shouldn't drink sugary energy drinks on a regular basis either.
But that doesn't mean all energy drinks are bad - in fact, Early Bird combines the benefits of coffee and tea into one awesome way to wake up early feeling great.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health:
"Energy drinks are widely promoted as products that increase energy and enhance mental alertness and physical performance. Next to multivitamins, energy drinks are the most popular dietary supplement consumed by American teens and young adults. Men between the ages of 18 and 34 years consume the most energy drinks, and almost one-third of teens between 12 and 17 years drink them regularly."
In other words, an energy drink gives you the feeling of having more energy via caffeine, vitamin, and mineral boosts. Most energy drinks, unfortunately, are unhealthy though, because they're packed with way too much sugar, caffeine, and sometimes harmful chemicals. Many energy drinks have taurine, ginseng, caffeine, and B vitamins.
Drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are sports drinks that aim to hydrate you via electrolytes, which help to supercharge hydration.
Conversely, most energy drinks (aside from Early Bird) draw hydration from the body, which ends up dehydrating you.
Although a sports drink may be a great way to quench your thirst after an intense workout or sporting event, water is always the best thing for your body (this goes without saying in pretty much any situation.)
A sports drink is typically packed with electrolytes to hydrate your body, while an energy drink typically uses caffeine and other ingredients to make you feel energized, awake, and alert.
Since energy drinks are in liquid form, they're absorbed by your esophagus, throat, and stomach pretty quickly, especially when compared to food.
You should feel the effects of caffeine in about 10 to 15 minutes, but the vitamins and minerals from the drink will take far longer to absorb into your bloodstream and make their way to your brain.
This is how drinks like Early Bird provide fast-acting, long-lasting energy. The initial burst of energy comes from the caffeine entering your bloodstream, followed by an extended-release of other vitamins over the course of four to six hours.
I'm assuming you're a young (below 55) healthy person with a healthy weight and no underlying health conditions like diabetes or heart disease. If that's the case, you can have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which usually equates to about 2-4 drinks per day.
But there's more than just caffeine in an energy drink - for one thing, having more than a single drink each day will likely mean sugar overload unless you're drinking a sugar-free option like Early Bird.
You also need to watch out for an overload of B vitamins commonly found in energy drinks, added to give energy throughout the day. 100-300mg of B vitamins in a single day is entering dangerous territory.
Even if you are healthy, there have been plenty of young Americans ages 12 to 17 admitted to emergency rooms for energy drink-related health emergencies in 2007 according to the CDC - some 1,145, to be exact.
Drinking a standard energy drink every day isn't a good idea for your health in the first place, but if you're going to, limit it to just one a day to be on the safe side.
If you're a few cans deep and start getting fidgety, you've had enough.
Drinks like Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, and Full Throttle are some of the most popular - and unhealthy - energy drinks on the market.
Having the drink once in a while won't hurt you if you like their taste, but even then I'd avoid them. Considering their insanely high sugar content among other things, they're not a healthy choice and will likely do more harm than good.
Cocaine - no, not the kind you snort, although I wouldn't recommend using that type for energy either. There is an energy drink called cocaine, that has triple the caffeine of a can of Red Bull. Especially for those with heart conditions, a can of this stuff could be lethal if consumed too quickly, or at all.
Full Throttle, 5-hour energy, and VPX Redline are also pretty bad choices. More info on the most dangerous energy drinks here.
From the standpoint of caffeine intake, one energy drink a day should be okay if you're below the 400 mg threshold.
According to a Mayo Clinic dietitian, Katherine Zeratsky, "Healthy adults who choose to drink energy drinks should not exceed one can per day." But there are many other factors to consider.
There's a big difference between drinking Monster every day and drinking Early Bird in the morning.
Many energy drinks have chemicals in addition to caffeine - stimulants - that can raise heart rate, increase blood pressure, make you restless, give you the jitters, increase anxiety and insomnia, etc.
Generally speaking, I'd avoid mainstream energy drinks like Monster, 5-hour energy, Red Bull, etc. on a daily basis.
It depends on what you mean by "better."
According to Spoon University:
"A Starbucks grande Caffe Americano (16 oz) has 225 mg of caffeine and a Red Bull can (8 oz) has 80 mg."
However, some energy drinks might have more caffeine than coffee, especially large cans with "extra energy." Most healthy adults can have 400 mg of caffeine per day maximum, so keep that in mind.
Unlike energy drinks, coffee also has one main ingredient: coffee beans. Energy drinks, on the other hand, have a ton of added ingredients like artificial colors and flavors, B vitamins, taurine, etc.
Most energy drinks are also loaded with sugar - even if you add a few scoops of sugar to your coffee and a splash of milk, it's usually less than a typical can of Red Bull.
If you're to choose between Red Bull and a regular cup of coffee, coffee is a better alternative. But if you want a healthy alternative to coffee, join Club Early Bird so you can wake up early and get sh*t done without the crash!
If you're about to study, work late, or take the graveyard shift, I recommend having your energy drink 5-10 minutes before starting. You'll start to feel the effects immediately and they should last for an hour or two.
Drinking an energy drink first thing in the morning, however, may lead to a short burst of energy followed by a crash later in the day. Instead, drinking a supplement like Early Bird is a better option first thing in the morning, as you'll get a quick burst of fast-acting energy that lasts throughout the day, without the crash, not to mention hydration and mood enhancement!
The EarlyBird Morning Cocktail