A few weeks ago I wrote about Bang energy drinks and their health effects. When compared to other energy drinks it had them beat because it had no added sugar. But I was asked an interesting question. How does Bang compare to sugar free varieties of other energy drink companies?
We’re going to look at zero calorie products by Monster and Red Bull. But before we compare, I did want to address a few things about these drinks even though they’re sugar free.
Artificial sweeteners and other issues
As we’ve mentioned in the past, artificial sweeteners may not be the best way to reduce calories. Some research suggests that they may also contribute to weight gain. There is also evidence that some people may be sensitive to artificial sweeteners and suffer side effects. Aspartame has been noted to induce depression or headaches in some sensitive people.
These drinks also pose some issues when it comes to dental health. In reference to our earlier Bang article, a friend of mine, who is a dental hygienist, pointed out that all of these drinks are extremely acidic. These sweet and sour type drinks have contributed to the increased of dental erosions seen in the US. For example, the zero calorie Red Bull and Monster drinks have a pH of about 3 while coffee has a pH of about 5.
These drinks should be consumed in moderation. Partaking every once in awhile is unlikely to be a detriment to your health. But if you start to rely on any energy drink as a replacement for good sleep, you’ve left moderation behind.
Bang, Red Bull Sugar Free, and Monster Absolutely Zero
But let’s get down to what you’re probably reading for. What’s in these zero calorie drinks and which one is the best? The truth is, because of the reasons above, none can truly be “best.” But depending on what you’re looking to partake in, on occasion, any one of these may work for you.
Band Power Punch
Bang, by far, has the most caffeine. At 300 mg this borders on a healthy dose and could lead to anxiety, jitters, digestive problems, and even heart burn if consumed rapidly. It also contains some brain focused amino acids, super creatine, and CoQ10. These are intended to increase mental focus, but their quantities may be too low to have an effect.
It’s vitamin contents are also low compared to the others in the post. Vitamin C, B3, B6, B12, and magnesium all fall bellow half the daily recommended amount. While you shouldn’t be getting all your vitamins from energy drinks, these levels do not make Bang a good supplementation source. But this may be a positive when it comes to sodium. It contains nearly 4 times less sodium than the other two at 40 mg.
Red Bull Sugar Free 12 oz
Sugar Free Red Bull has the lowest amount of caffeine on our list. The 12 oz can has 114 mg, which is a little more than a cup of coffee. It also has the fewest number of ingredients, if your goal is simplicity. This Red Bull contains Taurine, an amino acid, at quantities higher than Bang’s amino acids.
It packs the vitamins in with most being above 100% recommended daily value. Vitamin B3, B6, and B12 are all above 100% and are associated with neurologic function, among other things. It’s sodium is at 150 mg, quite a bit higher than Bang.
If you’re watching your carbs, you might be surprised to learn that this Red Bull has 4 grams of carbs. The same is true for Monster Absolutely Zero but not Bang. Bang has zero carbs.
Monster Absolutely Zero
Monster Absolutely Zero contains 140 mg of caffeine which is middle of the road for our list today. But the nutritional label on this drink may be a little misleading. It has 2 servings per 16 oz can. Not many people drink half and save it for later. Like Red Bull, it also contains Taurine and other amino acids. But it also includes some other natural extracts like ginseng and guarana for some energy boosting benefits.
Vitamins B2, B3, B6, and B12 are all at 100% for this Monster. However, it’s sodium content might make you shy away. At 2 servings per can, you can expect 380 mg if you drink the whole can. This is about 15% of your daily recommended intake, all from one drink.
Drinking a zero calorie energy drink every once-in-a-while is not likely to cause major health problems. But remember, moderation is key. Repeated, over-consumption can disrupt your sleep, cause jitters or anxiety, and take a toll on your teeth.