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Energy Drinks to Replace Coffee as America's Pick Me Up?

Posted by Ben S.

Coffee has long held a monopoly over other caffeinated beverages, but now it's facing strong competition from an increase in demand and sales of energy drinks. Consumers are starting to ask: Which is better?, Which is healthier?, and of course Which will give me the most energy?

Coffee is the original energy booster, containing enough caffeine to lift our energy levels and help jumpstart our days. Coffee goods are the second hottest item in the world market owing to these positive effects. Most of us feel as if we can not function without our morning companion; I know I can't go a full day without my Starbucks. But recent alternatives are tempting and getting more popular. Many friends of mine have done the trade-off and now require a Red Bull in the afternoon. I've been thinking of making the switch, so I did a little research.

I decided to compare my Starbucks favorite, Iced White Chocolate Mocha, to my choice energy drink, Red Bull (I included regular coffee as a 'control'.


Grande Caffe Mocha

Red Bull

Coffee, brewed from grounds






340 c

115 c

2 c

Total Fat

9 g




15 mg




190 mg

214 mg


Total Carb.

55 g

28 g


Dietary Fiber





52 g




10 g




150 mg

76.5 mg

94.8 mg

Vitamin A
























Vitamin B6



Vitamin B12




Pantothenic Acid




So what does this mean? I know that calories are bad, but what about all the other stuff? Which of these drinks is the healthier choice and why?

Answers (53)
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Ugh, if my only choices were coffee and red bull, I'd be one cranky person, as I hate both. Coffee has always given me heart palpitations and I can't stand all the sugar (or fake stuff) in Red Bull. I used to drink green tea instead (unsweetened) which I found to be a great pick-me up but about three months ago I started taking a combination of Protein Extreme energy and Maxodrin (both are all natural with no caffeine or artifical stimulants) and now I find that I don't need to drink green tea anymore. In fact, if I do I feel jittery, because my energy baseline is so high anyways. I'm not sure exactly how the products work, but the website says they're supposed to energize your cells - whatever that means. has anyone else tried these things or know why/how they work?
I'm gonna go with sugar free redbull. less calories and sugar. Plus u get the b vitamins. I know eating veggies and fruit are good natural ways to get energy. But sometimes i just need that little extra pick me up
I see Starbucks now offers a coffee/energy combo drink. And we all know what's happening to them... I'm holding strong - coffee will remain on top! (At least for me.)

Coffee is not bad. The additives we tend to put in it however add calories, fat, sugar, carbs and sodium to our diets that we don't need, and drinking these things does not fill us up like a small meal would, though one of these energy drinks easily contains the calories equivalent to that of a small meal. It's like putting butter on everything. It adds stuff that's not good for you to your diet without you really feeling it, which can also lead to weight gain.

Water is ALWAYS best. Being dehydrated makes you tired, so increase your water intake and for an energy boost that won't make you crash later, eat an apple! It contains simple sugars, as apposed to the refined sugars you will find in your energy drinks or specialty coffees.

If you simply can't go without coffee, drink it black. A cup of black coffee contains the caffeine you crave, without all the extra calories, etc, while having the same antioxidant benefit as a cup of tea.

i would just pick water to drink
Coffee is good; I love it, but not the over the top nervous buzz it can cause if one consumes too much. How about a reasonable alternative? I've found a great drink from South America called Yerba Mate. It has a bit of caffeine, but more than that it provides a decent lift and feeling of vitality. I don't always need it, but when I do, it is the answer for me. You can find it in various products in the natural tea section of your favorite store. My favorite product is Guayaki. They are a "Fair Trade" distributor that buys its product from growers in Argentina. Check out their web site at One bottle is two servings, so don't be fooled by the price. Each serving is about $1.75 and only has about 70 MG of caffeine per serving. It is organic, full of antioxidants and by my experience, a great tasting drink.Give it a try. Folks at Stanford can find it in the drink cooler in the cafeteria at the Clark Center. Be well, Ken

I enjoy LiftOff! Energy Drink:

0 Calories

75 mg Caffeine

60 mg Vitamin C

as well as Herbal Concentrate (a unique Green Tea blend), which only has 5 Calories and 85 mg of Caffeine.

Here are the labels:

Feel free to contact me for more information!

There is research that shows an apple, has the same "lifting" benefits that a cup of coffee has without the caffeine. I worry about all the "added goodies" that people put in. The problem is it may kill your appetite, but the nutritional benefits derived from artificial sweetners or sugar perhaps are not your best choice first thing in the morning.

I liken it to a gas tank, appropriate fuel for the appropriate tank and well, I don't think coffee alone with a bunch of added stuff that includes alot of simple sugars in the best way to go first thing in the morning.

I drink a cup of coffee each morning. I don't drink it for the energy, I drink it for the taste. I have a lot of friends who live off of of energy drinks and caffeine. I used to be one those people. Since giving up diet sodas and energy drinks, I have more energy than I could have ever imagined.

When you treat your body right, I have found that you don't need caffeine to get going.

I'll stick to my sumatra drip tastes way better than the Energy Drink offerings. Personally, I think they taste horrible...similar to a dose of robitussin cough syrup. blech.

I agree with Kimberly - can't be good for you.

Enerygy drink is... soooo bad for your body though... and it is really addictive >_< The boost is really short and left body an exausted feeling. First hand experience, my friends and I have to drink boxes of boxes of red bull to stay awake during a four day in house math contest... the after effect is sooo bad and it really doesn't help with the brain at all. It keeps your body awake but messes with your nerve system. We later had to switch to Diet Coke, better, but still pretty bad.
Energy drink is the devil!!!
I feel like if you are comparing plain coffee, with maybe a small bit of cane sugar and milk, you are drinking an ancient and plain beverage. The energy drinks are like cigarettes -- you don't even know what is added! The flavorings, the extra caffeine, chemicals, colorings... it's a chemistry set in a glass. I go with natural all the time.

I actually drink an energy drink called Crave in the morining instead of coffee. It doesnt give me bad breath or yellow teeth. It uses stevia instead of aspertame, and I'm actually a huge fan of it. If you're interested check it out.

I do love coffee myself, and usually have this as a treat in the morning. The problem is, the effect normally only lasts until noon for me. By that time, I feel like I am ready for a nap. I stare at the computer for my work, just fighting those eyes to completely shut down. I have never been this tired before, but I amsure several other factors contribute to it. I have been able to find a solution, as an alternative to the unhealthy effects of abusing the intake of caffeine into our bodies. I take OHM (for mental focus and energy), in combination with EXO (an antioxidant), as part of my daily regimen. Both are in a gel form, so they are very convenient since I can take them anywhere, they taste good, and easily absorbed by the body. These are also supplements that do not contain harmful stimulants existing in other products in the market. Of course, the effects on each person will vary just like with anything.
The true energy drink is green tea. It is healthy, undepleting, and is a powerful antioxidant! Some experts claim that by replacing coffee with green tea, people can lose up to 15 pounds without doing anything else!
Blech. I think energy drinks are generally grosser than gross, and I can't imagine that they're exceptionally healthy for you. I also stay away from coffee in general because it makes me jittery. I'm all about green tea and lots of water. Someone else mentioned the importance of making sure you don't get dehydrated, and I say ditto to that. I don't really understand what the obsession with energy drinks is, anyway--I think that a balanced diet with plenty of exercise should be enough to make you feel energized.
1. A Red Draw (not bull) is beer and tomato juice. 2. I would hardly call Red Bull and energy drink - but whatever. Energy drink to me says fruit juice. Coffee is not going to go away. It's too tasty and too efficient!
To be frank, if you're eating properly, sleeping enough and exercising, you shouldn't "need" any sort of pick-me-up. We are overachievers here in America, and no one seems happy unless they're multi-tasking 18 different things at once. Slow down. Enjoy the moment. Get quality sleep, food and exercise. Ditch the chemicals.
So many of those drinks taste like children's flu medicine. I hate them. I drink coffee drinks with a water chaser -- so as not to get dehydrated. Now, if I am really in the doledrums and not carb concious, I will have a nice glass of fresh squeezed juice. That's not to say I won't also toss back a vitamin, too! I just hate all the fake flavors and chemicals of energy drinks. When I was little and Ron Popeil was on tv all the time, in my head, I invented caffeinated orange juice! I knew way back when that people would want a pick up without the fake taste.
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