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8 Energy Drinks with the Lowest Quality Ingredients

You may want to get your caffeine fix elsewhere.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but energy drinks are not very good for your health. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, these beverages can have myriad negative health effects, including "heart rhythm disturbances and increases in heart rate and blood pressure… [and] anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems, and dehydration." Often loaded with caffeine and sugar, as well as ingredients like guarana (a source of additional caffeine) and taurine, which can cause blood pressure issues for some people, per Web MD.

Like almost anything, if they're consumed only on occasion—and not at a time of day when they will affect sleep and not mixed with alcohol, which can cause a raft of other problems—energy drinks are not that big of a deal. But if you do choose to imbibe the occasional energy drink, you may want to eschew the eight we're covering here today, because they are made with low-quality ingredients.


Full Throttle

Full throttle
Full Throttle

The Original Full Throttle energy drink is one of the least healthy and cheaply made options out there. A 16-ounce can is simply packed with sugar: One serving contains a staggering 58 grams, which is twice as much sugar as an adult woman should have in an entire day and 22 more grams than an adult man should have, via Harvard Health.



rockstar punched energy drink

When you have no idea what most of the ingredients in food or beverage are, it's probably a good idea to skip it. In the case of Rockstar, the eighth and ninth ingredients are both preservatives, and 10 of the 13 remaining ingredients will mystify almost anyone who is not an actual food scientist.



monster energy

Monster Energy is packed with almost as much sugar as Full Throttle (it has 54 grams to Full Throttle's 58) and 160 milligrams of caffeine, which is more than all but the strongest cup of coffee. It's also loaded with preservatives and chemicals, like D-Glucuronolactone and Sucralose.


Mountain Dew Game Fuel

Mountain Dew Game Fuel
Courtesy of Mountain Dew

This beverage may position itself as an energy and acuity supplement designed for the modern gamer, but it's really just a soda loaded up with extra artificial ingredients. The first few ingredients of this drink are the same as a basic Mountain Dew soda, but then, according to Pepsico Beverage Facts, it's packed with things like sucrose aceto isobutyrate, an artificial food emulsifier, per Live Strong.



Courtesy of NOS Drinks

NOS, an energy drink made by the Coca-Cola Company, features a load of high fructose corn syrup, two kinds of artificial color, three kinds of preservatives, and frankly no ingredient of any redeeming value. It's also packed with 220 calories per can, which is another reason to avoid it.


Rip It

Rip It
Courtesy of Rip It Energy

With all due respect to members (or veterans of) the USMC, of whom Rip It is a favorite, this is a cheaper energy drink because it is a cheaply made energy drink. Rip It is widely distributed to members of the armed forces and is often sold stateside for only a dollar a can, per Thrillist, which is very inexpensive for an energy drink indeed. We don't mind low prices, but in this case, that translates to cheap ingredients.



Courtesy of C4 Energy

With its proprietary "Carnosyn® Beta-Alanine" (which is supposed to help with muscle fatigue and strength building) aside, C4 Energy Drink is mostly filled with cheap ingredients. These include things like citric acid, potassium sorbate (that's a preservative), sucralose (an artificial sugar replacement), and acesulfame potassium (that's another fake sweetener).

RELATEDWhat Happens to Your Gut When You Drink Energy Drinks


Redline Princess RTD

Redline Princess RTD
Courtesy of Bang Energy

Disregard the fact that this energy drink, which posits itself as a "Mood, Energy & Fat Loss Matrix" directed at women, is underpinned by a remarkable amount of sexist marketing. Instead, just note its calcium disodium EDTA (which can lead to mineral deficiencies and is also found in detergent), sucralose, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate. Oh, and lest we forget, Redline Princess also contains a massive dose of caffeine, because of course it does.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven