Bear in mind as you read this that I'm not a fan of energy drinks. When a friend handed me a Red Bull at a conference I took one sip and gagged. They just simply aren't my taste. So when I got the box with some efusjon drinks in it I was skeptical at best. A friend of mine tried two before I would try one. I still can't say I'd rather have any energy drink over a coca-cola, but at least now I've found one I like and can recommend. The key for me here is make sure it's cold! A warm energy drink is almost as bad as a warm cola or warm water out of an old metal canteen.
I received two of the efusjon drinks for testing: the Edge and the Raw. The Raw was in a purple can; the Edge a black can (shown above right). (I don't know why this differs from the pictures available on the website. I merely report on what I got) Both have lettering that say "lightly carbonated" and "low calorie". The Edge also has "WITH CAFFEINE" clearly marked. The Raw is caffeine free. Everyone knows that caffeine gives your system a boost of energy, acting as a temporary stimulant. It's no surprise then that many energy drinks depend on high levels of caffeine to be effective. One such energy drink has almost three times more caffeine than Mountain Dew and THAT'S a lot of caffeine.
Taking a closer look at the Raw (caffeine free) version, I found this nutritional info on the back:
- Calories: 60 (0 from fat)
- Carbohydrate: 15g
- Sugar: 15g Vitamin A: 25% (of recommended daily allowance based on a 2,000 calorie diet)
- Vitamin C: 250%
- Vitamin E: 100%
- Nicacin: 50%
- Vitamin B6: 125%
- Vitamin B12: 125%
- Pantholanic acid: 50%
- Riboflavin: 50%
- Thiamin: 50%
- Folic acid: 100%
- Blotin: 50%
- Selenium: 100%
The ingredients list (simplified) shows that this drink contains water, fructose, fruit juice, and fruit extracts as well as citric acid. On the side of the can it says, "The all natural antioxidant/energy drink you have been looking for is finally here." The all natural part was why I looked at the ingredients. I don't see anything artificial listed.
The caffinated Edge version has 80 calories as compared to 60 for the Raw. Both tasted pretty much like grape juice - which is why I stress drinking them cold. Warm grape juice just reminds me of communion - not cooling refreshment.
Doing some online research and talking to a few nutritionists I know revealed that the Vitamin B ingredients were the most likely to give the drinks their longer lasting energy boosting characteristics. The sugars would be the shorter term energy boosting ingredient.
So, how did they work? Well, I'm the guy who drinks two 12oz cups of coffee each day to get started. After that, sometime in the day, I'll have a Coca Cola. There's not much other caffeine in my diet, and I didn't really want to add any, so I had to schedule that one in. The Raw (caffeine free) was easier and replaced my mid-morning fruit juice. It was tasty; not overly syrupy (the light carbonation helps with that I think); and left me with no weird after-tastes or sour stomach later that day.
On a weekend I decided to drink the Edge (caffinated) before going for a five mile walk (force march / hump) and wanted some time for it to get into my system. So, I drank it about an hour before I went for my walk and did my best to pay attention to how I felt as far as energy levels. One thing I did notice is that my calves didn't seem as stressed as I finished the last mile. Obviously I don't know if I can attribute that to the efusjon Edge, but it was the first time I noticed it. When I was done I did feel like I could have gone some more (but I wasn't quite motivated enough to actually go do it again).
The feedback I've gotten from the others that I've shared the drinks with is that they do provide an energy boost and they do taste better than "normal" drinks.