For years now, there have been the standard energy drinks on the market that, from what I’ve understood, are to replenish your electrolytes that can be depleted while working out.

Now there are a whole slew of health and fitness drinks that are marketed as being “healthy”. They probably have a wide appeal to those who want an alternative to soda, however are they truly healthy?

In one of my previous posts I wrote about crystalline fructose after my college professor showed me his health drink and asked me what crystalline fructose was (I had been talking to the class about high fructose corn syrup). I had never heard of crystalline fructose, so I did some research on it.

What I found is that it is made up of a higher percentage of fructose than even high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is. Fructose gets processed completely in the liver, and when your diet contains enough of it, you can end up with a fatty liver, as well as cirrhosis.

Another issue is the fact that we now know that fructose does not shut off the hunger signals in your brain. Your body doesn’t “see” the fructose, so you keep eating since your brain doesn’t get the signal that you’re full. I learned this in the book “You On A Diet regarding the topic of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Yes, that is a different name than “crystalline fructose”, however crystalline fructose contains a higher percentage of fructose than even HFCS does. It is still fructose, it still gets processed through your liver, and in my head, it would follow that the crystalline fructose would also interfere with the hunger signals in your brain.

Don’t you sometimes reach for a beverage when you are actually hungry, because you want to fill yourself up a bit before eating? Well, the fructose isn’t going to help your hunger, it can actually increase it because your brain won’t get the signal that you are full. Imagine if you drink one of these beverages with a meal. So what if the meal doesn’t contain crystalline fructose (or HFCS), you’re getting it in the beverage! It stands to reason that your brain would still think that you are hungry, thus you would likely overeat on the meal that you’re having with that “health” beverage.

After doing the research I learned that crystalline fructose tends to show up in so-called “health” drinks, which makes sense why I hadn’t heard of it before; I drink plain water and only a little soda (I used to be “addicted” to Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, that’s another topic, though). I went to the grocery store yesterday to do some more research on these “health” drinks and to find which ones contain crystalline fructose. Additionally, I’ve also done some research online so that you can easily view their full ingredients if you wish to.

Each of these 23 drinks contains more than 4 ingredients, however I have listed only the first 4 because these are the main ingredients of any product. All of these contain crystalline fructose, and some even have the added benefit of the “natural flavor” ingredient that I recently wrote about. I have indicated specific flavors for numbers 2, 12, and 18 because these brands also have flavors that do not contain crystalline fructose.

You can find the complete list of ingredients for each if you search by their name on BevNET and then click on their respective “nutrition info” tab. I’ve included direct links to the more popular brands (or, at least the ones that I’ve heard of 😉 ):

1. Cytomax Sport Drink – Purified water, maltodextrin, crystalline fructose, dextrose
2. FUZE HEALTHY INFUZIONS [Orange Mango – focus] – filtered water, crystalline fructose, orange juice concentrate, mango puree (6 out of 17 flavors do not contain crystalline fructose)
3. FUZE Slender Energy – Purified/filtered water, crystalline fructose, apple juice concentrate, malic acid
4. FUZE Vitalize – Filtered water, crystalline fructose, orange juice concentrate, mango puree
5. Vitamin Water – Vapor distilled, deionized water and/or reverse osmosis water, crystalline fructose, citric acid (Update 5/15/08 – Vitamin Water was owned by Glaceau and Coca Cola bought Vitamin Water in 2007)
6. HYDRIVE Energy Drink – Spring water, crystalline fructose, citric acid, sodium citrate
7. Inko’s White Tea Energy – Premium brewed white tea using filtered water, crystalline fructose (not from syrup), lemon juice, citric acid
8. IQ H2O – contains 2% juice; filtered water, crystalline fructose, pear juice concentrate
9. Mistic RE – filtered water, high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, citric acid
10. SoBe Essential Energy – Carbonated water, crystalline fructose, grape juice concentrate, citric acid
11. W2O For Women – Water, crystalline fructose, calcium lactate, vegetable juice for color

The following contain not only crystalline fructose in their top 4 ingredients, but also the ingredient natural flavor that I wrote about earlier this week:

12. airforce NutriSoda mandarin + mint [ENERGIZE] – carbonated water, crystalline fructose, citric acid, natural flavors
13. Aloe’ha Drink Products – Carbonated water, crystalline fructose, malic acid, artificial and natural flavors
14. Function Drinks – Water, crystalline fructose, natural flavor (contains dairy), citric acid
15. Huracan Energy Drink – Carbonated water, crystalline fructose, natural flavor, orange juice concentrate
16. Iron Energy – carbonated water, crystalline fructose, natural flavor, lemon juice
17. Juici Sparkling Beverage – Carbonated water, crystalline fructose, natural flavor, citric acid
18. Multi-Vitamin Enhanced Water [Kiwi-Strawberry] – Triple filtered water, crystalline fructose, citric acid, natural flavors (4 out of 10 flavors do not contain crystalline fructose, but do contain “natural flavors”)
19. Snapple Red Tea – Filtered water, crystalline fructose (sugar from fruit), pear juice concentrate, natural flavors
20. Speedo Sportswater – purified / filtered water, crystalline fructose, citric acid, natural lemon flavor with other natural flavors
21. Trek Hydrator – mountain spring water, crystalline fructose, citric acid, natural flavors (2 out of 6 do not contain crystalline fructose, but do contain “natural flavors”)
22. Wild Waters – Purified water, natural sweeteners (crystalline fructose, erythritol), minerals and vitamins (magnesium lactate, vitamin C, potassium citrate, zinc lactate, vitamin A), natural flavors and colors

Number 23 gets “honorable mention” because crystalline fructose is the 5th ingredient:

23. Cal-C – water, fruit juice from concentrate (pineapple concentrate, orange concentrate, white grape concentrate, majo puree, passionfruit concentrate, applace concentrate with natural color, plum concentrate, lemon concentrate, lime concentrate), skim milk, strawberry juice concentrate, crystalline fructose

If you are one who regularly drinks these types of drinks, is it because you do not like the taste of plain water? If so, what if you saved the money that you spend on them (whose main ingredient is water, except for #8 in the above list), and purchase a reverse osmosis drinking water system for your home? They fit right under your sink and you can take them with you when you move. I have had one for over 10 years, and for the most part, I only drink plain water.

Remember, our bodies consist of approximately 80% water, not 80% crystalline fructose.

If you’re not familiar with the corn sugar crystalline fructose, you can read all about it here.

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