We’ve all been there: it’s the middle of the day, and we’re struggling to stay awake and productive. It’s been stressful at work, and going to bed late last night didn’t help. So, we turn to energy drinks because they are the only thing that can help us focus.
But are they really? (Hint: Nope!)
Most popular energy drinks contain excessive amounts of caffeine and refined sugar, which provide a quick energy boost, but at a huge cost. Too much caffeine can lead to jitters, unease and trouble sleeping, while too much refined sugar results in a crash and is terrible for your overall health. Not to mention the long-term effects, which can affect cardiovascular health, cause weight gain, diabetes, fatigue, and more.
Luckily, it’s 2024, and there are plenty of energy drink alternatives that can give us the energy we need without sacrificing our health. These healthier options to replace energy drinks use ingredients that help your energy and your stress – plus some other pretty cool stuff, too. And they do it all without a bunch of caffeine, sugars and chemicals.
9 Healthy Energy Drink Alternatives
Stress resilience is the key to unlocking your full potential: consistent energy, good mood, quality sleep, immunity – these are all things stress messes up. It follows, then, that the best way to boost energy without caffeine bombs is to help the body adapt to stress and let the rest come naturally. And there are some innovative products on the market that do just that.
Here are 9 of our favorite healthy replacements for energy drinks:
1. MTE (More Than Energy)
First, let us start by saying that MTE is not really an energy drink. It is a unique formulation of 13 adaptogens, nootropics and superfoods combined into a green supplement powder that supports your overall health, plus gives you a boost of energy. But not the caffeine kind – it’s a calm, even energy that’s sustained throughout the day.
MTE is not a quick fix – it’s a way to optimize your health to feel better, have more energy, curb stress, recover better, and live the life you want. So, instead of using energy drinks to treat the symptoms (lack of energy), you can mix up your daily drink of MTE and optimize your health to avoid energy dips in the first place.
The main star of MTE’s natural energy booster is theacrine, an alkaloid found in the kucha tea plant. Theacrine provides a sustained energy boost that has a duration of action longer than caffeine, but without the drawbacks, like jitters and heart palpitations. Green tea, ashwagandha and eleuthero support energy, too. And not through the false stress response that caffeine uses. Our formula supports healthy signaling between different feel-good, focus-in and calm-down neurochemicals, promoting reduced stress with an energy boost.
The other great thing about MTE is that it combines the incredible potential of theacrine with other healthy ingredients for well-rounded support. And this transformative energy drink powder contains virtually no caffeine or sugar. And, of course, no artificial stuff.
With MTE, you’re getting more than a calm, sustained energy boost, as this overall wellness companion can also help improve mood, focus, immunity, sleep, and other aspects of your health.
2. Magic Mind®
Magic Mind® is a wellness shot that combines the power of nootropics, adaptogens and functional mushrooms. Like MTE, this energy drink alternative seeks to provide a more sustainable energy boost without jitters, stress, and other pitfalls of too much caffeine.
To do that, Magic Mind® uses matcha extract and lion’s mane mushrooms to extend your morning energy. It also contains other ingredients like turmeric, echinacea, ashwagandha, Bacopa monnieri, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D to provide additional benefits for your health. That includes more resilience to stress, support for focus and immunity, and more.
3. Vive Organic Energy + Immunity ® Wellness Shot
Vive Organic® is known for creating top-quality wellness shots that support a healthy immune system. You can use their Energy + Immunity Wellness Shot to overcome an occasional midday slump or as a part of your energize-for-the-day morning routine.
Keep in mind that this energy drink replacement contains 75 mg of caffeine from a green tea extract. So, it’s better than regular caffeine because it contains antioxidants from green tea that slow down the absorption of caffeine and provide a more sustained effect. But if you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to go for another option.
Vive Organic Energy + Immunity® combines a blend of organic roots and fruits, powerful nootropics and adaptogens to help you get that natural wave of energy with no crash. In addition, these powerful ingredients may help strengthen the immune system.
4. Fire Brew Energy ®
We sometimes feel slow and sluggish because our bodies are not fueled properly. For example, B vitamins are essential for our metabolism to run efficiently. So, when you don’t eat the right foods, it could make you feel slower than usual. In addition, a lack of vitamin A, magnesium, and other nutrients and minerals may cause fatigue.
That’s why Fire Brew® has created a unique blend of 14+ nutrient-dense fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices to provide an ultimate multivitamin in liquid form. Drinking Fire Brew Energy helps you replenish your body with minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients for optimal metabolism support.
In addition to feeling more energized, Fire Brew® Energy can support your gut health, immune system, and overall health.
This energy shot is quite spicy, which can additionally perk you up. However, it can also be too much for people who don’t handle spice well.
5. Ginger Rescue ® Ginger Shots
Ginger Rescue® Ginger Shots by The Ginger People® are daily wellness shots that support your immunity, digestive system health, and steady energy levels. They combine the power of ginger, wild turmeric, apple juice, coconut cream, lemon juice, and black pepper into a healthy shot.
Although Ginger Rescue® Ginger Shots don’t have any caffeine, ginger supports energy mobilization in your body. That can give you a quick caffeine-free energy boost. In addition, the kick you get from ginger and black pepper taste is enough to wake you up and help you focus.
The unique formulation of Ginger Rescue® Ginger Shots can promote healthy digestion, support immunity, and encourage reduced inflammation. However, we must mention that these shots contain 6g of added sugars. So, it’s best to choose another option from the list if you’re watching your sugar intake.
6. B-SYNC ON®
If you’re not into drinking something, especially in the morning, when some of us have less than zero appetite, B-SYNC ON® is a great replacement for a healthy energy drink. Created in capsule form, B-SYNC® refers to their ON product as “Wake Up Capsules”. They’re meant to be taken daily in the morning to give you an initial boost, and then support those energy levels throughout the day.
B-SYNC ON® uses a low dose of caffeine (only 60mg), vitamins B5 and B12, and zinc. Their capsule technology is designed so that there is a slow release over the day, which is how it offers even, level energy support throughout the day.
B-SYNC® has done its own clinical studies on their product, the results of which support long-term use:
- After 1 month, people notice better mood, alertness and sleep quality.
- After 3 months, people notice less stress and better recovery at night.
- After 6 months, people notice more innate energy, and overall feeling better mentally and physically.
7. SYNAPSE Natural Nootropic Energy Drink®
Another conveniently-canned replacement for caffeinated energy drinks, SYNAPSE Natural Nootropic Energy Drink® is a caffeine-free, sugar-free and vegan energy drink that is designed to help you wake up, focus in and stay motivated. It contains a number of natural ingredients that have been shown to have nootropic effects, such as:
- Huperzia serrata: protects nerve cells, brain function
- Bacopa monnieri: promotes clear mind, reduced stress
- Alpha-GPC: supports memory, energy levels
- Creatine monohydrate: promotes brain function, cognitive performance
- L-theanine: supports against stress, fatigue
SYNAPSE is only 25 calories a can. It doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. Instead, it utilizes agave, pear and ginger for a crisp, light flavor. As a caffeine-free alternative to traditional energy drinks, you really can’t go wrong with nootropic stacks like this one.
8. LifeLab Vitamin D3 Supplement
Or just get outside more – and especially in the darker seasons. Many people don’t get enough vitamin D due to our society being largely sedentary, and diets that are packed with calories but scant on nutrition. But a healthy supplement powder would be an easy addition to your daily energy greens.
You’ve got to have enough vitamin D for your body to function correctly. It’s crucial for bone health, immune function, and cell growth and proliferation. Deficiencies are common and come with familiar symptoms: mood problems, fatigue, sleep problems, slow wound healing. These are signs your body doesn’t have the things it needs to get you through the day, inside or out.
It’s important to note that while there is a significant body of clinical evidence that vitamin D supplements significantly reduce fatigue and mood problems in people with chronic fatigue, deficiencies and nervous system conditions, there isn’t a lot of evidence to say it matters one way or the other in healthy adults.
9. Have You Tried Just… Drinking More Water?
Available for the low price of FREE.99 if you don’t count your water bill, drinking water really might be the solution to many, many of our problems. That unquestionably includes energy and focus. Believe it or not, there’s clinical research everywhere dedicated to how water affects energy and metabolism:
- Workouts: Even a 2% body weight reduction in water levels hampers physical performance, but people regularly lose 6-10% during a workout. Drink water before and after. And, no, your preworkout doesn’t count.
- Cognition: Brain function can be impaired by mild dehydration – it takes only 1-3%.
- Nervousness and Fatigue: Less than 2% body weight dehydration can increase feelings of stress and tiredness.
And we know there are many others – metabolism, kidney function, headaches, temperature regulation. Make sure you’re getting 64oz water a day, period, and add a liter or two to that if you’re a gym rat. Not only a clean alternative to energy drinks; it saves you money, too!
What’s the Problem with Energy Drinks?
So what exactly is the big deal about big bad energy drinks? Turns out it’s not just one or two minor things. According to CDC, chronic energy drink consumption can lead to:
- Feeling nervous and jittery
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Heart complications
Why? Quite a few reasons:
Sugar Bombs & Artificial Sweeteners
One of the reasons energy drinks are so bad is the excess amount of refined sugar. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar consumption to nine teaspoons or 36 grams for men and six teaspoons or 25 grams for women.
Unfortunately, even a single can of energy drink can contain more than this recommended amount. For example, a 16 fl oz Red Bull has 49 g of sugar, which is nearly twice the daily amount of sugar recommended for women.
Too much sugar in your diet can increase the risk of weight gain, tooth decay, skin problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and many other conditions. Plus, you wanna get real real about it – chronic high blood sugar, especially in people with metabolic conditions like diabetes, can wear out your kidneys, eventually contributing to kidney failure.
And if you're thinking a viable alternative to sugary energy drinks is a sugar-free or a low-sugar energy drink, there are still other problematic ingredients. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to a host of health issues, which you can learn more about in our article: Unreal Sugars Come with Unreal Health Risks.
For example, energy drinks are filled with caffeine. Although consuming a moderate amount of caffeine can help you stay awake and focused, energy drinks contain way more than you need. For example, a 16 fl oz can of Bang® has around 300 mg of caffeine. That’s almost at the 400 mg per day limit recommended by the FDA in a single serving!
Unfortunately, consuming this much caffeine in one sitting has several negative effects on your body. Firstly, caffeine increases your heart rate and blood pressure. It also affects your brain, causing it to produce more of the stress hormone, which it then tells your body to flood your bloodstream with.
The combined effects of caffeine and increased feelings of stress can leave you jittery and unfocused. So, instead of helping you concentrate, energy drinks are more likely to lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, preventing you from focusing on anything else. Did you get an intense energy boost? Yes. Does it feel good? No.
And if you take energy drinks later in the day, the excessive amount of caffeine is likely to keep you up at night. That’s because higher levels of the stress hormone affect melatonin production, impairing your ability to fall asleep. The problems can get so bad that some people develop chronic issues getting enough rest at night.
Stimulant-Stimulated Health Risks
Consuming too much caffeine can also cause long-term side effects like heart problems, high blood pressure, digestive issues, and more.
In addition, some energy drinks contain guarana, a plant native to the Amazon whose seeds contain four times more caffeine than coffee beans. This adds to the fight-or-flight effects of caffeine, which increases the chances of unwanted effects.
Another downside of caffeine is that your body gets used to it. So, you end up needing more and more until the negatives significantly outweigh the benefits. Caffeine (and sugar, too!) is a known addictive substance. You need more and more for the same effects over time, and if you drop it cold turkey, you will have withdrawal.
Lastly, the effect of energy drinks is only temporary. They are a quick fix – only treating the symptom and not addressing the underlying problem of why you might feel tired in the first place. Hence the crash that happens once the sugar and caffeine have run their course.
When you really look at it, energy drinks are not a good long-term solution. To really feel better - energetic, calm, content - we need these healthier, more sustainable alternatives. Wellness supplements like MTE®, Magic Mind® and others we discussed support against reasons why you’re tired, not just the fact that you’re tired.
Why Your Energy Levels Might Be Low
It’s not okay to feel tired every single day. We rely on coffee and energy drinks to give us a quick boost, but since they are only a quick fix, they’re not going to help you suss out what’s really going on with your chronic low energy. And even though a naturally-better-for-you energy booster can definitely help, there are also lifestyle factors that may be sabotaging your efforts to feel better.
Here are some reasons you may feel tired and unfocused all the time:
- You are not drinking enough water
- You are not getting enough sleep
- Your diet is bad (you’re mostly eating heavily processed food)
- You’re skipping breakfast
- You don’t eat enough carbs, vitamins, or protein
- You don’t take enough time to unwind
- You are too stressed
Keep in mind that sometimes feeling fatigued can also be a result of a vitamin deficiency, hormonal imbalance, metabolic disorder, or thyroid problem. So, if you’re always tired even though your lifestyle habits are just fine, you should visit a doctor and get your blood checked to get to the bottom of your problem.
How to Boost Energy Levels Naturally
If you want to feel more energetic, instead of focusing on the symptoms (feeling tired), you can focus on the root cause (your lifestyle habits). That way, you’ll feel more energized throughout the day without seeking the help of coffee or energy drinks.
Here’s what you can do:
- Eat smaller meals every three to four hours
- Avoid processed foods, added sugars, alcohol, and tobacco
- Make sure to eat your macros (protein, carbs, and fats)
- Drink enough water
- Try to get eight hours of sleep each night
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine without electronics
- Learn how to deal with stress
- Stay active
How a Greens Powder Can Help Maintain Healthy Energy Levels
Some people may follow all these steps to a T and still feel tired. It’s easy to say stress management will help you feel less tired, but what’s going to help you manage the stress in the first place? Not everyone is a yogi who likes to meditate.
Adding a greens supplement drink into your daily routine can give you that little extra support you need to be the best version of yourself. Energy drinks are temporary; MTE® is long-term -- a sustainable substitute for highly-caffeinated beverage like those energy drinks, or even coffee.
For example, a scoop of MTE® in water, a smoothie, or your Athletic Greens® can help with energy levels, but also supports better rest at night, stress response, mood, focus, performance, and much more.
To get the most benefits out of MTE®, you should take it daily. However, you can also use it as a replacement for energy drinks when you feel tired and need a healthy way to boost energy and focus. Discover the powerful MTE® formulation and all the ways it can benefit your health. You can also order MTE® and get your supply of this feel-good green powder that will help you achieve your full potential.