Energy shots sound like the perfect solution to the chronic afternoon slump. After all, what better way to perk up your waning energy than by taking a quick shot of caffeine to push you through those last few hours of the work day?
The fact is, though, some of the common ingredients in energy shots can be harmful in excessive quantities (the FDA suggests a limit of 400 mg of caffeine per day, for example, but just one energy shot can contain up to 200 mg). Further, they may not be the healthiest or most effective way to boost your energy in the long run.
Read on for what you need to know about your favorite energy shots, as well as some of the best alternatives to consider when you’re running low on energy.
We mistakenly assume energy shots and drinks provide energy, but other than sugar, they actually provide very little. Energy shots are typically sold in 2 to 3 ounce servings and contain a combination of caffeine (two to three times more than a cup of coffee, in fact!), amino acid derivatives, and herbal supplements.
And while the lead ingredient is caffeine, caffeine is not necessarily energy. Rather, it is a stimulant. Stimulants — in limited amounts — can certainly perk you up and increase athletic performance, but they can also “cause serious central nervous system adverse effects,” according to some studies.
By nature, energy shots are made to be consumed quickly — making it very easy to exceed the FDA limit. Unfortunately, excessive, chronic caffeine consumption can lead to myriad issues, including anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Too much caffeine can also lead to dehydration, which in itself brings a host of other serious health risks.
More Than Just a Cup of Coffee
What makes energy shots particularly suspect is that the regulations regarding them are somewhat vague. Because energy shots are often listed as dietary supplements, many of their ingredients are not under the same scrutiny by the FDA as other food products and are shrouded behind proprietary secrecy. Current rules do not require the makers of energy shots to disclose the exact caffeine content of their products.
This lack of transparency makes it difficult for consumers to know exactly what they are getting when they reach for a shot — and even more difficult to self-regulate the doses of caffeine and other supplemental ingredients that they ingest.
Least Harmful Energy Shots
Not all energy shots are created equal — some can be borderline harmful. Energy shots with excessive caffeine, high amounts of added sugar, and a lack of overall nutritional value can leave you feeling anxious and jittery. Rather than provide you with sustainable energy, these energy shots often lead to a quick spike followed by a serious crash.
If you absolutely need to turn to energy shots to get through the day, here are a few that contain moderate amounts of caffeine with a blend of helpful supplements.
Proper Wild Energy Shots
According to their website, Proper Wild Energy Shots contain twice as much caffeine as a shot of espresso but less than the FDA’s recommended limit. These energy shots also contain 15 times more L-theanine than a cup of green tea.
L-theanine is an ingredient found in most teas and in mushrooms, which can reduce anxiety and stress without causing drowsiness. Combined with caffeine, L-theanine can result in higher alertness and focus — without the jitters. They also reduce the post-caffeine crash, making them a must for caffeine-seekers.
Vital Proteins Collagen Shot
According to their website, a Vital Proteins Collagen Shot contains 90 mg of caffeine — just under the amount in a cup of coffee — and 9 grams of protein in the form of collagen.
Collagen is produced naturally in the human body, can be found in animal products, and is one of the best sources of protein. It can be consumed as a supplement to promote healthy bone development, connective tissue repair, and skin maintenance.
Over time, the body declines and collagen production diminishes. Supplementation of collagen has been shown to delay or even reverse some of the effects of slowed collagen production. This means that some of its effects include increased bone mass density and increased skin elasticity.
ModBalls: A Healthy Alternative
Instead of relying on caffeine, ModBalls clean energy bites use all-natural superfoods and necessary macronutrients to provide lasting energy. ModBalls provide sustainable energy that won’t just help you push through your afternoon crash; they’ll also help you set that new PR at the gym.
ModBalls provide a holistic source of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates through a carefully-curated collection of 85 natural ingredients, making them one of the most nutrient-dense products available for general consumption. The relatively tiny dose of caffeine contained in each ModBall (just 5 mg) comes from the natural caffeine found in chocolate, giving you just the right amount of boost.
Energy shots can be a convenient way to perk you up when you need it most, providing you much-needed minerals and nutrients to leave you feeling refreshed, energized, and alert. However, more often than not, they are loaded with stimulants, chemicals, added sugars, and preservatives which can leave you worse for the wear.
Be careful which energy shot you choose and be mindful of how much you consume in a given day. Better yet, reach for ModBalls as an alternative to energy shots for real, clean, sustainable energy. They’re a big boost in a small package.
Shop ModBalls today to explore these nutrient-dense energy bites.