What's in your energy drink other than caffeine and sugar?

Spaniards will be able to pick up yet another energy drink starting in 2011, but even as the number of these drinks continues to grow, does anybody really know what's in them?

The answer is no. Aside from high caffeine and sugar and content, the controversy with energy drinks is that the exact functions and long-term effects of popular components are unclear.

A number of studies have shown that the amount of caffeine (more than a strong cup of coffee) contained in these beverages may have a negative interaction with ingredients like guarana and taurine. Furthermore, exact contents are also often mislabeled.

However, other findings say that standard amounts used of these compounds are far below what is needed to deliver either therapeutic benefits or adverse effects.  

An Orangina Schweppes company representative confirmed on December 15 that the company will begin distributing a new energy drink in Spain in early 2011 - Frucor Beverages' V, Australasia's leading brand.

Spaniards will be able to purchase the energy drink in Madrid and Barcelona for a limited period of time in its original format for less than €1. V is already available in the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands. Based on how the product performs, the company may distribute it in additional European markets.

Competitors in the Spanish market include Rockstar, Monster, Red Bull, Hell and Rush.

V carries more than six times the sodium of Rockstar (bad), half the taurine (could be good or bad, but let's go with bad, because this ingredient is banned in neighboring France), and substantially more Guarana (300 mg vs. 25 mg - good or bad?). 

Original Monster (8 fl. oz./240 ml) contains 80 mg of caffeine, 27g of sugar, 180mg of sodium, 1,000mg of taurine and 200mg of Panax Ginseng.

Original Rockstar (250 ml) contains 80 mg caffeine, 31g of sugar, 40mg of sodium, 1,000mg of taurine, 150mg of Gingko Biloba extract and 25mg each of Guarana Seed and Panax Ginseng and Milk Thistle extracts.

Original V (250 ml) contains 77.5mg of caffeine, 26.5g of sugar, 500mg of taurine, 250mg of sodium and 300 mg of each Guarana and Gingko Biloba extracts. 

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