New Ingredients Provide Spark to Energy Drinks and Foods

March 18, 2011

CHICAGO— Caffeine is not the only ingredient that provides that extra boost. Today, there are a number of ingredients, in addition to caffeine, that are widely used in energy drinks and foods.  An article from the March issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) takes a closer look at some of the current and up-and-coming ingredients being used in energy drinks and foods.

Slow-digesting carbohydrates offer sustained energy benefits.  These types of carbohydrates are derived from sucrose and are different from sugar because it is digested much slower in the small intestine and in turn releases energy at a slower sustained rate. 

Botanicals such as ginkgo biloba, ginseng, yerba maté, and milk thistle are known to provide “natural” energy.  Some other botanicals include:
• Green tea is a natural source of caffeine.  Research indicates potential benefits of green tea extracts in areas such as energy expenditure, enhanced metabolism, and fat oxidation.
• Nitrate-rich beetroot juice has the potential to increase exercise endurance.

B Vitamins aid in the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose, which provides energy, and the breakdown of fats and proteins.
• Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) functions as a cofactor in enzyme reactions, many of which are related to the metabolism of amino acids and other proteins.
• Vitamin B-12 plays a role in energy metabolism.
• Vitamin B-1 helps in the conversion of blood sugar to energy.

L-Carnitine is important in supplying energy to many organs, such as the heart, muscles, liver, and immune cells. It plays an essential role in the body for producing energy from fat, ensuring athletic endurance, promoting recovery after exercise, providing the heart and immune cells with energy, and preventing early onset of fatigue during exercise.

Ribose is a simple, 5-carbon monosaccharide, or pentose sugar that has been shown to promote the body’s natural process of energy synthesis, help reduce the loss of energy during stress, and accelerate energy and tissue recovery.

Taurine is an amino acid that is used in popular beverages to increase energy. The combination of taurine and caffeine is believed to give energy drink consumers an energy buzz. Some studies suggest that it may improve athletic performance while others suggest that it can help boost metabolism.

Coenzyme Q10 plays a role in energy and endurance. Research results show that study participants who consumed Coenzyme Q10 had reduced feelings of fatigue and improved physical performance during fatigue-inducing workload trials.  Coenzyme Q10 also functions as an antioxidant.

Information from this press release used for online, print, or broadcast content must be attributed to Food Technology magazine, a publication of the Institute of Food Technologists. Read the full article: http://www.ift.org/food-technology/past-issues/2011/march/columns/nutraceuticals.aspx

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