Are you looking for an energy drink? These beverages are often criticized for unhealthy ingredients like sugar and caffeine. Some of the most famous brands include Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, and Jolt. Another one you might consider is a Great Value drink mix with stevia.
Great Value is a brand name of Walmart stores. Since the product is sugar-free and includes Stevia it might automatically seem to be a healthy choice. However, as always, it’s important to take a closer look at the other ingredients. This will provide a big picture of whether or not the drink is generally healthy or unhealthy.
Fun Fact: The Japanese company Taisho launched the first-ever drink Lipovitan in 1960. Nearly six decades later the energy/sports drink industry has sky-rocketed. Many are good at providing energy boosts. However, there are some question marks about the ingredients they conclude that achieve that goal.
While certain drinks can give short-term blood sugar spikes, they often use unhealthy stuff like white sugar and other highly-processed ingredients to do that. Stevia is sourced from a natural plant. However, like other sweeteners, it can be slightly or highly-processed. It’s important to take a close look at ingredients, carbs, micro-nutrients, etc.
What is Stevia?
You might have heard of chrysanthemum plants. These are a group of ragweed. Stevia is a member of the family. It’s worth noting that the sweetener found in store-bought beverages is much different from the natural plant.
In fact, the Stevia products you purchase in stores don’t actually contain real stevia leaves. They’re produced from a Stevia-based leaf extract that’s highly processed.
There’s more! Several Stevia products like Reb-A actually contain just a little Stevia extract. This helps to explain why these products can be around 200x sweeter versus table sugar.
These products that include a blend of various sweeteners are known as “novel sweeteners.” One example is something called “Truvia.” This is a blend of Stevia extract and other chemicals.
Meanwhile, you can also find Stevia brands that have natural flavors. However, it’s important to know how the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) defines the term. They’re only “natural” if they don’t have any added colors or flavors.
There’s a big issue that’s being debated. These “natural flavors” can still be highly-processed. So, some health experts argue that since the products are far from whole foods they’re not really “natural” at all.
If you want the healthiest Stevia sweeteners then make your own. You can use them to easily sweeten your beverages and foods. It requires some extra work but is a healthy option.
Does Stevia offer any health benefits? It’s known as a non-nutritive sweetener. In other words, it has nearly zero calories. So, Stevia is a good option if you want to drop some pounds.
The natural sweetener might help to prevent blood sugar spikes. That’s because it’s different from sugar that’s made from sugarcane.
More research is needed. Some studies show that Stevia’s health benefits might be related to how much you consume and also when you consume it during the day.
Great Value Drink Mix with Stevia: Healthy or Unhealthy?
As noted, this is a controversial ingredient for different reasons. On one hand, it might prevent glucose spikes caused by consuming white sugar. If you have conditions like insulin resistance or diabetes then this can be a plus.
However, there’s a debate about whether or not Stevia is “natural.” Even if a sweetener doesn’t include artificial additives it still might be highly processed. That’s a bad thing.
Each serving of the Grape flavor has just 15 calories. If you’re trying to lose weight then this is definitely a plus. Fun Fact: 1 pound of fat equals 3,500 calories.
However, it’s important to note that many beverages contain lots of “empty calories.” So, besides the number, there’s also the quality. This product has various artificial ingredients that can cause health issues.
If you’re on the Keto diet or other low-carb plans then carb counting is a thing. You get 4g of carbs from the 22-oz. size. This doesn’t automatically make it healthy but in terms of helping you stay in a state of “ketosis” by avoiding blood sugar spikes, this product gets a green light.
There’s a catch! This product includes cane sugar. While on the keto diet one goal is to keep blood sugar levels low. That’s tougher when you consume any sugar whether it’s raw, brown, or white.
So, here’s the thing. Not only is Great Value low in carbs it’s also low in proteins (0g) and fats (0g). So, in terms of being truly Keto-friendly, it’s not the best option since it’s low-fat.
This product has 3g of sugars per serving. It’s worth noting that while 2% or less of the product contains Stevia and other ingredients the first ingredient is cane sugar.
You get no significant amounts of any vitamins or minerals from this drink.
Best Natural Energy Drinks
1. Energy Tea
This drink is loaded with nutrients like Vitamin B12/K, and fatty acids. Besides the water and black tea bags, there’s also good yeast/bacteria and organic sugar.
If you’re on Keto or Atkins you could swap out the sugar and swap in a non-sugar sweetener.
2. Banana/Apple Energy Shake
These are some of the top energy-boosting fruits you can add to drinks. Besides the classic fruits, you also get some dried fruit (dates).
Look for healthy fats? You get it from nut butter and cow’s milk.
3. Collagen Energy Booster
OK, any drink with “collagen” sounds a little nasty. What’s it all about? It gets one scoop of something called “collagen peptides.” Collagen is a healthy protein that’s also found in bone broth.
The Energy Booster includes other healthy ingredients. You get Keto-friendly carbs/fats from almond milk. There’s also powder made from green tea leaves for extra nutrients.
4. Watermelon Smoothie
This one includes watermelon, strawberries, and lemons. The extra energy is from an extract made from green coffee beans. These are raw beans so they have even more antioxidants.
5. Green Smoothie
Most of us would normally avoid any green drink. The exception should be green juice/smoothies. That’s because they contain green leafy veggies, which are outstanding for body detoxes. This one has spinach.
This smoothie also has lots of herbs/spices for extra flavor. They include parsley, cilantro, and ginger. You’ll also get some healthy fat from coconut water.
6. Sweet Potato Smoothie
Yes, sweet potatoes for breakfast can be a thing. This provides a great energy boost due to the orange veggie being high-carb/starch. You get healthy fats from almond milk, Greek yogurt, and chia seeds.
What would a breakfast smoothie be without fruit? This one pair the root veggie with bananas for a good beverage like great value drink mix with stevia.