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Foods that Bite Back–Energy Drinks

I support and accept the choices people make in regards to their health and well-being. We live in an amazing, free society and I honor our ability to make our own decisions and live with the consequences of the choices we made. I am here only to advocate, and look out for my fellow human beings out of care.

I was taught as a child that not disclosing the facts, distorting the truth, and leading others to believe in something that is not true, are all just versions of a lie. That is a basic moral obligation we have to our family, friends and community. How can we make intelligent, informed decisions if we are being lied to? Food companies need to give us information so we can make educated, informed decisions, and not distort the facts. Without this ability, our power is being taken away and we must learn to advocate for ourselves, and not accept what is presented to us at face value. They are counting on us not to do our homework. Be informed and get savvy!

So I started a list of “Foods that Bite Back” as published in my book “BITE ME! Change Your Life One Bite at a Time”. These are products I felt were not being presented truthfully. So here’s my latest addition:

One of my friends recently posted a picture of an energy drink mix on facebook and tagged me, asking “What do you think Toni?” Most of her friends seemed to think it was healthy, aside from the caffeine rush. Full of vitamins and no sugar! It seemed benign enough on the surface. I read the ingredients list, the nutrition profile. Hmm. Something didn’t add up. Being skeptical as I am of food company–but most especially supplement company–disclosures, false claims and obfuscations, it piqued my interests so I dug a little deeper and decided to share my opinion.

Spark is produced by AdvoCare and straight to their website I began see some flags. One is the term “Key Ingredients”, it implies not a full disclosure as it mandated by law, but just what they deem the important ones.

Key Ingredients: B-vitamin complex (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and pantothenic acid), taurine, L-tyrosine, choline, caffeine, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), citrus flavonoids, inositol

The nutrition facts label it showed 45 calories and 11 grams of carbohydrates. The numbers just didn’t add up. The amino acids are protein molecules so could not account for the carbohydrate calories and there was nothing else listed. I did the math, carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram times 11 grams so 44 calories. Okay, that does add up, but where did they come from?

If this product truly contains “no sugar” and nothing was listed on the ingredients label, they must be identifying it under the 40 other types of sugars that companies will resort to when making this claim. I searched their website for the use of high fructose corn syrup in their products and while they were still not specific, they did say it was fine in “moderation” and they used it as a standard part of their formulation.

Here’s an excerpt direct from their site. And yes, with even more digging, I found out Spark Drink Mix falls into their “Hydrate” category so DOES include HFCS.

Some AdvoCare products contain fructose as an integral component of their formulations. A number of AdvoCare products contain small amounts of fructose or HFCS, amounts that are typically less than amounts present in a serving of fruit. Products containing fructose, corn syrup or HFCS include: 

  • Most bars 
  • Fiber Drinks 
  • Rehydrate 
  • Rehydrate Gel 
  • CorePlex® Chewable 
  • Meal Replacement Shakes 
  • Post-Workout Recovery 
  • Muscle Gain™ 
  • V16® 
  • AdvoCare® ProBiotic Boost 
  • Coffeccino® 
  • Purple Champs DHA Chews 
  • CitriZinc Chews 
  • V100™ Tropical Chews

AdvoCare gets a big thumbs down and added to my growing list of companies who spin the facts to manipulate us into buying their products. It’s not a product I would personally consume, but now that you have the real information, you can chose for yourself.

Stay healthy and strong!

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