Energy for Sale

Energy products abound: in drinks, herbs, bars, and even goo. But do they do anything?

By Dulce Zamora
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Matthew Hoffman, MD

If the names of today's energy products have any truth to them, vitality and endurance are readily available in bars, drinks, gels, ices, herbs, and supplements.

PowerBar. Red Bull. Amp. Gatorade. Accelerade. Super Energizer. Energice.

Well they sure sound energizing. But are they actually any better than a candy bar or a bottle of soda? It depends on the product and its consumer, say experts, who note that the sheer variety make blanket statements difficult.

To get the full story, WebMD investigated the different kinds of energy edibles, their ingredients, and general effects on the body. Some products provide full nutritional information, while others closely guard the secrets of their proprietary blends. But many of these products just haven't been studied very well.

We also asked the experts whether these products really add anything to our lives. Are we all limping through life, suffering from an energy crisis -- a crisis that unwrapping a power bar can resolve? Or does our obsession with edible energy have very little to do with good nutrition?

Energy Bars and Gels

All energy bars, goos, and ices are not created equal. Some pack in the carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. Others bring in vitamins and minerals. The flavors are plentiful, too, with cookies and cream, cappuccino, lemon poppy seed, and chocolate raspberry fudge appealing to the taste buds.