Amidst controversy, Sparks Energy drinks were introduced as the first alcoholic beverages available with an added jolt of caffeine. However, due to an advertising campaign that appeared to target minors and making exaggerated claims about the effects of the drink, parent company MillerCoors re-vamped the drinks by removing the caffeine and other stimulants. Under pressure from the attorneys general of several states, MillerCoors is now marketing Sparks as a malt liquor beverage only. Sparks drinks come in four flavors, including Original, Blackberry, Iced Tea and Lemonade, which are also available as Sparks Plus and Sparks Light.
Sparks Blackberry, Iced Tea and Lemonade drinks are 8 percent alcohol by volume, and Original Sparks is 6 percent alcohol by volume. Although caffeine and other stimulants have been removed, you should drink Sparks beverages only in moderation, as they do contain alcohol. The American Heart Association recommends no more than one 12-ounce beer a day for women and two beers for men. Binge drinking and excessive consumption of alcohol can cause health problems, such as damage to your heart, liver and pancreas.
There are 257 calories in 12 oz. of the original Sparks drink flavors, according to LIVESTRONG.COM's MyPlate. In 12 oz. of Sparks Light, there are 124.5 calories and 288 calories in Spark Plus drinks. Your calorie needs for the day vary according to your age, gender and amount of physical activity. However, Sparks alcoholic beverages should not be considered a main source of your calories. If you consume the typical diet of 2,000 calories per day, one 12 oz. serving of Sparks drinks provide 6.2 percent to 14.4 percent of the calories you need in a day.
The nutrition website MyFitnessPal states there are approximately 37 g of carbohydrates in a 12 oz. serving of Sparks Plus drinks. A 12 oz. serving of original Sparks drinks contains 33 g of carbohydrates. Your body gets most of the energy it needs to function properly from the breakdown of carbohydrates during the digestive process. MedlinePlus recommends getting 40 percent to 60 percent of the calories in your diet from carbohydrates. However, Sparks alcoholic beverages should not provide a substantial portion of your daily carbohydrates.
Other Nutrients and Alcohol Precautions
None of the Sparks drink varieties provide any additional nutrients, such as sodium, fats, protein or vitamins. Consuming too much alcohol affects your mental state, slowing your reflexes and impairing your judgment. Over time, drinking too much alcohol can damage your liver and heart and increase your risk of stroke, high blood pressure and some cancers. Don't drink any alcoholic beverages if you have diabetes, liver disease or are pregnant or nursing. Never consume alcoholic beverages if you are going to drive or operate any type of machinery. Check with your pharmacist or health-care provider before drinking alcohol with any of your medications and supplements.
- American Heart Association: Alcohol and Heart Disease
- "The Portland Press Herald"; Alcoholic Energy Drink to Drop Caffeine"; Edward D. Murphy; March 2010
- LiveStrong.com: Calories in Sparks
- MyFitnessPal: Sparks Low Calorie Energy Drink
- MyFitnessPal; Spark Plus Energy Drink
- MedlinePlus: Carbohydrates; May 2010