If you need a perky dose of caffeine but don't want a traditional coffee, you could turn to an energy drink. The XS Energy Drink is one of your many options when it comes to such caffeinated, non-coffee beverages. Whether you're trying to learn more about the product itself, or want a glimpse into its nutritional qualities, several basic facts have come to light either through the beverage's official product website or via third-party beverage industry insiders.
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Brand and Company History
The XS brand originally launched in 2001 with two versions of the energy drink: one in a citrus flavor and one in a grape-cranberry flavor. Today, it sells 16 different flavors plus two caffeine-free versions. Although the manufacturer is based in the state of Washington, it's distributed globally through an exclusive partnership with Amway Global, also known as Quixtar in North America. The price has slowly risen over the years. In 2008, a case of 12 went for $24. As of January 2011, it's jumped to $26.88 a case.
The company sells two caffeine-free varieties. The rest of its products, regardless of the flavor or size, have about 83 mg of caffeine. In contrast, MayoClinic.com reports that the typical 8.3-oz. can of Red Bull has 76 mg of caffeine; an 8-oz. serving of generic coffee has 95 to 200 mg of caffeine; and an 8-oz. serving of black tea has anywhere from 40 to 120 mg of caffeine. The company states that the caffeine in its energy drinks helps to dilate blood vessels so that the amino acids and vitamins in the drinks get delivered faster.
A major marketing component of the XS Energy Drink is its low sugar content. Every beverage has less than 0.5 calories of sugar, which allows the drink to be labeled under federal government guidelines as a "no sugar" drink. Instead of using sugar, the drinks are sweetened with a combination of acesulfame potassium and sucralose. In contrast, the typical can of soda contains 40 g of sugar, according to the "University of Southern California Health Magazine," or 170 calories from sugar.
The majority of XS Energy Drink beverages have approximately 8 calories. These calories come not from sugar, but from the drink's other ingredients, such as its amino acids.
Additional Nutritional Additives
The specific ingredients vary widely across the company's dozen-plus individual products and flavors. However, common ingredients include taurine, ginseng extract, vitamin B complexes and artificial dyes. The company reports that just 2 mg of yellow dye is added to its citrus-flavored beverages, and only 2.5 mg of red dye in its cranberry-flavored beverages. This results in a parts-per-million ratio of 8 and 10, respectively, which the manufacturer asserts is safe.
The manufacturer warns that its energy drinks may not be suitable to everyone, specifically those who are sensitive to caffeine, aluminum cans, artificial sweeteners and artificial dyes. Additionally, the company suggests drinking something besides its beverages if you're nursing or pregnant.