PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They’re called energy shots, little bottles that promise to keep you alert and awake. Sales are soaring for the products and the top-seller by far is “5-Hour Energy.”
But does it live up to its claims?
The makers of 5-Hour Energy spend $90 million a year on ads that target busy parents, working adults and young people on YouTube and Facebook.
The small shot bottles claim no sugar, a little caffeine and a special blend of vitamins.
“Five-Hour Energy has seen huge growth in the last year,” said Natalie Zmuda, of Advertising Age. “They control about 12 percent of the overall energy drink market, which is about $9 billion in sales.”
The company says people drink it more than seven million times a week. The energy shot claims you’ll “feel it in minutes” and it “lasts for hours.”
But Consumer Reports wanted to know whether 5-Hour Energy can kick your afternoon slump.
The company claims to have proof its product works as advertised.
“The company showed us a summary of a study it conducted that supports its claims of increasing attention and alertness,” said Jamie Hirsh, of Consumers Reports. “But the study hasn’t been published, and the company wouldn’t let us keep a copy.”
The product contains B vitamins and 1,870 milligrams of what it calls an “energy blend” – a long list of ingredients including caffeine.
“While caffeine is a known stimulant, we found little – if any – published scientific research showing that the other ingredients in the “energy blend” provide such a boost,” added Hirsh.
The company won’t disclose exactly how much caffeine you get from the drink.
“The amount of caffeine is similar to what is in one cup of premium coffee,” said Dr. Kathy O’Neil-Smith, of 5-Hour Energy. “The amount of B vitamins are essential for the energy metabolism and for boosting the furnace or the powerhouse of the cell to provide energy.”
While the couple in the ad shows off a six-pack of 5-Hour Energy, the label cautions “do not exceed two bottles daily, consumed several hours apart.” Also, it’s not cheap as it comes about $3 a shot.
“The bottom line is 5-Hour Energy will probably chase away grogginess,” said Hirsh. “But so will a cup of coffee and it costs a lot less.”
Millions of people are drinking it, but you do need to read the label very carefully because it’s not for everyone. The bottle specifically says not intended for pregnant women or women who are nursing or for children under the age of 12.
Visit Consumer Reports’ website at this link.