NutriMap Diet What’s in it: Red Bull Total Zero

May 9th, 2012, 01:05:55 admin


If you’ve ever looked at the labels on foods and drinks, you’ve noticed the long list of ingredients and additives that bring back some names you recall learning about in high school chemistry.  This is where we remind you about those chemicals, help you understand how the human body metabolizes those compounds, and leave you more educated on the choices you make for your health.  Every week, our nutrition experts at BioShift pick 1 popular food or drink and give you a detailed breakdown of exactly what it’s made of.

       From the workplace to the classroom, the prevalence of energy drinks has grown exponentially over the past decade.  Our subject of the week analyzes the newest product from Red Bull N.A. Inc. – Red Bull Total Zero.



Carbonated Water: Well, that’s good.

Taurine: This amino acid has a pretty good reputation with respect to being a detoxification chemical. Previous studies have shown that taurine supplementation may play a role in preventing Thrombosis (the formation of blood clots).

Citric Acid: This is the acid naturally found in sour fruits such as lemons. It’s made in this drink by fermenting sugar, and used as a flavoring agent.

Sodium Citrate: This chemical formula refers to sodium salts of citric acid. It’s pretty much saline, which give the red bull that tart flavor.

Caffeine: With approximitely 80 mg of caffeine, this drink is required to display on the can that it is “ not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women, and persons sensitive to caffeine.” Nonetheless, it is also the principal stimulant that allows the product to display “ improves performance, increases concentration and stimulates metabolism.”

Glucuronolactone: This compound is found in many energy drinks. It’s naturally produced in the body by the metabolism of glucose. It is believed to fight fatigue, however, there is very little research regarding the compound itself.

Aspartame: This artificial sweetener is composed of a blend of two amino acids: phenylalanine and aspartic acid, joined by methyl alcohol.

       Phenylalanine: Toward the bottom you will see in big bold letters “ Contains Phenylalanine”. In high concentrations, this amino acid is neurotoxic. Phenylalanine is the toxic component seen in the childhood disorder called phenylketonuria or PKU.

       Aspartic Acid: This amino acid has also been shown to produce damage to the brain at higher concentrations.

       Methyl Alcohol is a powerful toxin that is carefully regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When methyl alcohol is consumed, it is broken down into formaldehyde and formic acid (both of which are toxins). Formic acid is the poison used by the fire ant, and if you’ve ever been hit by a fire ant, you know the pain. Formaldehyde is that preservative they use to preserve school frogs, rats, pigs, and whatever else it was that you dissected. Note, that Methyl Alcohol is a known carcinogen.

Sucralose: Another artificial sweetener with limited human research. I couldn’t find any long-term studies on this synthetic compound, yet we know that it’s cooked up in a lab through a complicated process. Our bodies can’t properly metabolize the compound, which makes it have zero calories.

Acesulfame K: Another calorie free, artificial sweetener that lacks long term human studies. Enough already.

Inositol: This special formation is related to the B group of vitamins and has shown beneficial effects with respect to depression and neurological function. It has been used in Europe for the past 30 years to lower cholesterol.

Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3, this compound has been shown to have beneficial effects such as increasing good cholesterol (HDL). Note that its low concentration in the red bull will most likely not have a profound benefit.

Calcium Pantothenate: Part of the vitamin B complex family which aids as a component of energy production.

Pyridoxine HCL: Also part of the vitamin B complex family that is necessary for proper nerve function and metabolism.

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B complex family again, plays a role in DNA synthesis and immunity. Red bull seems to like this family of vitamins.

Xanthan Gum: A natural sugar derived from corn. Probably used as a thickening agent.


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