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Taste Test: Energy drinks

Many energy drinks look like neon antifreeze. The taste can range from Alka-Seltzer to Hawaiian Punch. Judges didn't get an immediate burst of energy from the drinks, but they did get a kick out of names like Rockstar, Amp and Venom. Some are high in that nutritional no-no, high fructose corn syrup. And with their heavy shot of caffeine, they're not recommended for children, pregnant women or anyone sensitive to caffeine. That said, local grocers sell plenty of these products. We recently sampled 12 brands. Here are three of the best.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product SoBe Adrenaline Nos Full Throttle
Calories 220 for 16 ounces 220 for 16 ounces 200 for 16 ounces
Judges' comments Tastes like Hawaiian Punch with a pineapple aftertaste. Sweet and salty, a bit like cold medicine, to one judge. Another compared it to a pineapple Lifesaver with fizz. Mountain Dew-like. More like an oddly clouded lemon shot. "Sad and not ready for prime time," said one panelist. If Windex was drinkable, it would taste like this. Lemony, pineapple and a little vanilla to finish.
Shopping information $1.50 at Publix $1.98 at Wal-Mart $1.98 at Wal-Mart
Product SoBe Adrenaline Nos Full Throttle
Calories 220 for 16 ounces 220 for 16 ounces 200 for 16 ounces
Judges' comments Tastes like Hawaiian Punch with a pineapple aftertaste. Sweet and salty, a bit like cold medicine, to one judge. Another compared it to a pineapple Lifesaver with fizz. Mountain Dew-like. More like an oddly clouded lemon shot. "Sad and not ready for prime time," said one panelist. If Windex was drinkable, it would taste like this. Lemony, pineapple and a little vanilla to finish.
Shopping information $1.50 at Publix $1.98 at Wal-Mart $1.98 at Wal-Mart

ALSO SAMPLED: Monster ($1.92 for a 16-ounce can at Wal-Mart); Amp ($1.50 for an 8.4-ounce can at Publix); Steaz ($1.99 for a 12-ounce can at Nature's Finest Foods in St. Petersburg); Kaboom Infinite ($2.69 for an 8-ounce can at Nature's Finest Foods); Rockstar ($1.98 for a 16-ounce can at Wal-Mart); GT's Kombucha ($3.79 for a 16-ounce can at Nature's Finest Foods); Venom ($1.99 for an 8 -ounce can at Publix) and Blue Sky ($2.69 for a 16-ounce can at Nature's Finest Foods).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; and Times food critic Laura Reiley. All foods were tasted blind.

Taste Test: Energy drinks 05/08/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 8, 2009 4:30am]

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