As a result of conducting various qualitative chemical analysis tests, Monster Energy ® was found to contain a large amount of reducing sugars and NaCl. It was found to be void of proteins and lipids. Further, Canada Dry ® gingerale was found to contain a large amount of reducing sugars, while being void of protein, lipids and NaCl.
The components of the Monster Energy drink tested were quite congruent to the components found in the other energy drinks. The exceptions, however, were that SugarFree Rockstar, like the name suggests, contains no traces of sugar, unlike Monster Energy. Also, unlike other energy drinks, Monster Energy contained detectable traces of sodium chloride.
The components of gingerale were also quite similar to the components found in other beverages. However, it contained no protein or lipids, unlike chocolate milk, and had a large amount of simple sugars, unlike Vitamin Water and Tea.
In short, the chemical assays do not fully support the marketing claims made by the energy drink producers. They show that none of the energy drinks tested contain proteins, which build, maintain and help replace tissues in the body. Also, all energy drinks (with the exception of Sugar Free Rockstar) showed that these drinks contain large amounts of simple (reducing) sugars. None of the energy drinks contain fats, which actually provide the body with 2x the amount of energy per gram than carbohydrates and proteins. Finally, Monster Energy was the only drink that contained NaCl. Through research, it was found that NaCl maintains the “sodium-potassium pump” in the body. This important mechanism consists of the sodium ion (an electrolyte) going into cells and potassium coming out, which then releases energy. These conclusions go to show that, while the energy drink “producers” claim to offer a product rich in energy-inducing ingredients, they have not, by any means, included a fuller scope of nutrients that would truly have the potential to bring energy. Whereas their claims range from “being the meanest energy supplement on the planet” to “increasing endurance, concentration and reaction speed,” really, sugar is the only thing that appears consistently in detectable amounts, being a source of very temporary, short-term energy.
It could be helpful to have tested to for amino acids see whether there was a detectable quantity of amino acids in the energy drinks. Amino acids being the components of proteins, it is inferred that they are more easily absorbed that proteins. Perhaps knowing whether there was a detectable quantity of amino acids could also contribute to the idea of the effectiveness/ ineffectiveness of the energy drinks. A possible test that could be done here is the “Ninhydrin Test.” Ninhydrin detects ammonia and the amine groups in amino acids. So, in the presence of “free” amino acids, Ninhydrin would turn purple.
Conclusion and Evaluation
Given what I’ve learned in this lab, I believe that I would not ever purchase the energy drinks available on the market. Surely, they are advertised as being infused with exotic herbal extracts, powerful vitamins, and the like; however, today’s lab showed that the only ingredient the energy drinks provide in abundance is sugar. For the price it costs to purchase a drink scarcely containing energy-providing substances (ex. proteins, lipids, etc.) other than sugar, I believe it is economically “not worth it”. Besides, drinking such great quantities of extra sugar is quite counter-productive and likely to cause weight gain in itself. I cannot consider energy drinks a “natural alternative” to either sports drinks (like Gatorade) or energy-providing foods, and will thus stay away from these blatantly consumed “energy” drinks.
Sources of Error, Suggestions for Improvement
This qualitative chemical analysis of energy drinks lab was well conducted. Many variables were kept constant (such as the volume of energy drink being tested each time, the room temperature, and the time waited before recording final observations, etc.). This helped in eliminating sources of both random and systematic error. To improve this lab, perhaps a spot-plate or even a petri dish could be used in doing the Biuret Test, the Benedict’s Test and the Silver Nitrate Test. With the energy drink sample being tested in these apparatuses, a greater surface area of the sample would be exposed to the “testing solution”- as opposed to the narrow test tube. It is known that an increase in surface area increases the rate of reaction; thus using spot-plates would ensure a greater reaction “completion” by the time final observations are recorded (Note: the waiting time for recording observations is kept constant: 2 minutes). Results would be more obvious, in terms of physical appearance, and can be assumed to be more accurate when using both the smaller volume of energy drink and a spot plate to contain it.