So many people are chugging Gatorade, Powerade, Propel and their ilk that such beverages controlled the lion’s share of 2003’s $3.1 billion retail market for sports nutritional products.

Sports and energy beverages, in fact, accounted for 63 percent of 2003 retail sales of sports nutritional products, a market that includes sports bars and supplements, according to The U.S. Market for Sports Nutritional Products, a new study by Packaged Facts, a division of With this in mind, we decided to join the masses. The irony? We found out they’re not for everybody.

Drink: Omega Energy

Cheesy slogan: "Got the Juice!"

Price: $1.99

Nutrition info: 16 fl. oz. (two servings per can) contain 100 calories, no fat, 105 mg of sodium, 27 g of carbs, 25 g of sugar and no protein, plus 100 percent of the daily value of vitamins C, B6, B12 and folic acid

Unpronounceable power ingredients: Taurine, D-Ribose, L-Carnitine, inositol and panax ginseng

Taste: Like biting into a sumptuous, fizzy, passion fruit.

Like watered-down bile.

Details: I likes me energy drinks like I likes me men: Tall, dark and handsome.

Omega was tall – the biggest of the bunch at 16 ounces – and the can was dark and attractively colored. So I dove for it.

While everyone else made John Mayer-like grimaces as they choked down their drinks, my Omega was so delicious, I swigged it, and it was gone in two minutes.

Within the first few swallows, my body went through an interesting series of stages: My vision got blurry, then I got the jitters, then I got snappy, then tingly and then I crashed faster than Ben Affleck’s career post-Gigli. So much for energy. Get this one solely for the flavor.

—Gisela Garcia

Drink: invigor8

Cheesy Slogan: The name speaks for itself.

Price: $1.99

Nutrition info: 8 fl. oz. contain 110 calories, 60 mg of sodium, 27 g of carbs, 22 g of sugar and no protein, plus 100 percent of your daily vitamin C

Ingredients: The carrot and the pear were not meant to be squeezed, but this concoction contains juice from both, plus apple juice, vitamins, citric acid and something called guarana extract.

Taste: Remember when you were a little kid and mixed everything in the refrigerator into one glass, then drank it? Well, this is almost as good as that.

Looks: Somewhere between orange Gatorade and Orange Crush.

Details: One of the most natural and probably healthiest energy drinks out there, invigor8 ranked regrettably low on the taste scale. My face spasmed less the first time I had a shot of 151.

During the first 20 or so minutes, I didn’t feel an increase in energy (though I rarely do at 2:30 p.m.), but I did get a slight headache. Not as much kick as Red Bull, but not a bad choice for someone limiting sugar intake - if you don’t mind holding your nose.

—Jeff Rice

Drink: Rooster Booster

Cheesy slogan: "8 ounces of power packed in a can"

Price: $1.79

Nutrition info: 130 calories and no fat, 50 mg of sodium, 32 g of sugar, no protein, plus 100 percent of your daily value of niacin, vitamins B6, B12 and C

Unpronounceable power ingredients: Niacin

Taste:Eight parts cotton candy, one part melted cherry popsicle syrup that was scraped off the sidewalk .

Looks: Like deceptively pretty pink fizz.

Details: After clicking open the can, getting past the nauseatingly sweet aroma and the pastel pink foam, I took a sip - and struggled not to spit it out. However, if you’ve ever had an urge to drink full-strength liquefied sugar, you might disagree. That said, either the overdose of caffeine or the truckload of vitamins made me act like a complete weirdo. To be fair, I skipped breakfast, but I know ingesting 32 grams of sugar in one 8-ounce drink is almost never a good thing. Rooster Booster is like booze: It should not be consumed before taking an exam, talking to your boss or getting behind the wheel of a car.

—Nichole Dobo

Drink: Red Bull Energy Drink

Cheesy slogan: "It gives you wings!"

price: $1.99

Nutrition info: 8.3 fl. oz. (two servings per can) contain 110 calories, no fat, 200 mg of sodium, 28 g of carbs, 27 g of sugar and less than 1 g protein, plus niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, and pantothenic acid

,b>Unpronounceable power ingredients: Taurine, pantothenic acid

Taste: It’s like swallowing a mouthful of liquid Sweet Tarts.

Looks: Think yellow liquid dish detergent.

Details: I didn’t care for it at all. I ended up choking it down, though. And after the nasty assault on my mouth, I didn’t even notice a difference. My concentration wasn’t improved like the can promises. At least it lives up to its name: bull. Maybe next time I’ll add a little Smirnoff.

—Brett Colton

Drink: AMP Energy Drink

Cheesy slogan: Doesn’t have one yet.

Price: $1.99

Nutrition info: 8.4 fl. oz. (one serving per can) contain 120 calories, no fat, 70 mg of sodium, 31 g of carbs, and 30 g of sugar, plus riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, and pantothenic acid

Unpronounceable power ingredients: Taurine, pantothenic acid, maltodextrin, guarana

Taste: Think Mountain Dew, only with more of a tangy taste, which makes it almost undrinkable.

Looks: Like Mountain Dew.

According to, it glows when placed under a black light because of all its Vitamin B. However, there aren’t many black lights here at the office, so we couldn’t test this claim.

Details: If you like Mountain Dew, you’ll probably like this drink. As for me, I think Mountain Dew tastes like armpit sweat, so I had to force it down. I will say, though, that it did give me an boost for about two hours ... just long enough to make it through another marathon meeting.

—Jake Volcsko

© 2004, Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.).

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.