Ask Levi: What Is ORAC?

One thing that’s happening with the healthy energy drink trend is companies are loading their drinks with potent antioxidants (see FRS and Fiva for good examples.)

Because of this, you might see something called the ORAC rating

You review energy drinks – what does ORAC stand for?

Omar

Hi Omar,

Good question. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, and in general terms, it’s a measure of the antioxidant power in a given product.

I’m not sure how the science works, but each food is assigned an ORAC value, and it’s basically ‘the higher the better.’ Higher ORAC values mean the food contains more antioxidant power, which in turn means it is very beneficial for fighting off the damaging oxygen radicals (i.e. free radicals.)

So if you’re buying an energy drink that you think is healthy, take a look at the ORAC value. Fiva has an ORAC value well over 3000, which is more than you need in a single day, so that’s plenty. But FRS goes further – it has an ORAC of 7000 to 10000! (Part of the reason why FRS gives you such a big energy boost.)

At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find Gatorade with an ORAC value of just 19. (Gatorade tastes good, but it’s nothing more than sugar, electrolytes, and flavorings.)

Links for further research on ORAC and antioxidants:

Related product reviews:

As ORAC becomes a more popular term, I’m seeing it more often, even on packages of dark chocolate! Although fresh fruits and vegetables are probably still the best source of antioxidants!

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