Dissecting FRS Energy Drink – What Makes It Work?
I’m a fan of the FRS energy drink. It tastes good, it works for me, and the “all natural” variety is healthier than the majority of energy drinks out there.
But… it’s expensive. And it’s not actually healthy when compared to health food (like fruits and vegetables.) And to top things off, many users are reporting poor customer service. I don’t doubt those claims, as I have received poor service from FRS myself. (And considering the number of people who type “FRS healthy energy scam” into Google each month, I bet a lot of people are in the same boat!)
Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to look for a cheaper, healthier alternative to FRS Healthy Energy. In this article, I will dissect the FRS ingredients list and see what I can come up with.
(In this article I’m focusing on the ingredients in the all natural orange concentrate, which is my personal favorite of the FRS line.)
Dissecting FRS Healthy Energy
Here are the ingredients FRS contains which look important:
- Organic cane juice
- Grape juice concentrate
- Green tea extract
- Vitamins A, C, E
- B vitamins
Now to examine each of these in greater detail…
Water. This one’s easy – you should already get plenty of water in your diet. As long as you’re hydrated, the extra water you get from a glass of FRS shouldn’t matter much.
Next up, the organic cane juice and white grape juice concentrates are just forms of sugar, used as sweeteners, so we can skip them. They’re used in just about every other energy drink, anyway. If you want sugar, you can add honey to your diet and it will be a better option.
Orange juice concentrate is used for flavor. I’ve had plenty of orange juice in my life and it never gave me a big energy boost, so let’s keep going.
Green tea. FRS contains important compounds called EGCG and catechins thanks to the green tea ingredient. The label shows 100mg of catechins in FRS.
I would consider this important, but green tea is not exclusive to FRS. You can get green tea extract in capsule form and as a concentrated liquid (easily getting your 100mg,) or you can drink one or two glasses of green tea each day for the same effect.
Vitamins A, C, and E do look important, too. These are important vitamins that are also considered to be antioxidants.
However, these vitamins are easily found in a healthy diet that includes fruits and veggies. Also, they are present in virtually all multivitamins. The doses in FRS range from 25-200% of the DV, which is nothing huge, so let’s move on.
Next, B vitamins. If I had to pick a secret ingredient in FRS, I’d bet it was the B vitamins that are really to thank for the energy boost. It’s a well-known fact that B vitamins are helpful in increasing energy levels, and if you look around, you’ll see B vitamins in nearly all energy drinks these days.
FRS contains 6mg of B12 and 2mg of B6, as well as 1mg Thiamin, 20mg Niacin, 2mg Riboflavin.
But you can get B vitamins in many different ways; B-complex, B6, and B12 tablets, as well as B12 injections. I found a B complex pill with huge doses of all the B vitamins for a mere 13 cents per serving!
Now for FRS’s coveted ingredient, quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant found in certain fruits and vegetables, and some recent studies have shown that it may improve sports performance (by increasing endurance, etc.) FRS contains 250mg quercetin.
While the quercetin research is far from exhaustive, it does seem to have some merit, and it’s entirely possible that quercetin supplementation could improve performance. But FRS does not have a monopoly on quercetin; it also comes in capsule form, with doses ranging from 250-1000mg.
Note: here are a couple studies that show promise for quercetin when taken in certain doses over time:
- Quercetin Increases Endurance without Regular Exercise Training
- Antioxidant may boost exercise endurance
Last but not least, caffeine. Caffeine is responsible for the kick from virtually all energy drinks. However, FRS contains a small amount (35mg) of caffeine, so I don’t believe it plays much of a role in FRS’s energy boost.
But it’s not a problem to get that much caffeine from your diet; if you drink a couple glasses of tea or a single cup of coffee, you’ll get plenty of caffeine.
Cheaper Energy Boost
In these tough economic times, we’re all looking for ways to cut costs. One thing you could do is cut out expensive energy drinks and bottled water.
To get the same effects as FRS ($1.25 per serving) without drinking it each day, here is what I have been trying:
What it boils down to is drinking green tea and then taking some Quercetin and B vitamin tablets. In theory, this would provide a long-lasting, natural energy boost.
I have been testing out the previously mentioned pills, along with this one called a Super Antioxidant – it contains lots of good stuff like A, C, E, and B vitamins, and even a bit of of quercetin and green tea – for just 34 cents per serving.
Here’s the price overview:
- B12: $0.06 per serving
- B complex: $0.12 per serving
- Quercetin: $0.25 per serving
- Green tea extract: $0.15 per serving
- Green tea (brewed): $0.20 per serving
- Antioxidant cocktail: $0.34 per serving
If any of this stuff works, even in combination, it could cut your energy drink costs in half!
Homemade Energy – It Might Just Work
Here is what I tried over the past couple months, along with my initial thoughts:
250mg Quercetin ($0.25) – I noticed no change in energy when I tried taking one quercetin pill per day. After a few days I tried two servings per day, but that produced no difference.
750mg Quercetin ($0.75) – This (three servings) produced the same lackluster result as just one serving.
Glass of green tea + 250mg quercetin ($0.45) – As with the plain quercetin days, there was no discernible energy boost.
Antioxidant cocktail ($0.34) – This was the real surprise from the bunch. One serving (two pills) was all it took, and I got a long-lasting energy boost. It was a pleasant boost and it lasted all day – nearly as good as FRS.
Glass of green tea + antioxidant cocktail ($0.54) – There was a good boost with this, but it was the same whether I had green tea or not.
500mcg B12 ($0.06) – When taking one of these tablets, I felt a good, light energy boost that lasted all day.
Glass of green tea + B complex + quercetin ($0.57) – noticeable energy boost?
Glass of green tea + 500mcg B12 ($0.26) – These days provided a good, light energy boost that lasted all day, but with the added enjoyment of the green tea flavor.
FRS concentrate ($1.25) – FRS has always worked well for me. There’s an instant kick (just a slight one, probably from caffeine,) but the real goodness is the light energy that lasts all day, even if I do a hard bike ride. It’s also easy to drink and the best tasting option here.
From my experience with my tests, it seems the common denominator in the energy-yielding supplements is some sort of B vitamin. No surprise – it’s pretty much undisputed that B vitamins give you energy. Some of my older relatives get B12 shots each month, and they swear by them for the extra energy.
The quercetin itself, which FRS claims will reduce your fatigue and bring energy, had no effect on me when taken in capsule form. No matter if I had one capsule (same amount as one serving of FRS) or three.
I’ve heard many people say “don’t overspend for FRS, just get quercetin pills.” Well, I bet anyone that followed that advice was sorely disappointed. It’s possible there are higher-quality sources of quercetin out there than the capsules I tried, but I think I would have had some sort of affect from what I tried.
The Super Antioxidant capsules fared much better. They contain B vitamins, which are probably responsible for the energy boost, but they also add CoQ10 and some other healthy goodies.
The antioxidants from drinking my own brewed green tea probably keep me healthy – and yes I plan to continue drinking tea – but don’t bring about extra energy.
My Energy Boost Recommendations
My recommendation, if you want to save money, consume less sugar, and still get an all-day energy boost, is to take a B complex or B12 vitamin each day. I also recommend drinking green tea for general health.
If you want to skip the B vitamin tablets and choose a capsule like the Super Antioxidant instead, that’s fine (and it’s what I’ll probably do most of the time.) As long as the capsule contains B vitamins in large doses, you should get the same affect.
However, sometimes when you order from FRS directly, you can get 30-50% discounts. If you order at those discounts, you get the good taste and convenience of FRS for the same price as this homemade solution.
So if FRS works for you, I’m not saying to abandon it. Really, just pick whichever option makes you happy. I feel good taking my B vitamins, and I always drink green tea, but I don’t see myself giving up FRS completely. It just seems to work too well for me.