Taste Test: What Does A $10 Energy Drink Taste Like?

The Glucose "No Limits" energy drink is a recovery beverage and energy supplement designed for 24-hour party people in Europe. It contains over 20 active ingredients hand-picked by scientists in Switzerland and has an astronomical price tag to match -- a single 300ml serve costs around $10. To put its lofty claims to the test, we downed a bottle after a particularly boozy night in Warsaw, Poland. Here are the results.

Swiss beverage company All For You is pitching its No Limits energy drink as the world's most technologically advanced antidote to hangovers. Its formula boasts a veritable potpourri of vitamins and chemical compounds known to reduce the negative effects of alcohol.

In addition to being used as a morning-after tonic, the drink can also be consumed with alcohol as a type of damage control. The inclusion of guarana, taurine, glucuronolactone and caffeine also boosts your energy levels while partying. (This seems counterproductive to us -- doesn't caffeine have a diuretic effect and therefore bad for hydration? If any doctors are reading, let us know in the comments.)

Glucose No Limits purports to have been formulated by leading Swiss scientists based on proven medical findings. While the scantily-clad "science" mascot casts some doubt on these claims, the company does talk a pretty convincing game. Here are the chief active ingredients as they appear on the official website:

Glucose: Essential “Fuel” delivered directly to the most important human body control center – the brain, it is primarily a source of instantly available pure energy necessary for proper functioning of the organism disturbed by excessive alcohol consumption. It is also the only natural and extremely effective “Fuel” in the state of fatigue and exhaustion, both physical and mental.   Maltodextrin: Particularly important “fuel” which provides muscles with long-term access to pure energy. Maltodextrin, with its slow absorption rate, supplies the body with a lot of clean energy that allows the organism function without any disturbances for prolonged periods of time.   Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): An ingredient essential to our lives. It increases the body immune defenses, affects the production of collagen, participates in the metabolism of fats and what is referred to as bad cholesterol. It prevents oxidation processes, neutralizes free radicals that cause many chronic diseases and aging, and keeps the level of cancerous nitrosamines low. Vitamin C is one of the greatest allies in the fight for good mood and well-being.   Vitamin B3 (niacin): A necessary diet component contributing to the energy metabolism. It ensures correct functioning of the nervous and the digestive system, keeping the skin in good shape. Vitamin B3 deficiency causes dejection, depression, malaise, mental and physical tiredness. It plays a particularly active role in the body detoxification.   Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Deficiency of vitamin B5 causes nervous system disorders, depression, excessive irritability, hair loss, skin changes, problems with vision, fatigue and cardiovascular diseases. It protects the liver against steatosis resulting from excessive alcohol consumption.   Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Involved in the metabolism of neurotransmitters, including the production of serotonin and dopamine – the happiness hormones responsible for the good mood and well-being, it is essential for proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B6 deficiency causes depression, apathy, insomnia, premature aging of neurons, overall organism deterioration, heart muscle disorders and skin changes. Alcohol consumption is one of the factors contributing to vitamin B6 deficiency.   Vitamin B7 (biotin): Biotin deficiency primarily increases the level of bad cholesterol in the organism. It is responsible for inflammations, hair loss and baldness. It is indispensable in the production of glucose, being the “fuel” necessary for proper functioning of the human body main control center – the brain. The symptoms of its deficiency include neurological complications, such as hallucinations and depression. It is responsible for proper functioning of the nervous system and psychological functions.   Vitamin B9 (folic acid): Safeguarding proper functioning of the nervous system and the brain, it is crucial for mental health, participates in the formation of neurostimulating substances, such as dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline, that improve memory and alertness. It also ensures proper functioning of the liver and the cardiovascular system. Deficiency of vitamin B9 causes a feeling of tiredness, depression, insomnia, forgetfulness, digestive disorders, headaches, palpitations and increased cell susceptibility to cancerous changes.   Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): Required in the production of red blood cells, it is responsible for good mood and mental health. It promotes proper functioning of the heart and is essential to maintaining good condition of the brain and the nervous system. Vitamin B12 deficiency manifests itself as a complex medical condition whose main symptoms include hematological, neurological, psychiatric and gastrointestinal tract problems. People who abuse alcohol, vegetarians and those suffering from gastrointestinal tract diseases are at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency.   Magnesium: It stabilizes the functions of the nervous system and improves the brain cell activity. It has a soothing effect on the organism, improving memory and the ability to think, and is necessary for transmission of nerve impulses in neuromuscular junctions. Magnesium deficiencies may manifest themselves as improper functioning of muscles, excessive irritability, head aches and insomnia.   Zinc: Being a key component of the organism’s antioxidant system as well as a regulator for multiple enzymes, it detoxifies the organism and binds free radicals resulting from alcohol abuse. It improves the functioning of reproductive organs (e.g. prostate) and is responsible for production and secretion of testosterone. It also supports the immune system and processes of vision.   Sodium: A microelement truly essential to life. It is responsible for the excitability of nerve and muscle cells. The organism looses considerable amounts of this component mostly during intensive activities and under high temperature conditions.   Fumaric acid: This organic acid, being a substrate of major metabolic cycles occurring in the organism, works as a natural antioxidant. Supplying body cells with the energy necessary for their proper functioning, it accelerates the process of alcohol neutralization.   Succinic acid: This organic acid, being a substrate of major metabolic cycles occurring in the organism, works as a natural antioxidant. Supplying body cells with the energy necessary for their proper functioning, it accelerates the process of alcohol neutralization.   Aspartic acid: It raises natural levels of testosterone in the organism, leading to the libido increase, considerable improvement in the well-being, increased muscle endurance. It acts as a neurotransmitter, improves memory, facilitates learning and memorizing, eases the feeling of fatigue, improves sleep and accelerates the body regeneration after exercise.   L-cystein: Well known of its antioxidant properties, it effectively accelerates the removal of harmful substances from the liver and prevents the build-up of harmful toxins, especially those resulting from excessive alcohol consumption. It helps to effectively protect the brain against damage from alcohol and tobacco smoke. It is a component of the enzyme system involved in the metabolism of alcohol.   L-glutamine: It conditions the body regeneration and makes it possible to reach a higher level of physical health and natural immunity extremely quickly. It improves functions of the heart muscle and the brain, reducing the risk of diseases by strengthening the immune system.   Inositol: An exceptional compound that has a relaxing effect, mitigating the feeling of anxiety and stress. It considerably improves the mental health and cognitive abilities, but also stabilizes the mood. It is characterised by cardioprotective properties and promotes the glucose metabolism. Inositol deficiency puts people at risk of prolonged stress. It is commonly referred to as the good mood vitamin .   Glutathione: It functions as a basic substance in the body detoxification process, efficiently removing toxins and neutralizing free radicals formed in the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption. It has major impact on every system of the organism, and especially the immune, nervous and digestive system. It also strengthens the organism in a general manner, particularly under the condition of mental and physical fatigue.   Ginseng: It enhances the libido, adds energy and restores clarity of the mind, improving concentration and memory as well. It features soothing properties and prevents the effects of stress and exhaustion. Ginseng increases vitality and helps the organism in times of stress caused by the effects of excessive alcohol consumption. It effectively reduces the levels of bad cholesterol and has anti-cancer properties.   Glucuronolactone: It detoxifies and supports the organism in the neutralization and elimination of xenobiotics, i.e. harmful substances of foreign origin, but also features antioxidant properties. Along with caffeine and taurine, it improves the organism’s cognitive functions and performance.   Guarana: Containing natural caffeine, it improves memory and concentration, but also prevents the destructive effects of nervous exhaustion. Natural caffeine contained in guarana is absorbed by the organism at a slower rate than synthetic caffeine, which ensures prolonged access to extra energy. It promotes weight loss: on one hand, it reduces hunger, and on the other hand, it improves metabolism by increasing energy expenditure. It has an antioxidant effect, helping people stay young for a longer time.   Taurine: It is involved in the processes of neurotransmission and brain development, strengthens the heart as well as the cardiovascular and nervous systems. It stimulates the muscles, prevents symptoms of exhaustion and overtraining as well as promotes metabolism of cholesterol and accelerates the body detoxification.   Caffeine: Stimulating the cerebral cortex, the respiratory and vasomotor centers, it raises the level of adrenaline in the blood. Hence it improves the mood and quickly eliminates weariness and tiredness. It also improves mental efficiency, maintains wakefulness and enhances the memory and concentration processes.

That's a lot of stuff, innit? Crucially, all of the listed ingredients contain appropriate ratios and saturation for effectiveness. In other words, it's not a homeopathy-style con job; at least not on paper.

It is precisely for this reason that Glucose No Limits costs significantly more than the average energy drink. A single 300ml bottle set us back 28 Polish Zlotys, which works out to 9.69 Australian dollars. It's worth noting that energy drinks in Poland are usually quite cheap -- a can of Red Bull can be snapped up for around $1.50 -- so I hate to think what this stuff would cost if it ever makes it to the Australian market.

I sampled a bottle of Glucose No Limits after attending the World Of Tanks Grand Finals after party at Wasaw's sprawling four-level Bank Club, which wrapped up at around 4am. All this reveling was preceded by a 24-hour stay inside Heathrow airport, so I was understandably a bit worse for wear.

So how did it treat my hangover? As it turns out, pretty damn effectively! Its replenishing properties were immediately apparent and I felt significantly better after downing the full serve. (Doubtlessly, the accompanying greasy omelette, French toast and bacon pictured above also played a part in my recovery.)

Unfortunately, the taste leaves a lot to be desired. It's reminiscent of one of those unsweetened isotonic sports drinks, but even more brackish than usual. One of my colleagues likened the flavour to bottled man sweat -- and she's not far off. Its warm serving temperature and resemblance to urine didn't help matters either.

In conclusion, Glucose No Limits is an interesting hangover remedy that more or less works as advertised. On the downside, it tastes unpleasant and costs a stupid amount of money. During future European party adventures, I'll be sticking to aspirin and lots of water before bed.

Effectiveness Score: 8/10

Taste Score: 4/10


Comments

    One of my colleagues likened the flavour to bottled man sweat Ewwwwww. I'm eating my lunch right now and that line actually made me gag a little. I think I'll give this particular drink a miss.

    It contains over 20 active ingredients hand-picked by scientists in Switzerland...match

    What's the alternative to being hand-picked by scientists, exactly? Randomly selected by drunken monkeys? Hopefully any food, drink or pharmaceuticals have been carefully designed by someone qualified - I'm not sure if that makes this drink special or not.

    I drank a few bottles when I was in Switzerland & thought it was pretty awful but it only cost around the same as a standard energy drink.
    The caffeine being a diuretic thing is a myth most serious sports drinks, mixes, gels etc contain it these days.

      Caffeine has been found to have diuretic properties in at least one study I found after a quick search ( http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00726-006-0363-5 ) so I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a complete myth.

        Caffeine can speed up your metabolism so you may need to urinate sooner but that is very different from a diuretic which would mean you pass more fluid than you ingested.

          lol guys, you want the truth?

          Caffeine if UNUSED ie. you dont exercise after consuming it, becomes a diuretic.

          If you consume the caffeine and exercise then nothing happens

    or.... just have this: http://www.party-armor.com/

    I have one of these before i go to bed after a big night out, and 1 in the morning...

    Works great and cheap. I can get mine from my local supplement store here in Canberra. (Monster Sport Nutrition)

    On the caffeine content, you need to consume at least 500mg of caffeine before it has any significant diuretic effect on the body.

    I remember the Nitro Energy and vodka drinks - The taurine in them is what sent people to the hospital.

    Not so much the caffeine - But im sure there is a maximum daily intake recommended on the bottle? Like say, perhaps, 1 per day?!

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