Antioxidant capacities of energy drinks (ED) and energy gels (EG) were evaluated by means of Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity (TEAC), Ferric-ion Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) and 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assays. Values obtained by the four methods linearly correlated and a ranking scale of their antioxidant contributes was drawn. The ORAC values per serving of ED and EG ranged between 100–7610 and 26–404 μmol Trolox Equivalents (TE), respectively, and correlated linearly with the total phenols (TP). TP and ORAC values of ED and EG were compared with a number of coffee, tea and sport drinks (SDR) samples. In coffees and teas, ORAC values ranged from 603 to 2954 and from 594 to 2587 μmol TE per serving, respectively. In SDR, ORAC values ranged between 420 and 1445 μmol TE per serving. The ORAC/TP and ORAC/Kcal ratios were also used to compare antioxidant capacities of the beverages and an optimal range for these ratios was discussed and proposed. Overall, our results supply new information to producers for a better formulation of antioxidant mixtures in ED and EG and also suggest advice to consumers concerning the choice of energy beverages.Summary
New energy drink formulations should be developed by increasing the amount of antioxidants, but lowering the sugar content and keeping the concentration of caffeine out of the potential risk zone.