Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Brain Tonic & Sugar in Drinks

This is one of the weird stuffs I saw on the shelf in the US: Brain Toniq.

I don't know what it does to you, but I want to try tasting it.

Ingredients List

I think this is not the first time I see blue green algae on the list. Seems like it is gaining popularity. But what about the rest of them? Choline? Eleutherococcus extract? Rhodiola Rosea extract? What the hell are those? They're not something that normal people would know. I'm a student of food science, and I don't know what those are and what their functionalities are.

And.. that's why we need Wikipedia. It's not the best website for accuracy, but it's a good place to look for possible leads to more accurate sources. I found them, it's quite a long reading, but if you want a summary, scroll down to the next paragraph after the explanation on Rhodiola rosea.

The cation appears in the head groups of phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, two classes of phospholipid that are abundant in cell membranes. Choline is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is involved in many functions including memory and muscle control.Choline must be consumed through the diet in order for the body to remain healthy.[6] It is used in the synthesis of the constructional components in the body's cell membranes. Despite the perceived benefits of choline, dietary recommendations have discouraged people from eating certain high choline foods, such as egg and fatty meats.

Some species, notably E. senticosus (Siberian ginseng), are used for herbal medicine.

Rhodiola rosea may be effective for improving mood and alleviating depression. Pilot studies on human subjects[2][3][4] showed that it improves physical and mental performance, and may reduce fatigue.

After reading Wikipedia, I suddenly remembered that I learned about choline in my psychology and human physiology courses. Eleutherococcus is basically a family of ginseng (not sure which ginseng). Rhodiola rosea.. I'm not sure what kind of root it is, but it's supposed to help physical and mental performance. 

Why use such a complicated term any normal person will not understand? I don't know.

80 Calories doesn't sound too bad, but all of them seem to come from 20g per 8.4 fl oz (250 mL) of sugar.  Seems legit because 1 g of sugar gives you 4 Calories. So is it considered high?

Comparing sugar level is a little hard because different beverages have different serving size, so the best way to compare is to find the concentration of the sugar by dividing the mL serving size by the weight of the sugar (so that leaves the unit in g sugar / mL drink). 

For example, this one has 20/250 = 0.080 g sugar / mL. 
Teh Pucuk Harum, a fairly new bottled sweetened tea in Indonesia, has 26/350 = 0.074 g sugar / mL.

Of course, it's a little difficult to compare these numbers when you go to stores, unless you really have nothing to do and you decide to take out your calculator / phone and start calculating the sugar concentration of each drink. Like a geek. Or an overly health conscious person.

But what is there to be ashamed of? You are responsible for what you eat. The company provides the list; you decide whether to buy it or not to buy it. The labels are there for you to look at.


Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but please comment responsibly :)