Coca-Cola wanted me to be one of the first to try Enviga
Earlier this month, I blogged about the very peculiar secrecy about the new energy drink called Enviga. This brand new beverage expected to be released nationwide in January 2007 as a joint venture between Nestle and The Coca-Cola Company has generated quite a bit of speculation about what the real contents of this product they are nicknaming "The Calorie Burner."
Because of the confusion about the product just two months from being released in the United States, a marketing representative from Coke contacted me last week to see if I would like to sample Enviga for myself. I agreed, but was cautious about the contents of what they were sending to me. What would be in this energy soda? Would it have the sugar I was concerned about? If not, what would it be sweetened with? These were just a few of the questions going through my head as I waited on the arrival of the package.
When it arrived this week in a bubbly, bright-green box, I was greeted by those three tall skinny cans you see in that picture at the top of this post. My wife Christine said they looked like beer cans, but I explained to her that shape of the 12-ounce can is typical for the "energy" drinks these days. "Oh," she said.
Before I dared to try one of these Enviga drinks, I read the label like a hawk and went immediately to the nutritional information. Guess what I looked for first? Yep, it was sugar. How much sugar does Enviga have? Would you believe there was ZERO sugar? As in zilch, zippo, not a bit! WOO HOO! I'm likin' the sound of that!
So then I went to the ingredients list to see what kind of artificial sweeteners that were used--once you get past all the healthy ingredients they put in this stuff (which I'll talk about in a moment), you see what they use to sweeten it. Aspartame is the third from the last ingredient and acesulfame potassium (ACE-K) is the very last ingredient. While most people who are livin' la vida low-carb don't care much for aspartame (at least I don't!), it doesn't look like they use a large amount of it in this product. I still wish they could have sweetened it with Splenda, but we already know about Coke's position on using that sugar substitute. But that's another story.
What about those "healthy" ingredients that supposedly help burn calories in this zero carb, 5-calorie per can drink? They include the following for each can of Enviga:
According to the verbage on the can, not everyone will benefit from drinking Enviga.
"Three cans per day of Enviga have been shown to increase calorie burning by 60-100 calories in HEALTHY NORMAL WEIGHT 18-35 YEAR OLDS. Individual results may vary. Drinking more than three cans per day will not have an additional effect." (bold and capitalized are MY emphasis)
So, basically children, middle-aged and older adults, overweight and obese as well as people with any health problem don't need to drink Enviga to experience the "calorie burning" phenomena because it won't work in them. That's what Coke is saying right there on their packaging! They may not say it that explicitly, but it can certainly be inferred from that strange disclaimer on the can. And don't even think about trying to drink MORE than three cans in a day to burn more calories. It doesn't work that way, according to Coke. Okeydokey!
Coke says the ingredients in Enviga are recognized as "safe" by the FDA. What are those ingredients? I'm glad you asked. In the order from top to bottom on the can, they are:
Carbonated Water, Calcium Lactate, Concentrated Green Tea From Tea Leaves, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Sorbate and Potassium Benzoate (to protect taste), Aspartame, Caffeine, and Acesulfame Potassium
I like the heavy emphasis on the calcium and green tea and less on the sweeteners and caffeine. That is better than most of the energy drinks out on the market today which are loaded with caffeine and sugar that are decidedly unhealthy for you.
You probably want to know the answer to the $100,000 question--HOW DOES IT TASTE? They were kind enough to send me one of each of the flavors, including Berry, Peach and Green Tea. I drank all three of them for myself over several hours to give you my honest evaluation of each one.
So I took a big swig of the GREEN TEA flavor...
I really didn't know what to expect, so I was bracing myself. After an intial reaction to the less-than-sweet taste of the product (which is a good thing since most diet drinks these days are WAY too sweet), I liked it. The more I drank it, the better it tasted. I could feel a slight build-up of something on my tongue while drinking it, but the taste was pleasant enough to drink to the bottom of the can.
The same could be said about the PEACH flavor, although I am not a fan. Not bad, though, but my wife turned her nose up after one sip. She wasn't impressed, but she's used to drinking sugary sodas anyway.
Then I saved what I thought would be the best one for last, the BERRY flavor. Little did I know...
Puck-a-roo, what is that bittersweet wang in this flavor that made my eyeballs feel like popping out of their sockets?! It plumb made my face turn into Popeye the Sailor Man! Yuck-yuck-yuck! I think putting some spinach in this can would have made it taste better than this. But I will admit, it slowly (VERY SLOWLY!) got more tolerable as I drank it to the very bottom of the can. But watch out for that first swallow, it's a doozy! 8-O
When Coke rolls this product out in full force in January 2007, look for the distinctive sleek cans in individual, 6-packs and 12-packs. Each can of Enviga will have a suggested retail price of $1.29-1.49.
Obviously, there are very high hopes for Enviga and it should sell well thanks to the marketing muscle that both The Coca-Cola Company and Nestle will provide for it. If people don't expect too much out of the product and the alleged "calorie burning" hype that has surrounded it so far, then it may have a shot at reaching that target audience of people desiring a drink for their healthy lifestyle. People wanting to lose weight shouldn't put their hope in this drink.
I certainly don't see anything wrong with people on a healthy low-carb lifestyle drinking this product as part of their ongoing health and exercise plan since we all need to be consuming more green tea in our diets. This unique product may be exactly what you need to get more EGCG in your body to do the incredible thermogenesis process to invigorate your metabolism. And that would be a GREAT thing, don't ya think?!
A special THANK YOU to Coca-Cola for allowing me to try their Enviga product before it hits the shelves and share what the real deal is on this new product. I think most people will appreciate their attempts to provide a healthier alternative to the HFCS-laden garbage that has become the staple of the soft drink industry. Creating Enviga is a step in the right direction and I applaud Coke and Nestle for their efforts.
For more information on Enviga, visit Enviga.com.