Product: Energy Dots (they also have a Facebook page and Twitter)
Purchased at: Big Lots (University Place)
Price: $1.60 (originally $2.00 plus 20% off store coupon)
Marisa’s Take: There are numerous infamous examples of foods and drinks that just didn’t seem to make it: New Coke, Crystal Pepsi, Arch Deluxe to name a few. Sometimes it’s a mystery why products don’t hit it off. Unfortunately, I feel this product has several obvious reasons.
I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I picked up the box. Normally, I wouldn’t pay this much for a product to review, especially a product of which I was hesitant about the claims. When we first opened the box to photograph and eat the dots, we were greeted with strips of perforated foil and plastic pouches, each containing three dots (appearing more like pills now though). Now, I don’t want to make any judgments, but I probably would be pretty iffy about carrying around pouches of little pink tabs with just “e” printed on the outside. Maybe I’m just being paranoid.
Let's take Some Energy Dots
I’m really not a huge subscriber to the energy drink/candy/spray/pantyhose phenomenon. If I really want to have my heart race/excel in life, I’ll go for the obvious choice. However, Energy Dots have no caffeine whatsoever – the “energy” is provided by Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). A pack of 3 Energy Dots provides 7,500% of your daily value of the vitamin. I don’t know about you, but I get kind of nervous when a number on my food’s nutritional facts reaches quadruple digits. The back mentions two packs a day (6 total dots) is the daily limit. I did end up eating two packs worth on the day we tasted these, but honestly, I didn’t really feel any real energy boost. However, at most times of the day, I usually have a good deal of black coffee or tea flowing through my veins already.
Fun Fact: If you ate the entire box in one sitting, you would have consumed 90,000% of your daily recommended B12!
Energy Dots are available in one flavor – “Raspberry Lemonade”. You can definitely taste the tart citrus over any raspberries. It’s probably similar to receiving a pack of unlabeled Halloween candies while Trick-or-Treating marked “SWEET TARTS”, except the kids also go nuts afterwords because they’re so hopped up on B12.
Does that really say 7,500%?
Ben’s Take: Marisa and I were looking to mix up our product reviews when she happened across a brightly red box with a well pronounced neon yellow e on the front. It was rather surprising to see a product marketed as an energy supplement that rather proudly announced that it was “caffeine free.” There has been a trend moving away from hyper-caffeine doses in energy products (Five Hour Energy comes to mind) but really, a complete lack of caffeine? Perhaps the manufacturers of Energy Dots didn’t want their products causing any undesirable interactions. (Totally low hanging fruit.)
ALERT ALERT ALERT: BORING SCIENCE STUFF AHEAD. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. PS: NOT A DOCTOR.
Now you might wonder what wonder how a dietary supplement that promotes “energy” does this without any stimulants, and believe me, I have no freaking clue. What I can tell you is what they have shoehorned into this. Let’s start with the 450mcg of cyanocobalamin. It’s a synthetic chemical that the human body uses as a form of Vitamin B12 (Vitamin B12 is actually a group of chemicals that perform the same function inside of the human body). It’s a pretty common additive in the food and dietary supplement industry because most forms of Vitamin B12 have a rather low instance of side effects and an unestablished toxicity level. Cyanocobalamin does have a few more side effects than other forms of Vitamin B12 which can include a moderate allergic reaction, joint pain, headache, and nausea to name a few. Even it’s relatively few side effects aren’t super deadly or even very interesting which makes the whole cyanocobalamin additive pretty boring. Heck, I don’t even know why they use the stuff.
The nutritional facts on the box also lists Malic Acid, which is a souring agent, and L-Phenylalanine which is a calorie-free sweetener, and an essential amino acid. Both of these ingredients are about as unremarkable as cyanocobalamin (unless you suffer from PKU. Then L-Phenyalanine could wreck your day).
ANYWAY. Enough of that stuff. Energy Dots are just sour little Vitamin B12 supplements that really don’t have a clinically proven effect on making you energetic. They’re pretty sour and taste somewhat like a Flintstones vitamin tablet. BOOORING.