Energy drink with a good sustained supply of carb and a great taste, plus many other healthy attributes, but it's on the expensive side
Weight: 300g Contact: www.orbana.com
Orbana Healthy Energy is a drink powder that you mix with water. It's a combination of carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, while the bright orange packaging emphasises that no artificial colours, sweeteners, preservatives or stimulants have been added. This drink certainly provided a healthy dollop of energy, with a great taste, but it's on the expensive side.
The main ingredients of Healthy Energy drink are maltodextrin, fructose and dextrose, which the Orbana website says provide a sustained supply of energy rather than 'the dreaded spike and crash'. Also in the mix are amino acids ('delays fatigue and improved recovery'), antioxidants ('boosts immune system'), various vitamins (to 'enhance energy production' and 'aid focus'), plus various minerals which Orbana says prevents cramp and aids hydration.
An impressive selection, but does it all work? On the energy front, yes. The carb content is 44g per 50g sachet, and it nicely tops up the usual carb supply from bars and gels. On all the other ingrediants, it's hard to comment. On my test rides, I certainly felt fine and didn't go down with a cold, but I'm not sure if I can attribute that to Orbana's formula of amino acids and antioxidants.
Orbana Healthy Energy drink is available in just one flavour: a combination of orange, lemon and pineapple. It's very pleasant and refreshing. Not sticky, and not too sweet either. Apparently, the boffins at Orbana had to work hard to get a flavour that fully disguised the taste of the amino acids.
You can buy Orbana Healthy Energy drink on-line or at your local bike/sports shop. On price, a box of 16 sachets (50g each) costs about £35. A 800g tub (giving 16 servings) is about £30, so around £2 per sachet/serving, which isn't a bargain compared against other drink mix powders (High 5 and SIS, for exampole, come out at nearer £1.50 per 50g, but they're different formulas to Orbana, of course, so it's not comparing exact like for like).
Orbana's mixing instructions are a little unclear. On the individual sachets it says 'add contents of sachet to 250ml of water'. In the road.cc lab, this produced a drink with a very strong flavour and thick texture. Adding another 250ml made it much more palatable when actually riding the bike. In the end, one 50g sachet in a large bottle (750ml) was my preferred ratio.
Later, perusal of the Orbana website found this advice: "Before Exercise: Mix one 50g serving of Orbana with 250 ml of water.... During Exercise: Mix one 50g serving of Orbana with every 600 ml of water." The website also advises: 'For those requiring more energy ... you can easily double your dose and
mix two 50g/250ml servings at a time'.
So it boils down to personal preference. As with all energy products, the key is to know how much carb you want or need per hour, according to the level of exertion and your own physiology, calculate the quantities in your energy food and drink, and work back from there. On that basis, I'd recommend Orbana Healthy Energy drink as well worth a try.
Energy drink with a good sustained supply of carb and a great taste, plus many other healthy attributes, but it's on the expensive side.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Orbana Healthy Energy Drink (6 sachets)
Size tested: 6 x 50g sachets
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This is a carbohydrate-based energy drink, designed for use before or during excersise. The Orbana website strongly emphasises that this Healthy Drink delivers sustained energy and avoids 'the dreaded spike and crash'. This is a fair claim, but it's hardly unique. Although some mass-market 'energy drinks' do indeed have high sugar content that provides an instant boost, a sudden fall, and not much else, there are many other brands of energy drink that also deliver maltodextrin, fructose and dextrose in various formulas to provide a sustained supply.
The Orbaba website also says this drink can be used after exercise to help recovery, but most sports nutritionists agree that muscle recovery needs protein, as well as carb. Orbana Healthy Drink does not contain protein.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The website goes on to cover the ingredients in much more detail:
'Orbana contains a unique blend of 'mixed GI' carbohydrates and is composed predominantly of complex carbohydrates (64% Maltodextrin) rather than simple sugars (36% Dextrose and Fructose). The high GI Dextrose gives an initial lift whilst the lower GI Maltodextrin prolongs your endurance without the spike and crash.
Energy Releasing B Vitamins: Thiamin (B1); Riboflavin (B2); Niacin (B3); Vitamin B6, Folic Acid (B9); Vitamin B12; Biotin; Pantothenic acid (B5). B vitamins play a major role in converting food into energy. High concentrations of B vitamins in Orbana yield a powerful energy boost and sustain endurance. Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 are vital for good health and DNA synthesis.
Biotin and Pantothenic Acid are essential for the breakdown of fats. They are also required for optimum nerve and muscle function, as well as maintaining good health through healthy heart and digestive systems.
The antioxidant vitamins C and E promote good health by aiding the body's healing processes and protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. They strengthen blood vessel walls, which reduces the risk of heart attacks and blood clots. These antioxidants boost the immune system to prevent colds and other infections, and also improve skin health, which can reduce the signs of aging.
Amino Acids: Valine; Leucine; Isoleucine; L-Methionine; Creatine. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) can be used directly by the muscle as an energy source. This contributes to an increase in energy and endurance, allowing for longer and harder training. After exercise, BCAAs promote a fuller and quicker recovery, often with less muscle soreness. L-Methionine promotes good health by building proteins, breaking down fats and detoxifying the liver. Creatine plays a key role in energy production and muscle contraction, which helps to increase muscle fitness and strength.
Minerals & Electrolytes: Sodium; Potassium; Zinc. Potassium and sodium maintain the body's water and electrolyte balance, which protects against muscle cramps and fatigue. Electrolytes are also necessary for muscle contraction and nerve transmission. Zinc is essential for good health and the functioning of over 300 enzymes. These play a role in virtually all physiological processes including energy production, growth and bone strength."
On the prime purpose of this drink - providing energy - performance is very good. The carb content is 44g per 50g sachet, and it nicely tops up the usual carb supply from bars and gels.
At around £2 per sachet/serving, this isn't a bargain compared against drink mix powders from other brands (although they're different formulas to Orbana, so it's not comparing exact like for like).
At the time of writing, the Orbana UK website currently has a special offer of 20 sachets for the price of 16.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's hard to comment overall. Orbana Healthy Energy drink certainly provides energy. On all the other ingredients, it's hard to comment. On my test rides, I certainly felt fine and didn't go down with a cold, but I'm not sure if I can attribute that to Orbana's formula of amino acids and antioxidants.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
the refreshing taste, the carb content
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Personally, no.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
As an energy product Orbana drink is great - tasty, with a sustained supply, no ill-effects - and on that level it would score 8. It's harder to comment with authority on its health benefits, although the claims are impressive. Only the cost lets it down, giving an overall score of 7, but this might be a price you're prepared to pay if you try Healthy Energy drink and find it works for you.
About the tester
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,