Most people know about the neon orange beverage called Sunny Delight, shortened to SunnyD. Not quite orange juice and nowhere near as nutritious, but unforgettably tasty and a nostalgic reminder of our childhoods. Now the same beverage company has introduced a new drink (or rather a makeover), which is called SunnyD X. So millennial.
What’s up with the X?
It’s a step away from the SunnyD people know (and love), but marketed as a carbonated energy drink for teenagers. And it’s not just any energy drink loaded with products that jerk your body into caffeine overdrive. According to SunnyD, this is a drink that offers 100% vitamin C and that boost of energy we all know these still-growing teens need without all the junk found in “adult” energy drinks. The can somewhat resembles the Sprite logo with bold, in-your-face type, an explosion of colors and a bubbly background to suit the tagline, “Solar Power. Intense Taste.” SunnyD X comes in three flavors: fruit punch, lemon lime and orange. Again, it boasts of being full of vitamin C and and seven B-vitamins, and who doesn’t like vitamins? But the main selling point of this beverage is the fact that it is caffeine and taurine-free, two main ingredients found in typical energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster. Caffeine is a stimulant, and taurine is thought to give a boost in athletic performance. Controversial studies also state that caffeine combined with taurine improves mental performance, hence why energy drinks can be found all over college campuses.
Something’s not adding up..
It seems odd to label SunnyD X as an energy drink when it lacks the two common ingredients that make energy drinks, well, energy drinks. If there is no caffeine and no taurine, then what is it that makes SunnyD X what it claims to be? Apparently, SunnyD X makes up for those by using 100% pure sugar as their alternative. Yes, that’s right—all 50 grams of pure, healthy, energizing sugar. For some perspective, SunnyD alone has 30 g of sugar. SunnyD X has nearly twice as much.
It’s weird, but OK.
Giving it the benefit of the doubt, SunnyD X just might be tapping into a market niche that can sell supposedly healthier, safer versions of energy drinks to a young audience. It is becoming more and more unsurprising that youth stay up late and want something to keep them up. On top of that, research has said taurine is not the safest thing to ingest. The tests done on taurine’s effects on the human body (not lab rats) are limited. Thus, sugar as a more “natural” product, does seem to be a relatively healthier substitute. With these things in mind, SunnyD X can be a better, if sugary, option for teens who are guzzling down these kinds of drinks anyways. If we’re being completely honest though, SunnyD X is merely a carbonated, sugar-saturated drink that is hardly different from soda, only with a different and misleading label. Beware, kids.