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Luco-saved my life
Member Name: Suzela
Advantages: Gives you a quick boost of energy
Disadvantages: High calories
Well it didn't really save my life but picture the scene - it is Sunday morning (well lunchtime) and I crawl out of bed, somehow manage to make it downstairs and open the kitchen cupboard to find my saviour in a red and orange jacket. Yes it's hangover time again (I admit I had consumed one too many shandies on the Saturday) and for whatever reason a bottle of lucozade seems to provide enough comfort for me to be able to think about food on these occasions. For this reason I decided to do a little research into this most beneficial of products and share my experience with you.
What is Lucozade?
Lucozade is a fizzy glucose based drink with a little caffeine which is designed to provide you with a dose of carbohydrate energy and following research (conducted by themselves - we have to believe them I guess!) it claims to aid concentration, focus and alertness by the using the right combination of glucose and caffeine. In fact this point has been the focus of their latest advertising campaigns.
A bit of history
Originally it came onto the market as Glucozade in 1927 having been developed by a scientist in Newcastle to provide sick people in hospital with a liquid energy source and became Lucozade 2 years later. In 1938 it was bought by Beechams (which is now part of GlaxoSmithKline PLC) and really was sold in chemists as an aid for when feeling unwell. It came in a distinctive glass bottle with bobbles on and a yellow label. This packaging and use of Lucozade as more of a medicinal rather than everyday product remained pretty much in tact until the mid 80s. I remember the days when I was off school for a few days due to illness and Mum used to take me to the doctors, go to the chemist for my prescription and pick up a big glass bottle of lucozade (ok so I am showing my age again!). It was then that the emphasis switched to replacing lost energy through sport and with the use of sports stars such as Daley Thompson (and this was pre lucozade sport waters) it became a much more accepted product to just have whenever you needed a pick me up. The success of this rebranding increased sales dramatically and a range of new flavours - orange, lemon, apple, wild berry and tropical - have been introduced to attract a new and wider customer base. By 2000 the beloved glass bottles had been replaced by the curvy plastic bottles first introduced when Lucozade managed to strike a deal with Lara Croft (well her creators at least) to promote the drink. Since then Lucozade claims to be "energizing Britain" by providing Brain and Body Energy. Here endeth the history lesson.
My Sunday morning with Lucozade
On this occasion I had the original flavour lucozade in the house. I have a 380ml bottle (you can get them in 500ml and 1 litre bottles and 330ml cans too - although I have to be honest and say that I haven't seen the cans for years) which is clear but has a red, yellow and orange plastic peel covering. Apart from the Lucozade Energy logo and Brain & Body energy at the top you have the nutritional values, ingredients and contact details as well. It is a curvy bottle which is nice and comfortable for holding and has a wide opening to enable you to chug back the contents nice and easily. The screw top is nice and easy to open and soon I am standing (well leaning against the fridge freezer) with an empty bottle having finished the contents.
Well here is where I struggle to define what this product tastes like because it tastes like lucozade. It's sweet, it's incredibly fizzy (even fizzier when cold but this was just straight out of the cupboard at room temperature) it's tangy, it's weird, it tastes a little medicinal and not particularly natural but it isn't an unpleasant taste. It's like Tizer and Irn Bru - who knows what they taste like other than themselves. I guess it is one of those tastes that you either love or hate. If I have the choice I prefer my shot of energy to be delivered via the orange flavoured product but I don't mind the original flavour. It does seem a little more therapeutic than the orange flavour (I have not tried any others) so on this occasion it hits the spot!
The original flavour is a clear orange/red colour which is provided by some very strange sounding food colours. In a glass is looks really fizzy with lots of bubbles ready to give you a refreshing wake up call. The orange flavour is an orange cloudy liquid.
Does it work?
Well yes it does for me. OK so it doesn't cure a hangover - nothing does that - but it did make me feel more alert and a little more able to cope. But this hits you after about 15 minutes. When I've had a really long day and I need to concentrate late into the evening it does appear to help me focus better than say a cup of coffee or tea which is strange because you actually get as much caffeine in a cup of tea(46mg) as you do in a 380ml bottle. So I must assume that the mix of glucose and caffeine is the key to this. The only thing I do find and I don't know if this is typical but if I have it to keep me alert and awake, I feel very peckish about an hour later. I have to try very hard not to raid the cupboards for munchies. I have no idea why this is or if it is typical though.
Nutritional, Medicinal and other interesting facts
The original flavour delivers 73 calories per 100ml and 17.9 g of carbohydrate so a small bottle (380ml) gives you 277.4 calories and 68.92 g of carbohydrate - those are quite big numbers. But of course it was designed to give you extra energy when you most need it - when you are ill and fighting off a lurgy or when you are exerting yourself. If you sit on your backside all day drinking it, it won't do you any good. Some have been known to use this as a dieting tool - this is not recommended at all.
Caution should be exercised in the following circumstances:
- Don't use Lucozade to try and rehydrate yourself after a stomach upset as it doesn't contain the right amount of nutrients to do this properly.
- Diabetics can use Lucozade as an emergency source of energy to correct low blood sugar situations but in general due to the high levels of sugar it is not recommended.
- Children under 2 should not be given Lucozade.
- if you have a sodium or potassium restricted diet you should speak to your doctor before having Lucozade.
- if you are a vegetarian only the original , orange, lemon and tropical flavours have no animal derived ingredients in them.
Lucozade is gluten and gm free and interestingly also has Halal status.
All in all this product is refreshing and does what it claims to do but unfortunately the downside is that it is full of sugar and cannot be consumed in vast quantities. I don't think I could just have this as my soft drink of choice - it has a specific job to do as far as I'm concerned and if I wanted a drink for having a drink's sake I would choose something else. I do think though that as this is such a widely available and tasty product that the key warnings to diabetics, those on sodium and potassium restricted diets and vegetarians (on the non veggie flavours) should be more readily available. It has developed from a medicinal background and that should never be forgotten.
Prices vary widely but from our sainsburys
380ml is 68p
500ml is 85p
1 litre is £1.53
Personally I think Lucozade Energy is a great product with great benefits as long as it is used sensibly.
Summary: Lots of calories but it does make you feel better!