The Rock Released His Own 'Clean and Healthy' Energy Drink: Here’s What Nutritionists Say
What you should know before placing a pre-order.
New year, new product from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. On Monday, the Skyscraper star, who has his own tequila, invested in a water brand and recently launched his second ice cream collaboration, took to his Instagram account to announce the launch of his latest venture — his own energy drink called ZOA.
“Ladies & gents, it’s our honor to introduce you to @zoaenergy 🍃. The first of its kind, CLEAN & HEALTHY energy drink that champions the everyday warriors in all of us,” The Rock captioned a video clip introducing ZOA to the world. According to the former professional wrestler, who is known for his ridiculously epic cheat meals, ZOA is a “healthy and immunity supporting energy drink” that will be available for purchase in March.
Though he didn’t provide a complete list of ingredients, The Rock noted that each serving of ZOA contains “100% Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Essential Aminos, Camu Camu, Turmeric, Antioxidants, Acerola, Choline and finally, the healthy dose of 160mgs of natural caffeine from green tea extracts and green coffee beans.”
Per a press release shared with Food Network, ZOA was created by The Rock, Dany Garcia — the first female owner of a major professional sports league in the United States — fitness professional Dave Rienzi and entrepreneur John Shulman. “ZOA is formulated to support the immune system while enhancing focus, providing pre-and post-workout hydration, supplementing amino intake and enhancing energy levels – all in a delicious drink that is an easy addition to the hustle and bustle of everyday life,” the press release explained, noting the ingredients mentioned above.
However, even though The Rock is touting ZOA as a “clean and healthy” energy drink, it’s impossible to know exactly how healthy (or not) it is without seeing the full nutrition label, especially given that energy drinks are generally packed with caffeine, sugar and calories. “In general, I have strong reservations about energy drinks – many are unregulated by the FDA, making them dangerous supplements with poor regulation and little verification of ingredients,” says Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC and nutrition consultant for Food Network. “These drinks are appealing but not a healthy way to get energy! Plus, energy really comes from calories, not stimulants like caffeine.”
Without more information, it’s hard to determine how healthy or unhealthy ZOA actually is. The website currently contains no information on calorie content or the types of sweeteners used in the product. “They mention the inclusion of several vitamins but no indication of how much, plus list ‘essential aminos’ and ‘antioxidants’ which is again, super vague,” says White.
In addition to the lack of transparency in many of these drinks, energy drinks (including ZOA) should never act as a replacement for a balanced meal. “There is certainly not a balance of macronutrients here, nor are there enough vitamins and minerals that can replace about one-third of the nutrients you would get in one meal,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, a nutrition consultant for Food Network.
According to data from the Natural Medicines Database, camu camu — an ingredient listed in ZOA — has not been tested enough to determine its safety or efficacy. Similarly, White points out that acerola, another ZOA ingredient, has been linked to several potential side effects and drug interactions.
Lastly, ZOA’s caffeine content, 160mg, is equal to about two or three cups of coffee, which may be overwhelming for some people, “especially when combined with other sources of stimulants,” says White. She adds: “And green coffee and especially green tea extract have been linked to health concerns,” such as liver injury, kidney problems and constipation.
Bottom Line: Having an energy drink, including this one, once in a while is OK, but don’t make it a habit.