This week's edition of Forbes Magazine has two articles considering 5-Hour Energy, the little red-and-yellow bottles that you see at almost every checkout counter.
As for the contents, the producer promises four calories and zero sugar with a blend of B-vitamins, amino acids, nutrients and "about as much caffeine as a cup of premium coffee." But an independent test by consumerlab.com found vitamin levels thousands of times higher than recommended daily allowances. And Forbes' lab tests confirmed the company's caffeine claims: 206 mg of caffeine in the Extra Strength 5-Hour bottles, compared to 260 mg in a tall coffee from Starbucks.
But what's most intriguing is the man that Forbes calls "the mystery monk" behind 5-Hour Energy, Manoj Bhargava, who told the magazine: "I'm probably the wealthiest Indian in America." According to Forbes, Bhargava spent his 20s traveling between Indian monasteries and still considers himself a member of the Hanslok order.
And in Bhargava's office, which according to Forbes' includes cheap furniture, he proudly displays a collection of a dozen neon copycats with names like 6-Hour Power and 8-Hour Energy, which Bhargava has successfully "sued, bullied or kicked off the market."