Energy Drinks: Safe As Coffee But Somehow Lethal

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned manufacturers of caffeine powder that it considers their products, which are sold as dietary supplements, to be “adulterated” because they pose “a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury under the conditions of use recommended or suggested in the labeling.” That conclusion, while arguable, was not completely far-fetched, since measurement errors involving pure caffeine, which is meant to be mixed into beverages, can easily lead to uncomfortable and even life-threatening overdoses. “The difference between a safe amount and a toxic dose of caffeine in these pure powdered products is very small,” the FDA notes. “Safe quantities of these products can be nearly impossible to measure accurately with common kitchen measuring tools.”

(Image: Hard Rhino)

But Washington Post reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha latched onto the FDA’s warning letters as an excuse to attack products that are not only much less potent than caffeine powder but in most cases contain less of the stimulant than coffee does. Under the headline “How America’s Love Affair With Caffeine Sparked a Crisis of Overdoses—and What the FDA Is Trying to Do About It,” Cha writes:

There was a time when getting your daily dose of caffeine meant a simple cup of coffee or tea.

Poured into a ceramic mug, the steaming liquid tended to be enough to give most people that extra burst of energy to get out the door. Back then, you’d have to drink a heck of a lot—81 cups of brewed coffee, or 317 cups of black tea, for the average 195-pound U.S. male—to reach a lethal dose. So while you might still get the occasional shakiness, nausea and fast heartbeat associated with ingesting too much caffeine, you were highly unlikely to die from it.

But somewhere along the way, caffeine became an obsession, a need for many Americans; and an entire industry sprang up to try to make caffeine ingesting more efficient.

The clear implication is that the products Cha is about to discuss are in some important way more dangerous than coffee, which is true of caffeine powder but not of the energy drinks and caffeinated gum that she lumps together with it. Cha specifically mentions Red Bull and Monster Energy, which contain, respectively, 9.5 milligrams and 10 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce. Starbucks coffee contains twice as much caffeine per fluid ounce. Cha also mentions Jolt gum, which contains 45 milligrams of caffeine per piece, compared to about 165 milligrams in a “short” (eight-ounce) Starbucks coffee.

Here be Monsters. (Image: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

For some reason Cha’s list of new, worse-than-coffee products also includes Stay Awake, which is Walmart’s version of NoDoz, a product that has been around for more than half a century. Both contain 200 milligrams of caffeine per tablet, making them as potent as a 16-ounce Starbucks iced coffee. Fun fact: NoDoz’s slogan used to be “Safe As Coffee.” 5 Hour Energy, which Cha also mentions, likewise contains 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving.

Cha claims “the new products have led to an alarming public health development in recent years that was unheard of in the many previous decades that people enjoyed caffeine: a rash of thousands of overdoses and reports of addiction and withdrawal.” Cha apparently has in mind calls to poison control centers, because later she mentions that “poison centers across the country logged 1,675 reports involving energy drinks” in the first half of this year. To put that in perspective, poison control centers receive more than 46,000 exposure calls a year involving plants and more than 66,000 involving vitamins.

Another indicator of problems with caffeinated products is “adverse event” reports to the FDA. In November 2012 the FDA said it had received a total of 60 “adverse event” reports related to Monster and Rockstar energy drinks (two of the leading brands) since 2004—an average of six or seven a year. By comparison, the FDA receives thousands of such reports about aspirin each year and hundreds about coffee.

It’s true that not every bad experience with caffeinated products is reported to the FDA, but it’s also true that such a report does not prove causation. It simply means someone experienced symptoms after consuming the product; it does not necessarily mean the product caused the symptoms—a point that is especially important to keep in mind when people die after consuming a particular product.

Cha mentions “a 14-year-old with a heart condition” who “died after going into cardiac arrest shortly after she drank two caffeinated energy drinks in 24 hours” in the same paragraph as “a 19-year-old Connecticut resident who took a dozen caffeine pills” and “a healthy Ohio teen” who “died after consuming powdered caffeine.” Lumping these cases together is misleading because they involve different products and dramatically different caffeine doses.

The 14-year-old, Anais Fournier, drank one 24-ounce can of Monster Energy, then another one a full day later. The total amount of caffeine was 480 milligrams over two days, nowhere near a lethal dose, which is something like 10,000 milligrams for an adult. Fournier would have gotten more caffeine from two 16-ounce Starbucks coffees.

Scared yet? (Image: Craig Warga/Bloomberg)

By contrast, the Connecticut teenager, James Stone, consumed something like 2,400 milligrams in one sitting, still less than a fatal dose but five times Fournier’s two-day dose, while a postmortem test of blood from the Ohio teenager, Logan Stiner, found that it contained 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter—above the lethal level. Yet Cha, following in the footsteps of alarmists like New York Times business reporter Barry Meier, presents these three examples of caffeine consumption as if they were equally risky, implying that you are taking your life into your hands every time you consume an energy drink.

The biological absurdity of that fear is apparent from a 2013 meta-analyses of 23 studies that looked at the association between coffee consumption and cardiovascular health. It found that the lowest cardiovascular risk was associated with drinking three to five cups of coffee a day. An eight-ounce cup of coffee (the usual definition in these studies) typically contains between 100 and 200 milligrams of caffeine. Assuming an average of about 150, three to five cups contain 450 to 750 milligrams of caffeine.

In other words, the upper limit of the healthiest consumption range in these studies is equivalent to more than three 24-ounce cans of Monster energy drink per day. Lower limits may be appropriate for teenagers or for people with pre-existing cardiovascular problems. But it is nothing but cheap scaremongering to suggest that energy drinks pose a potentially lethal threat to the average consumer.

Addendum: Cha’s article was republished by The Independent on September 8, under the puzzling headline “Thousands Overdosing on Caffeine As Coffee Crisis Sparks Call for Urgent Action.” In addition to implying that every call to a poison control center represents a life-threatening event (when in fact most calls involve minor incidents that do not require medical attention), the headline suggests that the article is all about the danger posed by coffee, which of course it isn’t—although Cha’s lack of concern about coffee makes no sense if the issue is too much caffeine.

Caffeine overdose is a real thing and it’s extremely dangerous, especially with temptation legally hiding anywhere from the coffee shop on the corner to the cans of energy drinks in the vending machines at the gym, grocery store, and even some public schools for kids. Caffeine can kill, and it’s exactly why a calculator has been designed by Caffeine Informer to inform consumers when it’s time to cut off.

Caffeine acts as a stimulant in the body and has some beneficial aspects to it too, as it’s been found as a potential protector against Parkinson’s disease and even some forms of cancer. But according to the calculator, if you weigh 125 pounds and drink down 106.64 cans of a standard Red Bull, you’ll actually just die. If you don’t know your weight and you’re off by 5 pounds and actually weigh 120 pounds, those four extra cans will kill you because you’ll only be able to suffer through 102.38 cans of Red Bull. Frighteningly enough, only 53.32 cans of Monster Energy Drink will kill a 125-pound person, and it’ll take four times the amount of a classic Coca-Cola until you finally drop dead.

You don’t need as much caffeine as the popular 24-ounce Monster energy drink cans contain to reap some of the proposed health benefits, or their rival Red Bull, which contains around 80 milligrams (mg) of caffeine in one 8-ounce can. While up to 400 mg of caffeine a day is completely safe for most adults, according to Mayo Clinic, but that’s really the equivalent to a couple cups of coffee, or 10 cans of soda, or just two energy shots. Children should steer clear of any caffeine. There’s really no reason for a child to be exposed to that much caffeine in sugar-laden energy drinks or teeth-staining coffee.

“Safe doses of caffeine are usually quoted at around 200 to 300 milligrams, or two to four cups of coffee per day,” Dr. David Seres, associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University, said. Tip over that amount by just 200 to 300 mg and it’s considered a heavy pour that causes side effects such as insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, stomach upsets, abnormally fast erratic heartbeat, muscle tremors, and in severe cases, seizures and death.

You know you’ve overdosed if you’re feeling tremors or shaking throughout your body, which are the signs preceding the more life-threatening side effects. The overdose happens when the body’s central nervous system is thrown into a state of over-stimulation called caffeine intoxication. They body will actually expel the caffeine when it signals to itself it has had too much, just as the body would try to get rid of an alcohol overdose.

There’s even a powdered form of caffeine used by some teens to boost workouts, energy levels, or stimulate weight loss. Poison control officials are requesting the Food and Drug Administration to restrict the increasingly popular caffeine powder because it’s so highly concentrated that kids are making homemade caffeine-laced concoctions at home.

How Many Energy Drinks Would It Take to Overdose?

Packed with caffeine, sugar, and other fancy-sounding miracle ingredients like taurine and unicorn tears, energy drinks promise to help you stay awake, boost athletic performance, and give you wings (maybe).

Sure, these promises seem a little far-fetched, but anyone who’s had one or two of these drinks in a row knows that too many of them can make you a jittery mess.

So at what point does your regular energy drink become dangerous? If caffeine is technically a drug, then is it possible to overdose on caffeine-laced energy drinks?

What’s in energy drinks that might kill you?

Energy drinks get their energy mostly from caffeine, about 50mg to 250mg per can. But most formulas contain other energy-producing ingredients, such as guarana (another stimulant), ginseng (herbal supplement supposed to help with energy and mental function), and B vitamins (also for energy).

These fizzy beverages also tend to be packed with lots of sugar to make them tolerable. Although 20g to 30g of sugar in a serving isn’t necessarily deadly on the spot, too much of the sweet stuff can lead to a whole host of life-threatening issues, such as diabetes, metabolic disorders, and heart disease. Sure, there are sugar-free varieties, but those are just laced with artificial sweeteners instead; not exactly a marked improvement.

But in terms of an overdose and what can kill you the fastest, the most dangerous of all these magical ingredients is the caffeine.

How much would you need to be fatal?

Caffeine affects everyone differently, which is why some coffee addicts are able to down three cold brews before work and be fine, and other weaklings are reduced to shaking in the fetal position after one shot of espresso. The more caffeine you ingest, the more you develop a tolerance (and a mild dependence) to it, so it becomes harder to elicit that jolt of energy with each dose.

Even for the most caffeine-dependent person, there are still side effects that set in after too much — usually more than 300mg (about three cups of coffee). Signs you’ve gone overboard are the usual suspects, like nervousness, jitteriness, and heart palpitations.

But to reach the fatal levels of caffeine intoxication, someone would have to take in 10g, or 10,000mg. That’s when the really scary stuff starts to set in.

“Your blood pressure, your heart rate, your temperature all go up really, really high,” says Dr. Adam Splaver, clinical cardiologist and co-founder of NanoHealthAssociates. “You can go into cardiogenic arrest, and shock, and die. Some people can even have a heart attack.” All from a totally legal drug.

So is it possible to die from energy drinks?

It’s technically possible, but to reach the 10g level of caffeine would require a lot of energy drinks. One 8.4oz Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine, so it would take 125 cans of Red Bull to overdose on the caffeine alone. That’s 1,050oz of liquid; considering fatal water intoxication occurs after around 6 liters (about 202oz) in a short period of time, it seems the liquid would kill you before the caffeine, right?

Not quite, says Dr. Splaver; water intoxication occurs when the body experiences a sudden dilution of electrolytes due to the massive intake of water. Energy drinks contain electrolytes, so water intoxication may not apply.

What about the sugar? Most energy drinks are packed with copious amounts of sugar — that 8.4oz can of Red Bull has a whopping 26g. You know sugar is bad for you for a whole host of reasons, but Dr. Splaver says it’s actually pretty tough for a healthy person with a normal pancreas to go into what’s called a hyperglycemic coma from too much of it.

If you’re diabetic, on the other hand, the high sugar content would kill you before the caffeine, although both together are a bad combo. “Diabetics are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Splaver warns. “So you’re kind of playing with matches… if you’re overdoing it with sugar, and of course the caffeine.”

For a normal, healthy person who could literally stomach up to 125 cans of Red Bull, it would be the 10g of caffeine that would be the kiss of death, Dr. Splaver insists, not the sugar or the water. He adds that energy drinks are fine “once in a blue moon,” but a couple cups of coffee would be a healthier alternative.

Moral of the story: It is possible to OD on energy drinks, but it takes a LOT. Like, more than any human could probably ingest at once. Just be careful of the more caffeine-concentrated energy shots, pills, and beverages. The negative effects of caffeine start appearing at around 300mg to 500mg, and ingesting any more will just make you feel sick. Plus, nobody will want to be around you if you’ve turned into a shaking ball of anxiety.

What’s the Difference Between Red Bull and Monster?

Energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster, have certain drawbacks that should be carefully considered before you decide to drink them regularly.

An 8-ounce (240-ml) serving of Red Bull or Monster provides only slightly less caffeine than the same amount of coffee.

Up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is generally safe. Still, drinking more than four, 8-ounce (240-ml) servings of energy drinks per day — or two, 16-ounce (480-ml) cans of Monster — may cause negative effects due to excess caffeine, such as headache or insomnia (9, 10).

In addition, more research is needed to fully understand the risks and benefits of consuming large amounts of some of the other energy-boosting components in energy drinks, such as taurine (11).

Particularly in younger people, excessive energy drink intake has been linked to abnormal heart rhythm, heart attack, and — in some rare cases — death (1, 12, 13).

Energy drinks are also high in sugar, which is associated with obesity, dental problems, and type 2 diabetes. For optimal health, added sugars, such as those in energy drinks, should be limited to no more than 5% of your daily calorie intake (14, 15, 16, 17).

According to the Red Bull website, a classic 8.4-ounce (248-ml) can of Red Bull contains 27 grams of sugar. This equates to nearly 7 teaspoons of sugar.

Monster contains 28 grams of sugar per 8.4-ounce (248-ml) can, which is comparable to Red Bull. Drinking just one of these energy drinks daily can cause you to consume too much added sugar, which is bad for your overall health (2).

Because of these downsides, children, pregnant women, and those with heart problems or sensitivities to caffeine should avoid energy drinks.

In fact, most people should avoid these beverages or limit their intake. Instead, try to consider healthier alternatives like coffee or tea to boost your energy levels.

Summary Energy drinks are full of sugar, and excessive energy drink consumption may lead to problems from excessive caffeine intake. Children, pregnant women, those with heart problems, and caffeine-sensitive people should avoid these beverages.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are widely promoted as products that increase energy and enhance mental alertness and physical performance. Next to multivitamins, energy drinks are the most popular dietary supplement consumed by American teens and young adults. Men between the ages of 18 and 34 years consume the most energy drinks, and almost one-third of teens between 12 and 17 years drink them regularly.

There are two kinds of energy drink products. One is sold in containers similar in size to those of ordinary soft drinks, such as a 16-oz. bottle. The other kind, called “energy shots,” is sold in small containers holding 2 to 2½ oz. of concentrated liquid. Caffeine is a major ingredient in both types of energy drink products—at levels of 70 to 240 mg in a 16-oz. drink and 113 to 200 mg in an energy shot. (For comparison, a 12-oz. can of cola contains about 35 mg of caffeine, and an 8-oz. cup of coffee contains about 100 mg.) Energy drinks also may contain other ingredients such as guarana (another source of caffeine sometimes called Brazilian cocoa), sugars, taurine, ginseng, B vitamins, glucuronolactone, yohimbe, carnitine, and bitter orange.

Consuming energy drinks raises important safety concerns.

  • Between 2007 and 2011, the number of energy drink-related visits to emergency departments doubled. In 2011, 1 in 10 of these visits resulted in hospitalization.
  • About 25 percent of college students consume alcohol with energy drinks, and they binge-drink significantly more often than students who don’t mix them.
  • The CDC reports that drinkers aged 15 to 23 who mix alcohol with energy drinks are four times more likely to binge drink at high intensity (i.e., consume six or more drinks per binge episode) than drinkers who do not mix alcohol with energy drinks.
  • Drinkers who mix alcohol with energy drinks are more likely than drinkers who do not mix alcohol with energy drinks to report unwanted or unprotected sex, driving drunk or riding with a driver who was intoxicated, or sustaining alcohol-related injuries.
  • In 2011, 42 percent of all energy drink-related emergency department visits involved combining these beverages with alcohol or drugs (such as marijuana or over-the-counter or prescription medicines).

Bottom Line

  • A growing body of scientific evidence shows that energy drinks can have serious health effects, particularly in children, teenagers, and young adults.
  • In several studies, energy drinks have been found to improve physical endurance, but there’s less evidence of any effect on muscle strength or power. Energy drinks may enhance alertness and improve reaction time, but they may also reduce steadiness of the hands.
  • The amounts of caffeine in energy drinks vary widely, and the actual caffeine content may not be identified easily. Some energy drinks are marketed as beverages and others as dietary supplements. There’s no requirement to declare the amount of caffeine on the label of either type of product.


  • Large amounts of caffeine may cause serious heart and blood vessel problems such as heart rhythm disturbances and increases in heart rate and blood pressure. Caffeine also may harm children’s still-developing cardiovascular and nervous systems.
  • Caffeine use may also be associated with anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems, and dehydration.
  • Guarana, commonly included in energy drinks, contains caffeine. Therefore, the addition of guarana increases the drink’s total caffeine content.
  • People who combine caffeinated drinks with alcohol may not be able to tell how intoxicated they are; they may feel less intoxicated than they would if they had not consumed caffeine, but their motor coordination and reaction time may be just as impaired.
  • Excessive energy drink consumption may disrupt teens’ sleep patterns and may be associated with increased risk-taking behavior.
  • A single 16-oz. container of an energy drink may contain 54 to 62 grams of added sugar; this exceeds the maximum amount of added sugars recommended for an entire day.

The Energy Drink of the Month is Caffe Monster Energy Coffee.

Monster Energy hit US markets in 2002 and helped establish the energy drink stereotype: “energy drinks are dangerous concoctions with high amounts of caffeine and sugar”. It’s hard to deny this stereotype is still applicable, however, there are a growing number of caffeinated beverages which don’t fit this mold. What happens when one of the energy drink companies responsible for the Energy Drink Boom comes out with one of these not-quite-an-energy-drink alternatives?

I declared myself a biochemistry/chemistry major in 2003 – right at the beginning of the Energy Drink Boom. Fascinated by these drinks and all the fears surrounding their use, I’ve applied my education (and basically all my free time) toward understanding the science behind energy drinks and their ingredients. After 10+ years in this field, I believe parents have a right to be concerned about energy drinks, but that concern needs the right context to do anybody any good. How concerned should we be about the safety of Caffe Monster Energy Coffee?

For this month’s in-depth review, we’ll examine Caffe Monster Energy Coffee ingredients and how this drink compares to a stereotypical energy drink, as well as a similar beverage from a big-name coffee brand.

First, a look at the what’s in this coffee-energy drink hybrid.

If you’re not here to geek out with me over the food science, then the most important thing to know about Caffe Monster is it has 150 milligrams, total, from the arabica coffee, green coffee beans, and Coffeeberry®.

Since Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar are the leading energy drink brands, I chose these brands and their original flavors and sizes for the comparison chart above. Note all three brands are below the EFSA’s caffeine safety limits. While all three brands offer different flavors and different can sizes with different caffeine amounts than what is used here, those other flavors and sizes are not as popular or prevalent. The caffeine content in one bottle of Caffe Monster (150 mg) is about the same you’d get from two cans of Red Bull, one can of Monster Energy, or one can of Rockstar Energy. And, SURPRISE – you could also drink one 8-oz cup of coffee or one Tall Starbucks Cold Brew to get the same amount of caffeine that’s in Caffe Monster.

Many people believe energy drinks have dangerously high levels of caffeine – some of them do, but it’s not the ones you would think. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded healthy adults can have up to 400 mg caffeine per day and 200 mg per occasion . Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar all have less than the 200 mg limit. There are some flavors of Rockstar with 240 mg caffeine per 16-oz can but it’s the energy drinks most people have never heard of which come perilously close to this 400 mg per day limit.


But what about the sources of caffeine? This is often a source of concern regarding the safety of energy drinks versus coffee. In this case, that concern is moot. Caffe Monster only has caffeine from natural sources: Arabica coffee beans, coffeeberry, and green coffee beans. These three sources are not something you’d expect from a stereotypical energy drink.

While Coffeeberry® is only present in teeny amounts, it’s encouraging to see this in an energy drink. Coffeeberry ® has some fascinating science behind it – which I’ve summarized in this post here.

Green coffee beans are also a pleasant surprise for an energy drink. If you’ve ever wondered about how green coffee beans are different from, you know, “regular” coffee beans, come geek out with me over here, in this article.


Before we get into any conversation remotely related to the safety of “chemicals”, it helps to do a side-by-side comparison of this Monster Caffe drink and the drink it seems to be imitating: Starbucks bottled Frappuccino.

Since I am a food scientist, I have a different stance than most consumers when it comes to ingredients like cellulose and artificial sweeteners/flavors. If you do not want artificial sweeteners or flavors in your diet, I fully respect that! I, personally, have not seen enough evidence to convince me of any health risks behind consuming (in moderation) artificial flavors or sweeteners like the Sucralose used in Caffe Monster.

The same goes for sodium citrate and cellulose ingredients: I don’t want to shame anyone who chooses to cut these plant fibers out of their diet. Too often, cellulose ingredients are described as “wood pulp” or “sawdust”, which is both over-dramatic and misleading. If you are avoiding cellulose ingredients, I hope it’s not solely because of these names. The EFSA considers these ingredients safe, so that’s good enough for me.

  • Sodium citrate and it’s less-scary-sounding sibling citric acid are naturally found in citrus fruits. They’re used in beverages to help control the acidity or pH level.
  • Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), also called “cellulose gel”, is used to thicken a food or drink to make it the perfect texture.

In terms of caffeine safety, neither Starbucks bottled frappucino nor Caffe Monster is appropriate for those under 18.

  • Starbucks bottled frappuccinos do not declare the amount of caffeine on the bottle. This is a problem because, if you had no idea the Starbucks Bottled Frappuccinos had different caffeine contents per flavor, you’d be in for an unpleasant surprise switching from the Vanilla flavor (75 mg) to the Coffee flavor (130 mg caffeine).
  • All flavors of Caffe Monster have 150 mg caffeine per bottle, which again is too much caffeine for those under 18, but at least it’s consistent and declared on the bottle.
  • If you’re over 18, you can have up to 200 mg caffeine at a time and 400 mg caffeine per day. Both Caffe Monster and Monster Energy drinks are under these caffeine limits, but Caffe Monster is better than the canned Monster Energy drinks because Caffe Monster provides caffeine from three different natural sources. Furthermore, both green coffee beans and coffeeberry® come with antioxidants.
  • Caffe Monster may have artificial ingredients, but it has half the sugar as its Starbucks counterpart. If caffeine safety is not an issue for you, then whether you chose Monster or Starbucks should depend on your diet preferences for sugar or artificial ingredients – this is a preference, not a safety issue.

As long as you are over 18 years old and consume these Caffe Monsters in moderation, the safety of this product is undeniable. Caffe Monster is yet another example of how not all energy drinks are dangerous concoctions of caffeine and sugar.


I’ve researched the science and safety behind energy drinks and their ingredients since 2003. This book is the culmination of my research:

  • Get your copy of MY BOOK: “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” on Amazon and NOW ON AUDIBLE***

Explore the CAFFEINE INFORMER database

  • If you’ve decided you want caffeine out of your life entirely, I HIGHLY recommend this Caffeine Informer guide: Awake: How to Quit from Caffeine for Good or this set of capsules to help you Wean Caffeine

Energy Drink Side Effects

Energy drinks can have potential side effects if not consumed responsibly or as directed. For some people, especially children, there is no safe amount of an energy drink.

This is because of the vast array of ingredients placed in energy drinks, which may make them more likely to produce negative and even deadly side effects as opposed to beverages containing just caffeine alone.

The safety of energy drinks has become a major issue as consumption has increased among children and teens.1 Some jurisdictions have even prohibited the sale of energy drinks to minors or those under 16 years of age.

Top 10 Energy Drink Side Effects

Recent research in Australia2 has highlighted the risks with the over-consumption of energy drinks. This data was gathered from 7 years of calls to the Australian Poisons Center.

Side effects listed in order of most common to least common:

  1. Palpitations / tachycardia
  2. Tremor / shaking
  3. Agitation / restlessness
  4. Gastrointestinal upset
  5. Chest pain/ischemia
  6. Dizziness/syncope
  7. Paresthesia (tingling or numbing of the skin)
  8. Insomnia
  9. Respiratory distress
  10. Headaches

The Center for Food Safety Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS) received over 140 complaints about adverse side effects from 5 Hour Energy, Monster, and Rockstar over the last 10 years. Some of these resulted in hospitalization and death. See the report here.

Energy drinks contain stimulants, supplements, herbs, and vitamins and are required to list warnings on the label about consuming more than the recommended serving.

Potential Energy Drink Side Effects from the Specific Ingredients

In moderation most adults will have no adverse, short-term side effects from drinking an energy drink, however, the long-term side effects of consuming energy drinks aren’t yet fully understood.

If you want to reduce your caffeine intake (or quit entirely), here’s how:
1.Download our book Awake(it’s free).
2. Do the Overcoming Caffeine Withdrawal course at Udemy.
3. Use the Wean Caffeine supplement (something we helped get to market). It helps you avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms that often come when quitting caffeine abruptly.

Here are the most common energy drink ingredients and the potential side effects that could result from ingesting too much.


This is the most common energy drink ingredient and one of the most widely consumed substances in the world.

Caffeine tolerance varies between individuals, but for most people, a dose of over 400mg/day may produce some initial symptoms: restlessness, increased heartbeat, and insomnia.

Higher dosages can lead to:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance (diarrhea)
  • Increased urination
  • Dizziness, irritability, nausea, nervousness, jitters
  • Allergic reactions can include; rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the (mouth, face, lips, or tongue), diarrhea, shakiness, trouble sleeping, vomiting
  • Headaches and severe fatigue from withdrawal
  • Painful withdrawal symptoms

(Read more about caffeine overdose here)

Caffeine can be found in other natural ingredients such as guarana, green tea extract, and coffee extract or can go by many other names, so be aware of this when reading energy drink labels.

Please consult the caffeine database for an exhaustive list of caffeine in energy drinks (and other drinks). This is updated weekly.

Workout-type energy drinks have become increasingly popular and most of these like Bang Energy Drink have 300 mg of caffeine in just one can. People should be especially cautious when consuming these types of energy drinks.

Adrenal Fatigue

There is debate as to whether adrenal fatigue is a real disorder, but here’s what some people think happens.

Some people can become tired even after the consumption of caffeine. This is believed to be a symptom of adrenal fatigue where the body’s adrenaline system has become overtaxed by a person’s constant high caffeine intake.

The solution is not to increase caffeine even more – but to reduce, detox, and get the adrenal glands back to a healthy state.

Remember, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact safe dose because it varies from person to person and according to a person’s tolerance and sensitivity.

See our Caffeine Safe Dose Guide here.

Between 500 milligrams to 1000 milligrams in a 24 hour period will probably lead to some of the more severe side effects.

Use our caffeine calculator to find out how much caffeine in different energy drinks would be deadly.


Most energy drinks are high in sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup and/or cane sugar. Some use creative names to make their version of sugar seem “healthier”, like “natural cane juice”.

  • High sugar drinks are linked to the obesity epidemic.
  • Sugar causes tooth decay
  • Increases risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • The sugar in energy drinks causes blood sugar and insulin spikes, which later result in a “crash-like” feeling.
  • Sugar is also somewhat addictive.


No side effects from the amount of Taurine3 in energy drinks have been documented. Some countries (France, Denmark, and Norway) originally banned energy drinks because of their taurine content, but have since accepted that taurine consumption is safe based on the evidence to date.

The amount placed in energy drinks is well below what would be needed for therapeutic benefits or for any potential side-effects.

However, in light of deaths from energy drinks, some researchers are looking at the possibility of taurine combined with caffeine as the potential cause.

B Vitamins

  • More than 35mg of Niacin (B3) can cause flushing of the skin. Intake of 3000mg or more can result in liver toxicity. The British Journal of Medicine recently published a case study of a man who consumed about 5 energy drinks a day for a period of three weeks. This caused toxic levels of niacin to build up in his body, leading to nonviral hepatitis. The unidentified energy drink in question supplied 200% of the RDA of B3. A summary is found here.
  • More than 100mg of B6 can cause sensory nerve problems (burning sensations) or skin lesions.


No major side effects have been reported, but it could cause dizziness, tiredness, headaches and an upset stomach. (src.) Ingesting large quantities has been linked to diarrhea. Large doses have been used to treat certain psychiatric disorders.


  • Some studies have linked it to sleeplessness, while others refute this.
  • Other possible symptoms include; low blood pressure, edema, palpitations, tachycardia, cerebral arteritis, vertigo, headache, insomnia, mania, vaginal bleeding, amenorrhea, fever, appetite suppression, pruritus, cholestatic hepatitis, mastalgia, euphoria, and miscarriage.


While no side effects have been reported, there’s still debate on its safety.4 Many countries including Canada, England, Germany, and France have concluded that it is not a safety concern.

Artificial Sweeteners

If you drink sugar-free energy drinks you may be consuming any number of artificial sweeteners. There is always debate around the negative health effects of these (particularly aspartame5).

However, all major health institutions regard them as safe.

Ginkgo Biloba

Gingko is a herb, and can cause some minor side effects in some people6:

  • Nausea, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, and restlessness.
  • Can interact with other medication such as blood thinners and anti-depressants.
  • A recent study found that ginkgo caused thyroid cancer in rats.


Too much of this amino acid can cause vomiting, nausea, headache, diarrhea, stuffy nose, restlessness and sleeping difficulty.7


This amino acid is derived from green tea and many energy drinks and shots have begun putting “green tea extract” in their products.

It produces a different type of alertness than caffeine and there hasn’t been any scientific evidence of it causing adverse side effects. Some have reported feeling light-headed when consuming a dose of more than 300mg of L-Theanine.8


Many fitness-oriented energy drinks are including branched-chain amino acids which are believed to help with muscle recovery after exercise. Most people don’t react negatively to a moderate dose of BCAAs, but some have reported headaches, nausea, and pain. They also could problems with people having surgery or taking other medications.

What is Safe For You?

Energy drinks probably shouldn’t be a staple of anyone’s diet and coffee is certainly a healthier source of caffeine.

However, despite a number of alarming reports of overdose in recent years, for most people, energy drink consumption seems safe in moderation.

Many of the reported side effects are anecdotal – being reported from the patient’s records. So, it’s hard to say which ingredient actually caused the problems if the patient was ingesting several combinations of these at one time.

Be Careful of Pre-existing Conditions

If you or your child has a pre-existing heart condition of any sort – they should not be consuming energy drinks.

In general, it is better to avoid the larger drinks (i.e. Mega Monster has a massive 240mg caffeine in its 24 fl oz giant can) and stick to smaller 8 fl oz cans. Also, workout focused energy drinks like Bang and Redline have much higher doses of caffeine and are not recommended unless you fully understand your sensitivity and tolerance to caffeine.

Drinking energy drink products responsibly or only using energy drinks occasionally will likely help you avoid any of the potential energy drink side effects.

Written by Ted Kallmyer, last updated on November 13, 2019

Earlier this year, a half-dozen students from City Hill Middle School in Naugatuck, Connecticut traveled with their science teacher Katrina Spina to the state capital to testify in support of a bill that would ban sales of energy drinks to children under the age of 16. Having devoted three months to a chemistry unit studying the ingredients in and potential health impacts of common energy drinks—with brand names like Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar—the students came to a sobering conclusion: “Energy drinks can be fatal to everyone, but especially to adolescents,” 7th-grader Luke Deitelbaum told state legislators. “Even though this is true, most energy drink companies continue to market these drinks specifically toward teens.”

A 2018 report found that more than 40% of American teens in a survey had consumed an energy drink within the past three months. Another survey found that 28% of adolescents in the European Union had consumed these sorts of beverages in the past three days.

This popularity is in marked contrast to the recommendations of groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Sports Medicine, who say youth should forgo these products entirely. These recommendations are based on concerns about health problems that, although rare, can occur after consumption, including seizures, delirium, rapid heart rate, stroke, and even sudden death. A US government report found that from 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks more than doubled, to nearly 21,000.

Of these, approximately 1,500 were children aged 12 to 17, although the number of visits from this age group increased only slightly over the four years.

For their part, energy drink manufacturers argue that they are being unfairly targeted. At the Connecticut hearing, the head of public affairs for Red Bull North America, Joseph Luppino, maintained that there is no scientific justification to regulate energy drinks differently than other caffeine-containing beverages such as soda, coffee, and tea—particularly when some coffeehouses serve coffee with a caffeine content exceeding that of a can of Red Bull. “Age-gating is an incredibly powerful tool,” Luppino said, and should be reserved for “inherently dangerous products” like nicotine.

The showdown in Connecticut, which pitted the City Hill students against a growing $55 billion a year global industry, was the latest in an ongoing debate about the safety and regulation of energy drinks. In recent years, countries such as the United Kingdom and Norway have considered banning sales to young people, while Lithuania and Latvia have active bans in place. In the US, along with Connecticut, state legislators in Maryland, Illinois, and Indiana have introduced bills, though none have been signed into law. A South Carolina bill to ban sales to kids under 18—and to fine those caught selling them to minors—advanced through the legislature in April, and is now pending before the state’s full medical affairs committee. It is supported by the parents of a 16-year-old who died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event after consuming a coffee, a soda, and an energy drink within a period of two hours.

As the regulatory status of energy drinks continues to be debated, a growing number of consumers and public health advocates are asking why and how a product loaded with caffeine and other stimulants became so popular among young people. The reasons are a mix of lax regulation, the use of caffeine as a sports performance enhancer among adults, and a bit of scientific uncertainty.

According to sports cardiologist John Higgins, a professor at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston, there is also another factor: “very, very intelligent advertising.”

Historically, government agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration have struggled to regulate beverages with added caffeine. Though it offers some guidance, the FDA allows manufacturers of liquid products to decide on their own whether to market their products as dietary supplements, or as conventional foods and beverages, which carry differing regulatory requirements. All three major energy drink makers now have most of their products regulated as foods, rather than dietary supplements—though that wasn’t always the case.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in a review published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, note that lack of consistency is partly due to our long love affair with drinks in which caffeine is naturally occurring, including coffee and tea. In 1980, citing health concerns, the FDA proposed to eliminate caffeine from soft drinks, which are regulated as foods. The manufacturers, however, claimed the caffeine was a flavor enhancer. The FDA approved caffeine, but limited the maximum content of cola-type soft drinks to .02%, or roughly 71 milligrams per 12-ounce serving.

“If caffeine had not been accepted as a flavor enhancer, but had been regarded as a psychoactive ingredient,” write the Johns Hopkins researchers, “soft drinks might have been regulated by the FDA as drugs”—which are subject to additional regulations.

When energy drinks first appeared on the American market in the late 1990s and early 2000s, some manufacturers claimed the products were neither drugs nor conventional foods, but dietary supplements. Drugs with caffeine require warning labels, but dietary supplements don’t. “It is a striking inconsistency that, in the US an stimulant medication containing 100 mg of caffeine per tablet (e.g. NoDoz) must include warnings,” write the Johns Hopkins researchers, “whereas a 500 mg energy drink can be marketed with no such warnings and no information on caffeine dose amount in the product.”

As early as 2009, sports and medical organizations began issuing position statements discouraging energy drink consumption by young people. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that energy drinks “are not appropriate for children and adolescents, and should never be consumed.” Further, the group warned that adolescents might mistakenly use energy drinks, rather than sports drinks like Gatorade, for rehydration during physical activity. “Advertisements that target young people are contributing to the confusion,” wrote the authors.

Two years later, in 2013, questions about safety and marketing came to a head in the halls of Congress. Three Democratic senators launched an investigation into the marketing practices of energy drink companies. They found that adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 are frequent targets of energy drink marketing, and stated in a written report that “this population is also at risk for the detrimental impacts of energy drink consumption.” The report also noted a range of claims not evaluated or substantiated by the FDA. For example, the makers of AMP Energy marketed the drinks as helping to “energize and hydrate the body,” while advertisements for Red Bull promised “increased concentration and reaction speed.”

(As it happens, a few months before the senate hearing, Monster Beverage Corporation and Rockstar Inc. announced their intention to follow in the footsteps of Red Bull by declaring their products to be foods, rather than dietary supplements.)

Among those providing testimony at a committee hearing was Jennifer L. Harris, a researcher at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, currently housed at the University of Connecticut. She and her team had conducted an earlier study of how sugary beverages are marketed to children. “What we learned about energy drinks stunned us,” she said at the hearing.

Energy drink companies had been pioneers in using social media to market their products, said Harris. At the time of her study, Red Bull and Monster Energy were the fifth and twelfth most popular brands on Facebook—a platform that was, at the time, particularly popular among college students and adolescents. Further, said Harris, “energy drink brands often promote teen athletes and musicians and sponsor local events, where they provide free samples, including to minors.” The marketing is effective, she noted. Sales of most other beverage categories were declining, but energy drink sales had increased by 19% the previous year, reaching $8 billion in 2012.

The energy beverage industry vigorously defended its products and marketing practices. In his congressional statement, Rodney Sacks, CEO of Monster Beverage Corporation, noted that a 16-ounce can of Monster Energy contains 160 mg of caffeine. In contrast, the equivalent amount of Starbucks coffee contains 330 mg—more than twice as much. Further, Monster cans include a label recommending against consumption by children. (According to guidelines put forth by the American Beverage Association, a trade group, energy drinks should not be marketed to children under 12, and other leading brands such as Red Bull and Rockstar carry similar labels recommending against consumption by children.)

Further, Sacks and representatives from Rockstar, Inc. and Red Bull North America denied that their companies advertise to young teenagers. Doing this, said Sacks, “would undermine the credibility of the brand image in the eyes of young adults,”—nominally their target consumer demographic.

Not everyone buys this. A 2017 study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, for example, tested whether young consumers perceived energy drink advertising as being targeted at people their age and younger. Researchers at the University of Waterloo randomly assigned over 2,000 Canadians aged 12 to 24 to view one of four online ads for Red Bull. Among the youngest subjects—those aged 12 to 14—nearly 72%of participants who viewed an advertisement featuring the company’s sponsorship of the X Games, an extreme sports event, perceived the ad to be targeted to people their age and younger.

The University of Waterloo researchers compare energy drink marketing practices with those of 20th-century cigarette companies. “While tobacco advertising was ostensibly targeted only at adults,” they write, “it nevertheless achieved very high levels of reach and appeal among young people.”

Further, and perhaps not surprisingly, across all age groups, 71% of those who were shown a Red Bull ad with a sports theme—the X games, for example, or an image of an airborne snowboarder with accompanying text reading “RED BULL GIVES YOU WIIINGS”—thought the ad they viewed promoted the use of energy drinks during sports.

This is a problem, says Matt Fedoruk, chief science officer at the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Though his organization is perhaps best known for its role in testing Olympic athletes for banned substances, it also promotes a positive youth sports culture. Fedoruk says they field questions about energy drinks from athletes of all ages.

“Caffeine is the most studied ergogenic aid on the planet,” says Fedoruk, and its use is widespread among elite athletes. Research has even produced recommended guidelines for ingestion prior to exercise. But these guidelines were developed for adults. Young people who try to follow them could quickly surpass the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for adolescents: no more than 100 mg of caffeine per day, or roughly the amount in a typical cup of coffee. Further, because energy drinks are manufactured in adult serving sizes, says Fedoruk, it’s easy for a child to get too much. “Depending on the product you choose, you could definitely be dosing your young child or youth athlete in doses that far exceed what may be safe for their body weight and size.”

When it comes to youth athletes, “our experts recommend both water and sports drinks as the best options for hydration,” writes Danielle Eurich, a USADA spokesperson. Athletes exercising less than an hour probably don’t even need sports drinks, she adds. “Water would be best.”

Last year, John Higgins, the sports cardiologist, ran a small study in which healthy medical students downed a 24-ounce can of Monster Energy. Ninety minutes later, the students’ arteries were measured to test their ability to bounce back—or dilate—after being compressed by a blood pressure cuff. Dilation helps control blood flow, increasing circulation when necessary, including during exercise. In this study, the medical students’ blood flow was “significantly and adversely affected,” says Higgins.

Higgins suspects that the combination of ingredients—the caffeine and other stimulants such as guarana, taurine, L-carnitine, along with added vitamins and minerals—interferes with the endothelium, a thin layer of cells that control dilation. But he can’t say for certain because there hasn’t been enough research. Higgins’ own study was preliminary and lacked a control group. Further, a recent review by a group of Harvard researchers noted considerable limitations to the existing energy drink literature. Most studies, the authors found, used small sample sizes or employed a cross-sectional design, which isn’t able to determine causation. Large longitudinal studies, meanwhile, require time and money.

Higgins says the main reason there is no evidence of safety is that energy drinks are not classified by most countries as drugs. “They are classified as supplements, additives, or whatever.” Until more data are available, Higgins’ opinion is that energy drinks should be avoided before, during, and after exercise. Anyone under 18 should avoid them entirely, he says. This recommendation has been endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Yet at the Connecticut hearing, Red Bull’s Joseph Luppino insisted that there is ample evidence of safety. He referenced the European Food Safety Authority, which conducts food-chain risk assessments for the European Union: “They have unequivocally concluded there are no synergistic effects between the various ingredients that are contained in energy drinks.”

When asked for a comment, the European agency pointed to its 2015 report, and a spokesperson explained the findings: In general, the combination of substances typically found in energy drinks “would not affect the safety of single doses of caffeine up to 200 mg.” Individuals who might drink a 16-oz can of Rockstar, or a 24-oz can of Monster containing 240 mg of caffeine plus other stimulants were not considered by the analysis. The EU agency spokesperson also issued a caveat: There wasn’t enough data to determine whether other common energy drink ingredients like guarana and taurine influence the acute effects of caffeine on blood pressure.

Monster and Rockstar did not respond to repeated requests for comment. When asked about the discrepancy between Luppino’s characterization of the European report and the agency’s own characterization of its findings, Erin Mand, a spokesperson for Red Bull, pointed to particular passages in the report that suggest the safety of particular ingredient combinations up to 200 mg of caffeine. She additionally noted that “its single-serving products fall under 200 mg of caffeine.”

The American Beverage Association also did not respond to specific interview questions, but did provide this statement: “Energy drinks have been enjoyed by millions of people around the world for more than 30 years, and are recognized by government health agencies worldwide as safe for consumption. The amount of caffeine in energy drinks is typically half the amount found in a coffeehouse coffee and is no different from the caffeine found in other foods and beverages. Further, America’s mainstream energy drink companies have taken voluntary steps to ensure their products are not marketed to children.”

In the spring of 2017, Gary Watts, the coroner for South Carolina’s Richland County, released the autopsy results for Davis Cripe, the teenager whose death spurred the South Carolina bill to ban sales of energy drinks to minors. The cause of death: a caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia. “Typically you don’t see the results of an arrhythmia in an actual autopsy because there’s no real damage to the heart,” Watts said.

After Cripe collapsed at school, a staff member who had previously worked as a nurse in a cardiac unit diagnosed a cardiac arrhythmia.

“Who’s to say that this hasn’t happened before?” says Watts, whose office has performed autopsies on other young adults who died of sudden death. “It probably has—it’s just that we’ve not been able to document with someone on the scene at the time who says, ‘Okay, this is an arrhythmia.’” Watts believes there are too many uncertainties about energy drinks to say that they are safe for adolescents. “I’m not trying to get rid of energy drinks,” he said. “I know a lot of people use them. But I do think that the age is a concern that everybody needs to be really serious about.”

As for the Connecticut bill, it has not moved out of committee, but in mid-May, the City Hill Middle School students and their teacher returned to the state capital to lobby lawmakers. They shared informational brochures created by the students, as well as informal results from a survey of students and parents, indicating widespread support for their bill among the latter. In the meantime, the students say, their siblings and peers continue to consume energy drinks—on soccer fields, in dugouts, in front of video game consoles.

“It’s so interesting,” City Hill student Emily Fine said of energy drink makers and their products, “how they still put them on the market.”

This article was originally published on Undark. Read the original article.

Do Energy Drinks Affect Weight Loss?

Do energy drinks really give you wings and help you slim down at the same time? Although energy drinks are often marketed for weight loss, science suggests otherwise. If you find yourself reaching for the Monster and Red Bull more often but aren’t seeing any progress in your weight loss, it might be time to consider making some dietary changes.

Energy drinks are not the weight loss miracle drink you think they are. Let’s talk about how these seemingly harmless beverages can actually pack on the pounds.

Why You Gain Weight

Gaining or losing weight can be simplified to the calories in versus calories out equation. If you consume more calories than you burn off, you eventually gain weight and vice versa. Unless you cut about 200-500 calories from your diet, you will be unable to lose weight. Many people think that skipping a meal and consuming an energy drink can help create that deficit, but energy drinks are devoid of nutrition and high in empty calories. Consuming 2 or more energy drinks a day can push you over the recommended daily intake, inadvertently leading to weight gain.

Energy Drink Nutritional Facts

Energy drinks have a surprisingly high-calorie count per serving. Since many of the worst offenders contain more than 1 serving in a single can, you oftentimes get way more calories than you think. For example, a generic 24-ounce energy drink can have around 450 calories. Even smaller 16-ounce drinks can pack a whopping 220 calories.

Most of those calories come from sugar. Even if you think 250-450 calories is no big deal, that same energy drink contains up to 78 grams of sugar per serving. 78 grams is equivalent to 20 teaspoons of sugar every single time you crack open on of those drinks. To put this into perspective, if you want to burn off 30 grams of sugar from one energy drink, you need to do 30-35 minutes of burpees.

A 2014 study from Harvard Medical School found that eating too much sugar increases your risk of dying from heart disease, as well as raising your risk of diabetes. In fact, if more than 25% of your calories come from sugar, it can potentially double your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Caffeine & Other Factors

Now, caffeine is generally healthy in small amounts. Drink too much, however, and it can become extremely toxic. Since energy drinks usually run around 70-100 mg of caffeine per serving, one drink will not do extensive damage; but if you drink multiple cans a day in an attempt to reduce your hunger pangs, you might experience unpleasant side effects like:

• Caffeine addiction
• Irritability
• Muscle twitching
• Insomnia
• Heart palpitations (tachycardia)
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease
• Stomach ulcers
• Headaches
• Anxiety and nervousness

For some people, too much caffeine can even lead to increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Others die from excessive consumption. Take the case of Anais Fournier as an example. Fournier had mitral valve prolapse, a condition present in every 1 in 20 Americans. It only took 2 energy drinks to kill her.

Sugar-Free Energy Drinks

You might be thinking, “It’s cool. I’ll just pick up the sugar-free brand!” Don’t. Seriously. Nothing is worse for your weight loss efforts than sucking down a chemical maelstrom, okay? And that’s exactly what sugar-free energy drinks are. Although these drinks have on average less than 12 calories per 8-ounces, they are chock-full of artificial sweeteners like aspartame that are linked to diabetes, gut microbiome disruptions, obesity, and have even been found to hinder your metabolism.

Is that really worth it?

Energy Drinks and Athletic Performance

To answer the question above, guzzling down energy drinks is not worth your time, especially if you have been fooled into thinking a Monster is going to boost your athletic performance. There have been multiple studies, including one that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition that found athletes who consume energy drinks experience more insomnia and anxiety than those who do not. Other studies find that the only boost you receive from the caffeine is short-term, while some report zero enhancements to performance.

In short, you are consuming excess sugar calories, messing up your blood sugar, and do little for your athletic performance by drinking energy drinks.

Recommended Alternatives To Energy Drinks

There are better alternatives to energy drinks that have zero negative side effects. Take the energy-enhancing supplement line up from Gaspari. The following three products contain all-natural ingredients that are known to enhance your energy without adding empty calories, such as ginseng, black and green tea extracts, vitamin B-12, and Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA).

Let’s have a closer look at the recommend alternatives.


Gaspari Nutrition formulated HYPERAMINO to help you push through the toughest of workouts and even ramp up your protein synthesis before, during, and after your session. Using a unique blend of BCAAs, green tea extract, guarana, and taurine, you get a rush of energy from natural, sugar-free sources, along with the hunger-crushing effects of green tea to promote satiety. HYPERAMINO comes in several delicious flavors but with no added sugar.

SuperPump MAX

What a dose of antioxidants alongside a rush of energy? Reach for Gaspari Nutrition’s SuperPump MAX. With only 10 calories per serving and a broad array of vitamins and minerals, SuperPump MAX is an ideal energy drink for your weight loss and fitness goals. The formula is a blend of BCAAs for energy and protein synthesis. Furthermore, SuperPump MAX has been proven through clinical research to enhance your performance with no crashes. It’s the pre-workout you have been waiting for.


What makes AMINOLAST your first choice for a post-workout BCAA supplement? For only 10 calories, you get a delicious energy-boosting drink with calcium, magnesium, zero sugar, and no synthetic colors. The formula gives you quality BCAAs that help reduce the feeling of fatigue, enhance alertness and performance, and can even accelerate your recovery.

The Bottom Line

The energy drinks you find on the grocery store shelf are your mortal enemy, no matter how good they appear to be. With ingredients full of chemicals, sugar, and an overload on caffeine, you are getting more calories than you bargained for. Not only does this add more calories to your intake, but it can lead up to energy spikes and crashes that negatively impact your effort. If you want energy that is going to last and burn clean, then you should research for BCAA supplements from Gaspari as well as natural alternatives.

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The post Do Energy Drinks Affect Weight Loss? appeared first on Gaspari Nutrition.

Having trouble buckling up your pants?

That might be a gentle reminder that it’s time to get back to your diet routine and weight loss efforts.

You might be worried that sticking to a strict diet or trying to lose weight means quitting energy drinks.

Don’t worry, you can still continue drinking energy drinks while losing weight.

In fact, energy drinks may even be beneficial for weight loss because they contain caffeine.

Let’s get started.

Energy drinks and weight loss

All energy drinks contain caffeine. Some contain a sensible amount, others contain crazy amounts of caffeine.

Drinking caffeine increases your metabolic rate and resting energy expenditure.

While drinking caffeine alone may not be sufficient to cause you to lose weight, there is good evidence to show that drinking caffeine in combination with exercise does have very good effects on the rate at which you can lose weight.

Therefore, simply due to the fact that energy drinks contain caffeine, they can be beneficial for weight loss.

I want to warn you against falling for some of the marketing messages from certain energy drink brands. Some brands claim that their unique and special blend of ingredients aid weight loss.

If you look closely at the science you’ll find that the only evidence to support their claims relate to caffeine, which is present in all energy drinks.

Proceed with caution whenever you see health claims that seem too good to be true.

Some energy drinks contain a scary amount of sugar, while others contain little or none.

Sugar is really bad for you if you are trying to lose weight. Even if you’re not actively taking steps to lose weight you should be trying to keep your simple sugar intake to a minimum.

If you’re serious about losing weight you should look for some of the sugar-free options.

I know a common concern about sugar-free energy drinks is that they don’t taste as good, which may be true. But, believe me, after you switch for a couple of weeks you won’t even remember what the sugar-filled versions tasted like and you will probably come to prefer the sugar-free versions.


Why spend more money than you need to?

Everyone loves getting a good deal, and making healthy food choices is often more expensive than eating fast food. However, when it comes to energy drinks, there are some great options that are more affordable than you might expect.

More on that later..

If you want to lose weight, avoid the following

• Sugar

Sugar is a carbohydrate therefore, the body will naturally choose to burn sugar instead of fat as a source of energy. But guess what, if you don’t eat any carbs or sugars your body will have no choice but to burn fat for energy.

If you’re trying to lose weight, that’s a good thing.

Any sugar that you eat that isn’t burned, will be converted into fat. That fat is then deposited in various locations around your body. This is counter-productive if you’re trying to reduce weight. Healthline suggests that 25g-37.5g of sugar is the maximum amount that we should be consuming each day.

Therefore, I would recommend you to avoid sugary foods and try to consume energy drinks with low or no sugar.

This is an important point, because it’s far too easy to reach for a sugar-filled soda and consume way more sugar than you realize. This is why sugary drinks are so bad for your health – because it’s really easy to consume a scary amount of sugar in a very short space of time.

This will be key to ensuring that your dedication to your diet and goals are unimpeded.

• Processed food

Refined carbohydrates, fats, sugars, and salt make up processed food. Besides that, processed food contains a lot of calories. None of that sounds like anything we should be consuming while trying to lose a few pounds.

Processed food is generally considered to be even worse than sugar. If you’re contemplating losing weight, you really should steer well clear of processed food due to the sheer amount of refined carbohydrates in it.

Does caffeine help in weight loss?

Yes, caffeine indeed helps with weight loss.

Caffeine has always been an ingredient used in both commercial weight loss supplements and pills.

Caffeine increases the rate of metabolism in your body which in turn helps to burn fat faster. Therefore, it is useful in providing a quick boost of energy to your body both physically and mentally.

Furthermore, this energy can be used while hitting the gym to burn all those calories/fats away!

But again, consuming caffeine alone is not likely to result in you losing weight. You need to combine caffeine with exercise to get results.

Is caffeine an appetite suppressant?

No, caffeine is not effective as an appetite suppressant.

While some research has been conducted that shows people who drank caffeine consumed 10% less food at a breakfast buffet than those who did not drink caffeine, the same study also shows that the effects did not last throughout the day.

It also appears that consuming caffeine does not have any impact on someone’s ability to estimate their appetite.

The bottom line is that caffeine may result in you eating slightly less in a single meal, but it does not have lasting affects and should not be relied upon as an appetite suppressant.

Can you drink energy drinks while on a diet?

There are lots of very good energy drinks out there to choose from.

There are many energy drinks that contain a ridiculous amount of sugar. However, there are many energy drink brands or versions of energy drinks that are either completely sugar-free or ones that contain negligible amounts of sugar.

The latter will contain less added sugar and lower calories. Therefore, you could consume these low-cal energy drinks without worrying, while trying to lose weight.

If you want to know more about the healthiest energy drinks, you really need to check out my other article where I go into a lot of detail on the topic.

Do energy drinks increase metabolism?

Yes, energy drinks contain caffeine, which increases your metabolic rate.

Therefore, energy drinks increase your metabolic rate.

However, don’t be tricked by some brands of energy drinks that claim to have some kind of secret or unique recipe that means their energy drinks magically causes you to lose weight.

If you look closely at the facts, you’ll always notice that the health claims that they make are because of the inclusion of caffeine in their list of ingredients.

That’s not unique to any particular brand of energy drink.

Can you lose weight by drinking Red Bull?

Drinking only red bull cause more harm than good

According to NZ Herald, a lady lost close to a total of 99lbs (45kg) in 8 months, while taking part in a Red Bull Diet. (Insane! or is it?)

What’s a Red Bull Diet?

Red Bull diet is when you only drink Red Bull. Each day, she drank around 10-14 cans of Red Bull without any breaks in between. This went on for weeks, up to eight months.

According to the lady, Red Bull helped to suppress her appetite, which helped her to lose weight. However, she said that it affected her sleep cycle and sleep in general.

I’m not surprised. Yikes, that’s a lot of caffeine!

The consequences?

A minor heart attack and ongoing health problem led her straight to hospital. She was diagnosed by the doctors to be addicted to Red Bull and was experiencing severe withdrawals from it which included shaking, nausea and sweating.

The verdict.

Yes, you could apparently lose weight by drinking Red Bull.

But should you?

No and a big NO at that!

Please don’t even contemplate trying the Red Bull diet. I personally think that it’s very unhealthy for you to just drink any brand of energy drink. You also need a balanced diet to get other nutrients.

An average person should only be consuming a maximum of 400mg of caffeine per day. That’s guidance direct from the FDA.

A can of 8.4 fl oz of Red Bull contains around 80mg of caffeine. Multiply it by 10-14 – that’s around 800-1,120mg of caffeine each and every day. That’s 2-3 times the recommended daily amount.

This is an extreme example, but it does showcase the potential dangers of abusing energy drinks.

There are many other alternatives out there to lose weight, which are tried and tested and more importantly, they don’t cause you health problems.

Monster energy drink weight loss

Regular Monster energy drink is unlikely to help you lose weight due to the high sugar content in my opinion.

Of course, if you run a caloric deficit and are careful to not consume simple sugars elsewhere in your diet, it’s theoretically possible to lose weight while drinking a daily can of Monster, but there are probably better ways to go about losing weight.

For starters, you could swap the regular Monster with a low-cal version from the Monster range. Monster are aware that not everyone wants a mountain of simple sugars in their energy drinks, so they have made some sugar-free versions for the health conscious.

I wrote an entire article on the topic of whether Monster energy drink is bad for you which you should check out before making the switch to Monster.

Or, if you’re wondering about the differences between Red Bull and Monster, I covered everything you need to know in an article too.

Best energy drinks for weight loss

Do natural flavorings, artificial sweeteners, or carbonated water sabotage your weight loss plans?

Currently, there is no legitimate evidence that shows that energy drinks are unhealthy when it comes to losing weight. However, it must be noted that there isn’t any research that suggests that they help with weight loss either – besides the fact that they contain caffeine.

Hence, I will be recommending energy drinks based on the assumption that natural flavorings, artificial sweeteners, and carbonated water don’t hinder weight loss.

• MatchaBar hustle unsweetened energy drink (sugar-free)

In my opinion, I consider this to be one of the most healthy energy drinks out there in the market. It gets bonus points because I’m a huge fan of anything Matcha!

One of the reasons why it’s so highly rated is due to the use of ceremonial grade matcha as the main ingredient in the drink. Their ingredients include monk fruit, green tea extract, lemon extract, lime extract, lactic acid, chlorophyllin, and water.

In addition, MatchaBar advertises its product as containing a natural antioxidant which supposedly helps with weight loss by improving energy levels and metabolism.

The Japanese consider matcha to be a healthy drink and to be helpful for weight loss.

Matcha’s benefit:

• Low in calories

• Rich in antioxidants

• Boosts metabolism

Furthermore, this particular MatchaBar product contains just 5 calories per can and is packed with 120mg of caffeine which is derived from green tea. As a result, there is enough caffeine to boost your energy levels and help you with your workouts.

Additionally, it is available in a wide variety of flavors and comes in different forms as well.

Check the current price on Amazon.

•Redbull Total Zero

Red Bull’s version of zero energy drink without any sugar and calories is a good choice if you want to lose weight.

This is one of the most popular energy drinks, known for its zero sugar and zero carbs. Its ingredients include caffeine, taurine, B group vitamins, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K and alpine water.

It contains 80mg of caffeine per can. Some of its ingredients, such as caffeine, taurine, and B group vitamins are all useful in boosting metabolism. As a result, it will allow you to burn more fat, and thus, helps to reduce weight.

If you’re wondering about the difference between Red bull total zero and Red bull sugar-free. The Red Bull total zero contains less calories than the Red Bull sugar-free version.

Check the current price on Amazon.

Check out the video below to learn more.

• Rockstar Sugar-Free

The sugar-free version of Rockstar’s original energy drink

Rockstar sugar-free consists of taurine, panax ginseng root, guarana seed extract, and caffeine which helps with losing weight. Furthermore, it contains 160mg of caffeine per 16 fl oz can.

Personally, I consider that to be too much caffeine, but maybe it works for you, so try it and see what you think.

The ingredients listed above also help to boost metabolism, which in turn helps to burn fat more quickly. As a result, this will help with your weight loss efforts.

Besides Rockstar sugar-free, there are other products which are manufactured by Rockstar which are also sugar-free:

• Rockstar Zero Carb

• Rockstar Pure Zero

Check the price on Amazon.

•REIZE (10 out of 10)

REIZE is home delivered for your convenience.

My personal favorite, REIZE is a powder energy drink that you mix with water to make an instant energy drink whenever you need it.

REIZE contains taurine, caffeine, B vitamins and ginseng extract. All of them are great nutrients for losing weight. It has 1000mg of taurine and 50mg of caffeine, which is a sensible amount that won’t blow your head off.

Taurine is an amino acid that’s beneficial for weight loss. It helps burn more fats by boosting the body’s metabolism.

Ginseng also provides energy and has been used as traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years.

With all three of them combined into a single energy drink, it provides the perfect energy boost for your body to help you with your workouts. The more you work out, the more fat you burn, the more weight you will lose.

At the bargain price of around $1 per drink including shipping, REIZE is amazing value for money. Choose from monthly deliveries or one-time purchases to suit your needs.

Give REIZE a try and you might just find that it’s the best energy drink for your weight loss journey too.

Last Updated on November 16, 2019

Woman nearly blinded by Monster energy drinks ditches habit to shed 8st

SCARE: Victoria Stean’s sugary diet was impacting her health (Image: HOTSPOT)

Victoria Stean was addicted to energy drinks, but she had to kick the habit when doctors warned her it was blinding her.

Over three years, the 24-year-old guzzled up to five cans a day meaning she was consuming an astonishing 69 teaspoons of sugar.

By the time she was 21, Victoria’s petite frame had ballooned to 19st 7lbs. But after hearing the damage energy drinks were doing to her body she vowed to shed the weight – and save her eyesight.

Now Victoria has dropped 8st and slimmed down to a svelte size 10.

*** What Red Bull does to your body will shock you ***

BEFORE: Victoria tipped the scales at more than 19st (Image: HOTSPOT)

She said: “Looking back I can’t believe how stupid I was. I gambled with my health in order to scoff fizzy drinks and junk food.”

Admin assistant Victoria had struggled with her weight since childhood and aged just nine she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes which meant she had to limit her sugar intake.

But she ignored doctors’ warnings to eat healthily and continued to binge on sugary snacks and sodas.

*** Teen blames energy drinks for heart problems and two miscarriages ***

ADDICT: Victoria became addicted to guzzling Monster drinks (Image: HOTSPOT)

Victoria explained: “At 16 years old, I weighed 16st. Doctors diagnosed with me with retinopathy, a disease of the retina resulting in loss of vision.

“While the disease is common with diabetes sufferers, doctors warned me it had been triggered by my unhealthy diet.

“But I didn’t listen, continuing to scoff junk food. At school, I received cruel comments like ‘fatty’ but they never fazed me.”

During her teen years, Victoria was downing two cans of Monster Energy every day.

PROBLEMS: Victoria would have fuzzy vision after consuming sugar (Image: HOTSPOT)

She explained: “Eventually it became an addiction and soon my weight crept up to 17st.

“Friends and family saw how happy I was so they never said anything to me. By the time I went to university, I was drinking five energy drinks a day.”

Victoria’s addiction to the caffeinated energy drinks was so bad that whenever she skipped her daily dose, she became irritable and snappy.

“Ironically, I was turning into a monster myself,” she said. “I also experienced really bad headaches which would disappear as soon as I got my hands on another can.”

But what was more worrying was that her vision went blurry for a couple hours after gorging on sugary snacks and drinks – meaning she could only see two metres in front of her.

*** Energy drink addict almost died from heart attack after downing EIGHT cans ***

SLIMMER: Ditching her sugary diet helped Victoria shed the pounds (Image: HOTSPOT)

Victoria said: “I struggled in lectures to see the boards at the front of class. It was terrifying.

“Looking back, my body was giving me warnings to quit the cans, but I constantly craved the sugar. On top of my unhealthy diet, I never exercised. I was slowly killing myself.”

Shockingly Victoria was racking up 1,185 calories – nearly half of her recommended daily amount – in energy drinks alone each day.

And as her weight and eating spiralled out of control, so did her health.

TRANSFORMATION: Victoria slimmed down by 8st (Image: HOTSPOT)

She explained: “I could barely walk a couple of steps without stopping to catch my breath.

“Twice, I severely dislocated my knee because my joints were so bad – probably because I was carrying so much weight around.

“Once I was signed off work for a month because I couldn’t drive or walk.

“In May 2011, doctors told me to lose weight to improve my diabetes and referred me to a dietician but they never gave me any specific advice, simply told me to eat healthier.”

It wasn’t until Victoria met her now-fiance Jack Patterson, 23, during her degree in Photographic Practice at Northampton University that she had the wake up call she needed.

Victoria said: “I was around 18st when I met Jack, but he was never bothered by my weight. He’s always loved me the way I am.

“After a holiday to Turkey in 2013, I realised how much my weight had crept up when unflattering pictures of me were plastered across social media. I was mortified and began to feel self-conscious around Jack.

“Then I remembered the constant warnings from the doctors and realised that I needed to change, there was no way I was going to be fat and blind because I had no self-control over my eating.”

In a bid to lose weight she started by cutting out energy drinks completely – but going cold turkey meant she suffered from lots of headaches.

Victoria said: “Paramedics had to be called often as my sugar levels dropped to a dangerous level, which meant I nearly fell into a hypoglycaemic coma.

“After about six months when I’d gotten my insulin down to normal, I completely cut out all bread and junk food from my diet and became extremely strict about what I ate.”

After a year, Victoria had lost 6st 7lbs thanks to combining a healthy diet with 10 hours of training at the gym each week and now she weighs in at 11st 7lbs.

*** What sugar REALLY does to your body will shock you ***

NEW WOMAN: Victoria is barely recognisable after her weight loss (Image: HOTSPOT)

She added: “Buying small clothes still excites me and I love wearing waist-cinching dresses.

“My eyesight is stable too and by controlling my sugar intake, I hope it will stay that way. I wish I’d never been so stupid to abuse my body the way I did, but I’m glad I saw sense before it was too late.”

Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, told Daily Star Online: “In line with health authorities around the world the recent European Food Safety Authority opinion confirms the safety of energy drinks and their ingredients.

“Therefore there is no scientific justification to treat energy drinks any differently to the main contributors to daily caffeine intake including tea and coffee.

“Like all regular soft drinks there are a number of sugar-free options also available which help consumers manage their weight in a safe and enjoyable way.”

Daily Star Online has contacted Monster Energy for comment.


BREAKFAST: Four slices of toast, coffee with five sugars

MID-MORNING SNACK: Sausage roll and coffee with five sugars with energy drink

LUNCH: Large tuna sub roll, crisps, chocolate, energy drink, doughnut

AFTERNOON SNACK: Coffee with five sugars

DINNER: Huge portion of pasta

EVENING: Either McDonald’s in evening or chocolate and crisps, sometimes up to three packets of crisps or family bag of Doritos

(Energy drinks are consumed throughout the day)


BREAKFAST: Coffee with one sweetener, small bowl of cereal 30g

SNACKS: Apple and orange

LUNCH: Homemade ham or chicken salad, with no sauce, handful of grapes

SNACKS: Banana, decaf coffee with one sweetener

DINNER: Soup or vegetable juice

No snacks in evening drinks, two litres of water a day and has an occasional can of coke zero

Cheat meal once a week: Chinese or pizza, pepperoni or margarita

How Monster Energy Ruined My Health

My Background

I started as a healthy teenager. I was not fit, as in I did not engage in sports to maintain my weight, but my organs and muscles were all in good condition. I drank plenty of water and ate relatively healthy. Most of my exercise consisted of walking to and from school, which ended up being about twenty miles a week. In my adolescence, I stayed completely clean. I did not smoke and I never drank. I strived to keep myself independent of stimulants, depressants, and medications.

Shortly into my teenage life, my father remarried. My step mother had three kids, one of which made many awful health decisions. She was overweight as a child and ended up developing type 2 diabetes in her early adolescence. She was only a year younger than me, but the differences in our health were drastic. This is where my story with Monster Energy starts.

The First Sip

One day, as we were picking up my step sister from her friend’s home, she was drinking a Monster energy drink. I had always lectured her about the health effects of those types of drinks, but of course, she never listened. She continuously denied the effects of Monster and claimed that it was her favorite energy drink. She said that the rush it gave her, coupled with the delicious sugary flavor, was worth it.

“Try it,” she said. Any other time, I would have said no, but, for some reason, I cracked and decided to take a sip.

“Oh wow, that’s actually pretty good. You’re right,” I said. My stepmother leaned toward us in the back seat and told me to be careful and not to get addicted to it. I had never had a problem with addiction, even though addictive behavior did run in my mother’s side. This, however, was the first step down a very bad path.

The Downfall

Every single morning, as soon as I had awoken, I would drink one 16 oz. Monster. The serving size of these cans is half a can, but the flavor was only good enough within the first couple hours of opening it. So, I drank the entire can every single time so that I could enjoy the flavor. Now, you may ridicule me or tell me otherwise, but I was not addicted to the caffeine. What hooked me so much was the addiction to the taste. My biggest sin since childhood was my love for sugar. The taste of Monster was exactly what I loved: carbonated, sweet, and refreshing.

The caffeine itself, however, is what truly caused my horrifying experience with this substance. Yes, it is a substance. Caffeine is classified as a drug, and rightfully so. Each morning that I drank these energy drinks, I would be shaking uncontrollably within the next hour or so. I would sweat uncontrollably, my temperature would rise uncomfortably high, and my breathing would become heavy and labored. I was not delusional and convinced that everything was okay as some addicts can be. I knew I had a problem as soon as the symptoms began to show. My flaw was my addiction and my lack of willpower. I was a slave to this energy drink. I was stuck between fighting to get away from the drug and being in love with the taste.

I drank a Monster energy drink every single morning without fail for four years. Sometimes, if the cravings were really strong, I would have two a day. I would drink one as soon as I woke up and one in the afternoon. This was rare, but I still didn’t control myself.

A Heart Attack Waiting to Happen

When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and manic depression. I was on and off of my medicines, as I felt they never worked. My natural chemical imbalance mixed with my inconsistent medical schedule on top of my addiction to Monster was an absolute disaster waiting to happen. The health of my heart suffered greatly. I gained 30 lbs. as well over the course of my high school career. Monster absolutely destroyed my health. All I wanted to do was sit at my computer, playing games or watching television with a Monster in my hand. The laziness was absolutely my fault, but the Monster is what capped off the health decline. The amount of sugar in one can is 57 grams. The average healthy sugar intake for a female of my age and weight at the time is only 27 grams. I was overdosing on my daily sugar intake from one single can of carbonated drink every single day for four years. I gained 30 lbs. in this time frame, starting at a mildly healthy weight of 120 lbs., climbing all the way up to 150 lbs.

At the start of my college career, something terrifying happened. I began to pee blood. It was hard to urinate and when I did strain hard enough to pass urine, it was filled with blood. I took myself to the campus doctor and told them of my symptoms. Although the diagnosis was never officially concluded, the doctor told me: “Well, ma’am, I believe you may have yourself a kidney stone.”

My heart dropped. Why was this so terrifying to me, you ask? My father suffers from chronic kidney stones, sometimes accumulating 30 stones in both kidneys at once. He has suffered from this affliction since he was only 18. I was horrified to think that I was putting myself in the same position all because of an energy drink addiction. Enough was enough.

How did I overcome my addiction?

I quit drinking Monster cold turkey. I decided that enough was enough. I was exhausted all the time, I had frequent diarrhea and dehydration, and my heart was ready to give out at any moment. I was 20 years old and not ready to die or become obese and unable to function the way I was able to when I was younger. I quit buying Monster and refused all offers for people to buy it for me. If I needed a sugar fix in the morning, I turned to a regular soda or chocolate milk. Over time, I adopted a love for coffee with a much lower caffeine and sugar level than Monster, and have been feeling so much better ever since. I lost weight and no longer felt lethargic and bogged down. I felt cleansed and healthy after all the toxicity of the energy drinks had finally been processed out of my body. My kidneys felt so much less pain each day and I had not had another kidney stone or symptoms related to one since then.

It was hard in the beginning. Sometimes I would crack under the pressure and buy one, but I would always feel sick and guilty. As time passed, I took the quitting process day by day; hour by hour. Each day became easier and easier. Eventually, I didn’t even think about that horrid drink anymore.

In Conclusion

Monster is an extremely addictive and dangerous drink. I hope reading my story about my experience has convinced you not to try it if you have not already. If you are a fan of the drink, I hope my article gives you insight on the effects of it so that you may make educated decisions about your health regarding your consumption of Monster in the future.

I do not blame the Monster company in any way for the health defects that I have suffered from a result of consumption of the beverage. The outcome was my doing due to my lack of willpower. I am simply here to educate my readers on the dangerous effects that caffeine and sugar overdose can have on your body as a result of overconsumption of Monster.

Thank you for reading!

Did you enjoy this article? If you did, leave a tip below! It helps me pay my rent, which allows me more time to write helpful articles!

Energy drinks may be linked to frightening side effects for your heart

This could kill an energy drink lover’s buzz.

Consuming 32 ounces of energy drinks (two cans of Monster Energy Drink, made by Monster Beverage Corporation MNST, -0.61%, or just under three cans of Red Bull) in under an hour spiked the risk of electrical disturbances in the heart for as long as four hours after the drinks were consumed, according to a small study published in Journal of the American Heart Association.

Thirty-four healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 40 were randomly assigned to drink 32 ounces of one of two commercially-available (but unidentified) caffeinated energy drinks, or a placebo drink, on three separate days. Both energy beverages had 304 to 320 milligrams of caffeine per 32 fluid ounces; in comparison, a Starbucks Pike Place roast packs about 330 milligrams for 16 ounces. The placebo contained carbonated water, lime juice and cherry flavoring. The beverages were swallowed within a 60-minute period, but no faster than one 16-ounce serving per 30 minutes, so the participants weren’t chugging two drinks back-to-back.

Related: Why Coke and Amazon are chasing the energy-drink buzz

The researchers took electrocardiograms to measure electrical activity in the subjects’ hearts, for instance, the QT interval, or the length of time it takes the ventricles in the heart to prepare to beat again. They also recorded the subjects’ blood pressure. Both measurements were taken at the beginning of the experiment, and then every 30 minutes for four hours after the beverage was drunk.

The participants who gulped the energy drinks had a higher QT interval at four hours compared to the placebo drinkers, and their blood pressure increased, as well. QT intervals that are too short or too long can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias, and increased blood pressure can lead to heart failure, stroke and aneurysms by damaging the arteries and the heart.

Related: 5 things to cut out of your diet right now to reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk of heart failure

More research is needed, as this study was small, only featured healthy individuals, and didn’t take other factors into consideration (such as mixing the drinks with alcohol.) It also didn’t look at the long-term effects of energy drink consumption. But lead author Sachin A. Shah, professor of pharmacy practice at the University of the Pacific, wrote that the preliminary findings raise red flags.

Related: Bad news, meat lovers — both red and white meat could be bad for your cholesterol

“The public should be aware of the impact of energy drinks on their body, especially if they have other underlying health conditions,” Shah said in a statement. Healthcare professionals should advise certain patient populations, for example, people with underlying congenital or acquired long QT syndrome or high blood pressure, to limit or monitor their consumption.”

Neither Monster Energy nor Red Bull have responded to MarketWatch requests for comment. But the American Beverage Association defended the safety of energy drinks like PepsiCo PEP, -1.26% Rockstar brand or Coca-Cola’s KO, -0.78% upcoming Coke Energy in a statement to MarketWatch, saying: “Energy drinks have been enjoyed by millions of people around the world for more than 30 years and are recognized by government food safety agencies worldwide… as safe for consumption… America’s leading energy drink manufacturers voluntarily go beyond all federal requirements when it comes to responsible labeling and marketing practices, including displaying total caffeine content from all sources and advisory statements that the drinks are not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women, or those sensitive to caffeine.”

Related: Fat-shaming kids may make them even more overweight

A 2017 Frontiers in Public Health review of energy drink research also associated energy drink consumption with risk-seeking behavior, mental health problems, increased blood pressure, dental problems, obesity and kidney damage. “The energy drink industry has grown dramatically in the past 20 years, culminating in a nearly $10 billion per year industry in the United States,” wrote Dr. Josiemer Mattei, Assistant Professor of Nutrition based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “They are often marketed as a healthy beverage that people can adopt to improve their energy, stamina, athletic performance and concentration, but our review shows there are important health consequences, and little is known about many of their non-nutritive stimulants such as guarana and taurine.”

Indeed, it’s the combination of stimulants and sweeteners that appears to be problematic, rather than the caffeine or sugar alone.

Last fall, another American Heart Association study found that drinking just one energy drink narrowed blood vessels 90 minutes later, which increases the risk of blockages that cause heart attacks and strokes. The internal diameter of subjects’ blood vessels was much smaller after consuming the energy drink.

“As energy drinks are becoming more and more popular, it is important to study the effects of these drinks on those who frequently drink them and better determine what, if any, is a safe consumption pattern,” the paper read.

A 2018 study found 40% of teens aged 13 to 19 reported side effects from ingesting energy drinks, including heart palpitations, insomnia, feeling “jittery,” chest pain, labored breathing, and even seizures, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The U.S. military has also warned that energy drinks could do “serious harm” to troops’ bodies, and noted that soldiers in the field were more likely to fall asleep on duty if they consumed multiple beverages a day.

The global energy drink market was worth $39 billion in 2013, and is expected to hit $61 billion by 2021.

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Years of research have identified a variety of serious health risks associated with downing a couple of energy drinks, such as liver damage, increased blood pressure, tooth erosion and more.

Despite the warnings, energy drinks are still among the most commonly used dietary supplements in the United States. In fact, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “almost one-third of teens between 12 and 17 years drink them regularly.”

Now, new research to be presented at the American Heart Association’s summit in Chicago next week suggests consuming just one drink can lead to negative effects on blood vessel function.

For the study, scientists at the McGovern Medical School in Houston examined 44 nonsmoking young and healthy medical students in their 20s. They tested baseline endothelial function (or blood vessel function) and then tested it again 90 minutes after the participants consumed one 24-ounce energy drink. Endothelial function is a powerful indicator of cardiovascular risk.

” RELATED: Energy drinks pose serious and scary health risks, scientific review shows

The researchers also recorded artery flow-mediated dilation using an ultrasound that reveals overall blood vessel health before and after the 90-minute mark.

What they found was an acute impairment in vascular function after just one drink. At baseline, vessel dilation was, on average, 5.1 percent in diameter. After 90 minutes and one drink later, vessel dilation fell to 2.8 percent in diameter.

According to lead researcher John Higgins, that reduction can restrict blood flow and oxygen delivery.

” RELATED: Coroner: Caffeine overdose from soda, coffee and energy drink led to death of S.C. teen

“It’s more work for the heart and less oxygen supply for the heart. This could explain why there have been cases where kids have had a cardiac arrest after an energy drink,” he told HealthDay.

The reduction’s effects can ultimately lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke or rheumatic heart disease, in addition to other vascular diseases.

While the study is small and only examines the acute effects of energy drinks, Higgins and his colleagues believe the combination of caffeine, taurine, sugar and other ingredients are responsible for any negative effects.

” RELATED: What is Death Wish Coffee? ‘World’s strongest coffee’ soaring into space

As the American Heart Association has previously noted, “added sugars contribute zero nutrients but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity, thereby reducing heart health.”

And while caffeine has also been linked to health benefits, the recommended daily limit is 400 milligrams for adults. But some energy drinks contain more than 200 milligrams per ounce, including the concentrated so-called “energy shots.”

” RELATED: The truth about the dangers of dietary supplements

Still, industry groups argue their drinks are safe.

“Mainstream energy drinks contain about half the caffeine of a similarly sized cup of coffeehouse coffee, and have been extensively studied and confirmed safe for consumption by government safety authorities worldwide,” William Dermody, spokesman for the American Beverage Association, said in response to the study. “Nothing in this preliminary research counters this well-established fact.”

The researchers are scheduled to present their findings, considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal, on Monday, Nov. 12.

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What’s in a monster

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