If you’ve ever been on a diet and thought, “Why didn’t I think of this sooner?” then you’re likely familiar with the concept of “energy drinks”. The idea that a drink can give you the energy you need to make it through a grueling workout and then some is one of the most common fitness myths out there. But, does an energy drink actually give you the energy you need to survive?

Energy drinks are a controversial topic. Are they healthy? Are they addictive and dangerous? Are they the answer to that long-standing question that most people never ask: what is the best energy drink? The answers are: Yes, Yes, and No. Here are all the details you need to know about energy drinks.

You want to drink five cups of coffee with 81 grams of sugar? Wow! !! It’s time for energy drinks! Once you get over the nausea, palpitations, insulin shock and chemical poisoning, you’ll feel great.

Cocaine. BooKoo. Mother. V. These are just a few of the hundreds of energy drinks available on the market today. Do these names have to be funny?  Or is it just concern?

What are energy drinks and why are they important?

In 1997, I had just passed my driving test.  And in the same year, Red Bull was launched in the United States.  In the following six years, energy drink sales in the US increased by about 465%.

In response, I always ask a question. Why would anyone need more energy?

I mean, energy levels only drop when we don’t sleep enough, don’t exercise enough, and eat poorly. Wait, I was just describing most of North America.  OK, I think I understand why people are attracted to boxed pickups!

It is interesting to note that the term energy drink is not recognized by either the FDA or the USDA. The details of the regulation of these drinks are generally quite boring. Except in the following cases:

  • In the US, an over-the-counter energy product (e.g., No-Doz) containing 100 mg of caffeine requires numerous warning labels.
  • But a 24oz energy drink from a 7-11 store with 500mg of caffeine can be sold without warning.

Energy drinks are now a $3.4 billion a year industry. The United States is the world leader in total sales of energy drinks. In 2006, 31% of teenagers in the US reported drinking. We’re talking about the estimated 8 million teens who consume potentially tooth-damaging amounts of caffeine and sugar.

What you should know about energy drinks

Have you ever heard of Red Bull?  In 2002, it accounted for about 50% of energy drink sales. Let’s break down the ingredients. It contains:

  • Sparkling water
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Taurine
  • Glucuronolactone
  • Caffeine
  • Inositol
  • B vitamins (B3, B5, B6, B12)
  • Fragrances and colours

We’ll take them one by one.

Carbonated water

It’s water dissolved by carbon dioxide. It is not very good for energy and health, but it can cause bloating in the stomach.


If your drink does not contain sugar, you will find added sugar in some form. Most drinks contain between 20 and 35 grams of sugar.

Glucose is the main source of energy for the brain, red blood cells and muscles. Drinking dextrose with caffeine can increase concentration. However, too much sugar does not lead to a lot of energy, but it does lead to a thick waistline. Oh, and tooth decay.

A 24-ounce can of BooKoo contains 81 grams of sugar. That’s as much as the average Butterfinger blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Sodium citrate

Better known as citric acid. It is a preservative that also gives a sour taste. Large quantities can cause stomach problems.  It is known to destroy tooth enamel.


It is a sulfur-containing amino acid that we can obtain from methionine and cysteine. It is mainly found in muscle tissue and in buses:

  1. Helps regulate water, mineral and homocysteine levels.
  2. Promotes the formation of bile acids
  3. Improves muscle contraction and protects against muscle stress in animals.
  4. Helps prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes, but results are mixed. Taurine worsened the fat content in the animals.

It can take a dose of almost 5 grams to see an effect. Most energy drinks contain much less.

Consumption of taurine through food or supplements has a minimal effect on blood levels, but surprisingly it remains concentrated in organs and tissues. Taurine is water soluble and is excreted by the kidneys.

The wonderful world of taurine

Those who probably shouldn’t experiment with taurine:

  1. Anyone with kidney disease. It is not easily excreted from the body and its addition can lead to accumulation in the tissues (and severe dizziness).
  2. Someone who doesn’t like the itch. The addition of taurine may cause itching.
  3. Patients with epilepsy. Taurine supplementation can cause nausea, dizziness and headaches.

Examples of taurine determination in experimental studies


This naturally occurring glucose metabolite may help reduce glycogen depletion during exercise. It can also help improve alertness. It occurs in nature in very small quantities. Once in the body, it is metabolized in the liver and excreted in the urine. That’s about all there is to say about this material.


90% of us (in the US) consume caffeine every day.  A typical energy drink contains between 50 and 500 mg of caffeine per can/bottle. 500 mg is equivalent to drinking 14 cans of cola or 5 cups of strong coffee. Call us!

How many energy drinks do you drink before you die? For more information, click here:

Caffeine is one of the most studied and effective ergogenic acids on the planet. Intake of 5 mg/kg of caffeine can improve short and long term performance.

Caffeine is a methylxanthine and acts as an adenosine receptor antagonist that can increase CNS activation and blood epinephrine levels. It can also improve muscle contractility.

Caffeine seems to be more beneficial for those who do not consume it regularly. In combination with taurine, the effect seems to be additive.

For more information, see All About Caffeine.


It is found in various foods and is essential for the transmission of the insulin signal. It can also be made by the body, so it is not alkaline.

Vitamins B

B vitamins are important for long-term adaptation to physical activity. A lack of B vitamins is bad news. But relying on a daily serving of Red Bull to cover your micronutrient needs is also pretty pathetic. Regular consumption of energy drinks is more likely to lead to toxemia (poisoning).

Toxicity of vitamin B3 aka niacinimide
: Other forms may cause skin rash, itching, glucose intolerance, nausea, liver toxicity, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Taking 750 mg per day for less than 3 months can cause liver damage.

Vitamin B5, also known as calcium pantothenate or pantothenic acid
Toxicity : Nausea, heartburn and diarrhoea may occur when taking high doses.

Vitamin B6
Toxicity: High doses of other forms can cause painful neurological symptoms.

Vitamin B12
toxicity: Unknown to the inlays. Only a small amount is absorbed orally, so the risk of toxicity is low.

Fragrances and dyes

Even degenerate nutritionists know you shouldn’t consume it regularly.

Do energy drinks really give you more energy?

Energy drinks containing sugar and caffeine can slightly increase performance. However, it was found that the sugar-free varieties were inconsistent. This may be due to the synergistic effects of caffeine and carbohydrates before exercise.

Pre-workout energy drinks seem to increase endurance and strength, but the results depend on the specific ingredients.

Energy drinks don’t really seem to improve memory, but they can improve responsiveness. This applies to both sweetened and sugar-free products.

Energy drinks and alcohol

Guess what! Excessive drinking has nothing to do with better exam results and more volunteer work at the food bank. It has been linked to injuries, sexual assault, drunk driving, liver disease and death. Not really.

Almost 25% of students report mixing alcohol and energy drinks. Make last minute changes to your will before you replace your drink with an energy drink.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and false assumptions about the degree of intoxication. In addition, alcohol and energy drinks increase blood lactate levels, blood pressure and stress hormones.

Summary and recommendations

From a health perspective, energy drinks are probably not the best idea.

An energy drink that is high in sugar is not much use unless you are participating in a long/repetitive workout. Energy drinks containing artificial sweeteners should also not be consumed. More information here: All about diet lemonade.

In terms of effectiveness, the amount of stimulating ingredients in most energy drinks is generally too low to determine the pros or cons, with the exception of caffeine.

And yes, there are still degenerates who mix energy drinks with alcohol. I would have thought that common sense would tell us how this works, but with 24% of students reporting that they have mixed these drinks in the past month, it seems that I am a fool. Energy drinks can mask the symptoms of alcohol poisoning. That means your chances of getting from the roof to the pool increase exponentially.

Also consider the budget factor. What do we spend our money on when we buy energy drinks? If you buy an energy drink three times a week, 40 weeks a year, that’s about $180.

Finally, think about why someone would want an energy drink.

  • What is their nutritional status?
  • Do they eat too much and become lethargic?
  • Do they give enough sleep?
  • Do they use a lot of drugs with side effects?
  • Do they play sports?

If you adopt these habits, you can have more than enough energy for each day.

Additional appropriation

Energy drinks deplete your water reserves. It takes about 2.5 liters of water to produce 1 liter of energy drink.

Some people use inositol as a reducing agent with cocaine and methamphetamines.

Seizures have been reported in people who consumed large amounts of energy drinks (in people with no history of seizures).

Energy drinks can increase the risk of manic episodes.

Thailand is the world leader in energy drink consumption (per person – not total number).

Caffeine has been shown to increase alcohol consumption in rats.

PowerThirst is now available in flavors such as Manana. (Joking).


Click here to see the sources of information referenced in this article.

Forbes SC, et al. The effect of Red Bull energy drink on Wingate repetition cycle performance and muscle endurance during bench pressing. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2007;17:433-444.

IFIC Questions and Answers – Energy drinks and health. July 2009.

Teens abuse energy drinks, doctors fear. October 2006.

Babu KM, et al. Energy drinks: A new eye treatment for adolescents. Clin Ped Emerg Med 2008;9:35-42.

Reissig CJ, et al. Caffeinated energy drinks are a growing problem. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2009;99:1-10.

Candow DG, et al. Effect of a sugar-free Red Bull energy drink on time to exhaustion during high-intensity running in young adults. J Strength Cond Res 2009;23:1271-1275.

Wesseling S, Koeners MP, Joles JA. Is taurine a red bull or a distraction? Hypertension 2009;53:909-91

Lovett R. Coffee: A devil’s drink? New Scientist. 2005.

Warburton DM, et al. Evaluation of the effects of a caffeine and taurine drink on mood, memory and information processing in healthy subjects without caffeine withdrawal. Psychopharmacology 2001;158:322-328.

Clauson K.A., et al. Safety issues related to commercially available energy drinks. J Am Pharm Assoc 2008;48:e55-e6.

O’Brien MC, et al. Caffeinated cocktails: Energy drink use, risky consumption and consequences of alcoholism in college students. Academic Emerg Med 2008;15:453-460.

Beck TW, et al. Acute effects of caffeine supplementation on strength, muscle endurance and anaerobic capacity. J Strength Cond Res 2006;20:506-510.

Huxtable RJ. Physiological effects of taurine. Physiol Rev 1992;72:101-163.

Hoffman JR, et al. Effect of a pre-exercise energy supplement on the acute hormonal response to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res 2008;22:874-882.

Zhang M, et al. The role of taurine supplementation in the prevention of exercise-induced oxidative stress in healthy young men. Amino Acids 2004;26:203-207.

Curry K & Stasio MJ. The effects of energy drinks alone and with alcohol on neuropsychological functions. Hum Psychopharmacol Clin Exp 2009;24:473-481.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What do energy drinks do to your body?

Energy drinks are designed to give you a quick boost of energy. They contain caffeine, sugar, and other ingredients that can cause a spike in your blood pressure and heart rate. What are the side effects of energy drinks? Energy drinks can cause a spike in your blood pressure and heart rate. They also contain caffeine, sugar, and other ingredients that can cause a crash in your blood sugar levels.

Why are energy drinks bad for you?

Energy drinks are bad for you because they contain a lot of caffeine, which can cause anxiety and heart palpitations.

What you need to know about energy drinks?

Energy drinks are a type of beverage that typically contain caffeine, sugar, and other ingredients. They are marketed as providing energy or stimulating the central nervous system. Energy drinks are a type of beverage that typically contain caffeine, sugar, and other ingredients. What are the risks of energy drinks? Energy drinks can cause a number of health problems, including: Heart palpitations Increased blood pressure Nausea and vomiting Headaches and seizures Increased heart rate What are the risks of energy drinks for children? Energy drinks can cause a number of health problems, including:

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