Energy drinks are available in canned or bottled variants, generally sold in convenience stores, grocery stores, and even in nightclubs and bars, often as add-ons to mixed drinks.
What are the nutrition facts of Energy Drinks?
When it comes to the nutritional content of energy drinks, I will share details for one 8-ounce (240 ml) serving of the Monster Energy drink.
- Calories: 110
- Sodium: 180 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 27 g
- Sugar: 27 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
The majority of energy drinks are carbonated beverages that contain caffeine. In a single serving of the original Monster Energy drink, it contains around 80 mg of caffeine, and the entire can contains 160 mg.
Take note that energy drinks also contain significant amounts of sugar and extra components such as amino acids (taurine), B vitamins, and herbal stimulants such as guarana.
When it comes to Monster Energy drink, the nutrition label lists the serving size of 8 ounces, half of a 16 oz can.
Red Bull, which is another well-known energy drink, is available in 8.4-ounce cans containing 117 calories, 8 mg potassium, 98 mg sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of sugar, and 77 mg of caffeine. It also offers vitamins B12 and B6.
A close look at the history of energy drinks
If you are eager to learn more about energy drinks, I will share tidbits of history about these beverages.
One of the popular energy drinks is no other than Red Bull. It was created by Dietrich Mateschitz, adapting it from a Thai beverage known as “Krating Daeng,” a beverage popular among rickshaw drivers in the country.
The key component in this Thai energy drink was taurine. Take note that taurine is an amino acid. It was in 1987 when Red Bull was introduced in Europe and in 1997 in the United States.
The majority of energy drinks are marketed mainly to individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 as a stimulant. This is the reason why they have names that convey power, strength, speed, and even sexuality.
Some of the popular energy drinks:
- Red Bull Energy Drink
- Monster Energy Drink
- XS Energy Drink
- Full Throttle Energy Drink
- Redline Energy Drink
- Amp Energy Drink
- Spark Energy Drink
- Rock Star Energy Drink
The caffeine content in energy drinks
The majority of energy drinks include caffeine. Red Bull, which is one of the popular energy drinks in the market, contains almost 80 mg of caffeine in each can.
It is close to caffeine’s quantity in a cup of brewed coffee and doubles the amount in a cup of tea. Other energy beverages can contain numerous times this quantity of caffeine.
The quantity of caffeine in an energy drink is not always noted in the description. This makes it hard to determine the amount of caffeine you are consuming.
Another issue of concern with energy drinks is that unlike hot tea or coffee, which is slowly sipped, it is common for an average energy drink consumer to quickly ingest large amounts.
It is important to note that some individuals are highly sensitive to caffeine. These individuals can end up with palpitations, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, irritability, indigestion, and other indications with moderately minute amounts.
Individuals who have heart conditions must avoid large amounts of caffeine since it is a stimulant.
What are the other possible ingredients?
Let us now take a look at some of the possible ingredients in energy drinks:
- Gingko Biloba. This is an herbal stimulant that some belief in improving brain function and circulation.
- Guarana. This South American herb is an additional source of caffeine.
- Yohimbe. This is a dietary supplement believed to help promote fat loss and erectile dysfunction.
- Ginseng. This herb is believed to improve overall wellbeing.
- Taurine. A natural amino acid is generated by the body that helps regulate the heartbeat and muscular contractions.
- Inositol. It helps relay messages inside cells in the body.
- Ephedrine. This is a stimulant that works on the CNS. It is a widely used ingredient in weight-loss products and decongestants.
- Creatine. This is an organic acid that supplies energy for muscular contractions.
- Carnitine. An amino acid that has an important role in fatty acid metabolism.
Some of the possible side effects of several herbal stimulants include headache, dizziness, constipation, palpitations, and skin reactions.
What are the health benefits of energy drinks?
I will now share some of the health benefits that energy drinks offer below:
- Provides an energy boost. As the name implies, energy drinks provide you with more energy. It promotes alertness, wakefulness, and productivity.
- Caffeine content. Energy drinks have standardized the amount of caffeine in every can so that you will know your intake of caffeine and ensure safe consumption.
- Quick delivery of caffeine. When energy drinks are served cold, I suggest consuming it quickly. Rapid consumption causes caffeine to reach the bloodstream quickly.
- Different flavors. Both coffee and tea do not provide a variety of flavors. With this in mind, energy drinks are ideal for those who want a boost on caffeine without drinking coffee or tea. Energy drinks are available in different flavors, as well as choices.
- Provides supplements. Energy drinks contain other ingredients such as taurine, B vitamins, glucuronolactone, and even ginseng.
- Carbohydrates. Energy drinks also contain carbohydrates, which is beneficial for those who need endurance and increasing your fitness level. The majority of energy drinks are based on carbohydrates containing 18-25 grams per 8 ounces. Take note that carbohydrates restore energy, which results in better performance, energy, and recovery.
- Replaces electrolytes. While sweating, you will lose water and electrolytes from the body. The loss of electrolytes results in poor performance and eventually, dehydration. Those who engage in long-duration sports must have higher concentrations of sodium per liter.
Proper storage of Energy Drinks
When storing energy drinks, the shelf life of unopened energy drinks can be extended by storing them away from direct heat and light sources. I recommend storing unopened energy drinks in a cool and dark area.
Energy drinks that were refrigerated continuously will stay at its best quality for 2 to 4 days after it is opened. Generally, any unopened energy drinks that are correctly stored will retain its quality for 6 to 9 months when stored at room temperature.
Let us now look at some of the necessary precautions you should know and take with energy drinks.
- A significant intake of energy drinks can lead to nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, increased urination, abnormal heart rhythms, and dyspepsia.
- Energy drinks should not be consumed during physical activity or exercise. The presence of caffeine in energy drinks works as a diuretic and leads to dehydration.
- Consuming energy drinks can dehydrate the body.
- Some energy drinks include sugar that can lead to weight gain, and excessive intake can result in irritability, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, and increased blood pressure.
Energy drinks should not be combined with alcohol.
Red Bull and vodka‘s combination gained popularity as a mixed drink at bars since it is known to reduce the depressant effects of alcohol while boosting the “feel good” buzz. Although it will not make you feel impaired, the blood alcohol concentration is elevated. As a result, people may consume higher amounts of alcohol.
The presence of caffeine in energy drinks also triggers a dehydrating effect. This can slow down the ability of the body to metabolize alcohol.
Is it safe to consume energy drinks during pregnancy?
The B vitamins are often present in energy drinks. The B vitamins are water-soluble, and if taken in large amounts, they are simply excreted via your urine.
Nevertheless, the adverse effects of high doses of B vitamins have been reported:
- Niacin or vitamin B3 can trigger burning, flushing, itching, increased heartbeat, and redness of the arms, face, and chest.
- Pyridoxine or vitamin B6 could increase the risk of hip fractures among the elderly or result in sensory neuropathy if high dose supplements were taken for long periods.
It is important to note that the ingredients in energy drinks vary from brand to brand, but some of the components you must consider are sugar, caffeine, and the additional herbs and vitamins. Many individuals who consume energy drinks take on a few cans a day or combine them with coffee or other types of stimulants.
In case you consume energy drinks in large amounts, you might exceed the recommended daily requirement for vitamins. If you regularly consume energy drinks, you must be aware of the potential risks of their ingredients.
A good example that I will share is niacin. When present in amounts higher than the recommended daily intake, it can increase your risk for harmful buildup and even toxicity.
There were also reports of other severe health conditions linked with the use and overuse of energy drinks, such as kidney disease, heart incidents, and even death. As for pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as children, they should avoid energy drinks.
Energy drinks might seem harmless and can even provide you with an instant energy boost. Sadly, the ingredients can quickly build up and increase the risk of toxicity, especially for those who consume them regularly or in large amounts. In case you are consuming energy drinks or planning to do so in the future, I suggest consulting your healthcare provider first to discuss the potential benefits and risks, especially if you have an existing medical condition or taking medications or supplements.