Energy drinks are drinks designed to improve physical performance and increase stamina. These drinks can make us feel more alert and energetic in the short term. Many people are not aware that drinking them on a regular basis can hurt their health over the long term.
They have become quite popular and they are highly available everywhere, produced and marketed for the general community.
As mention before, these drinks give us the feeling of more energy and make us more alert. But actually, caffeine in these drinks causes to temporal alertness, but does not enrich the body with energy.
Energy drinks contain many herbal supplements (such as taurine and guarana) and many vitamins and minerals, but the vast majority of these drinks include large the doses of caffeine. Generally, the main ingredients in energy drinks are caffeine, taurine and glucuronolactone. Caffeine in energy drinks is usually derived from guarana or yerba mate.
Guarana is a climbing plants from South America. It is considered as effective energy booster, because its seeds are rich in caffeine and contain up to 2 - 4.5% caffeine. This is about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans (1 - 2.5%). The guarana seeds are also rich in tannins and xanthine alkaloids theophylline and theobromine. Brazil is the third-largest consumer of soft drinks in the world, which produces several soft drink brands from guarana extract. In North America, guarana has recently become a popular ingredient in energy drinks.
The yerba mate plant is a tree that grows in the subtropical forests of South America. There are many brands and types of yerba mate with different strength of the flavor, depending on whether it is a male or female plant. Usually, female plants are less strong in flavor and have lower caffeine content. Caffeine in yerba mate varies between 0.7% and 1.7% (3.2% for ground coffee). This is about one-third the caffeine of coffee.
The caffeine that is found in energy drinks is exactly the same as the caffeine that we can find in an average cup of coffee, except at higher levels.
The caffeine in energy drinks raises the blood pressure. It can worsen insulin sensitivity, which is one of the major causes of diabetes and chronic illness. Also high caffeine and sugar content can cause dehydration. Some studies have shown that caffeine leads to heart problems.
Because that, high concentrations of caffeine could be very risky for certain groups of people, including those who have high blood pressure, heart disease etc. Energy drinks should not be used by people who are sensitive to caffeine or xanthines. Too much caffeine can cause sleeping problems, irritability, nervousness etc.
Children under 12 years of age should have much less than 85 mg of caffeine a day. The amount of caffeine in energy drink is more than what is recommended for children. Children who consume two or more cans of energy drinks a day may become irritable, nervous and anxious. It is not recommended that children and teenagers use energy drinks. Even young people should be careful, too.
The average amount of caffeine in most 250 ml sized cans of energy drinks is 80 mg.
Most energy drinks contain around the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, or twice as much as in the typical caffeinated soft drinks.
The caffeine content of energy drinks is not regulated by the FDA, it varied widely from brand to brand (and sometimes within brands).
Caffeine content (per 250ml or 8.45 fl oz) of some energy drinks:
|Red Bull||80 mg|
|Full Throttle||75 mg|
|Rockstar||80 - 160 mg|
|V||31 - 78 mg|
|Blue Charge||300 mg|
|Boo Koo||360 mg|
For the average person, consumption of caffeine in amounts less than 300 mg per day is considered a safe amount to consume.
But recommended limits of energy drinks is about 500 ml per day (or less for stronger energy drinks).
An 8-ounce cup of regular coffee typically has 80 to 150 milligrams of caffeine.
A can of energy drink have more than twice the content of some espresso coffee.
When used in moderation, these drinks are safe.
Note: All figures are approximate, this site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.