We all need the occasional caffeine fix. In the morning, in the middle of the day, or late at night to study or meet deadlines.
However, with caffeinated drinks, like coffee and energy drinks, you might sometimes feel jittery if you consume too much caffeine.
This is a conundrum. Is it worth risking the jitters for caffeine or not?
The good news is that you can still enjoy energy drinks without worrying about jitters.
Let’s jump into the details.
Ingredients in Energy Drinks
Caffeine is one of the main energy-boosting ingredients in energy drinks. It’s a natural stimulant that effects our central nervous system, boosts our energy and improves our mood.
The amount of caffeine in an energy drink varies from brand to brand. Some brands have a huge amount of caffeine in them to give a powerful energy boost and some energy drinks have less.
Caffeine is the main cause of the jitters you get after drinking energy drinks, so the higher the caffeine, the more of the jitters that you’ll experience.
If you’re concerned about the jitters, you probably want to avoid some of the most powerful energy drinks on the market because of how much caffeine they contain.
Sugar is also another common ingredient in many energy drinks. However, these days there are plenty of sugar-free energy drinks available if sugar is something that you’re trying to avoid.
Sugar-free energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners instead of regular, simple sugars.
Too much sugar can also cause jitters. Therefore, it’s wise to choose a sugar-free energy drink, or at least avoid the brands that contain the most sugar.
Guarana is found in some, but by no means all energy drinks.
Guarana increases the caffeine content in energy drinks.
With a higher caffeine content in your energy drink comes a higher possibility of jittery side effects.
Caffeine tolerance and jitters
The jitters that you may experience following caffeine consumption depends on your caffeine tolerance.
The higher your tolerance to caffeine, the less likely you are to feel jittery.
Like our unique thumbprints, everyone metabolizes caffeine differently. Many factors go into our caffeine tolerance. Gender, genetics, metabolism and medical history all play a part.
Someone else may be able to drink 3 cups of coffee without any jitters, but you might feel uneasy after just a single cup.
Jitters from consuming caffeine occurs because caffeine boosts your adrenaline levels, which in turn causes your blood pressure to rise, sweatiness and jitters to appear and other symptoms of over-caffeination might also reveal themselves.
The basic rule about consuming caffeine is to listen to your body.
If you drink caffeinated beverages on a daily basis, you’ll find that your body craves them in order to function. This might be a sign that you’re becoming addicted to caffeine.
Personally, I can only tolerate between 50 and 100mg of caffeine per serve and a total of about 200mg per day. That’s about 200mg short of the recommended maximum daily intake of 400mg.
If I have any more than that, I know I’m likely to suffer some jitters and other symptoms of too much caffeine.
What do caffeine jitters feel like?
Jitters is a physical sensation of a rush then a sudden crash afterwards. It can cause you to feel nervous and uneasy.
The caffeine that courses through your blood stream increases your heart heart, so you might notice your heart beating faster than usual.
The jitters that you’re feeling due to caffeine can also trigger anxiety, stress or over-stimulation, that could cause you to lose focus.
Jitters are often caused from too much caffeine, but caffeine can actually help you be more alert and focused if you have a high enough tolerance.
How long do caffeine jitters last?
Depending on your body’s tolerance to caffeine, you might still be feeling jitters a few hours after drinking an energy drink.
In rare cases, the effects might still be noticeable the following day.
The maximum effect of caffeine in our body occurs 30-60 minutes after consumption. That’s when you might start to notice the jitters.
How long your caffeine jitters last depends on how much caffeine you’ve consumed and how fast your body is able to produce the enzyme CYP1A2, that metabolizes caffeine.
Caffeine’s half life is about 5 hours. Half life means the time it takes for the amount of caffeine in our body to be reduced to half. If you’ve consumed 100mg of caffeine, after 5 hours, the amount remaining in your body would be 50mg.
Contrary to some reports, you can’t flush caffeine out of your body any faster by drinking a lot of water. You need to wait for the half life to gradually remove the caffeine from your system.
Can sugar make you feel jittery?
Yes, sugar can also make you feel jittery.
After consuming sugar, you might experience a “sugar-high” whereby your blood sugar levels are elevated.
Once your blood sugar levels drop as your cells absorb the sugar, you may experience a “sugar-crash”.
That’s when you’re likely to feel jittery.
You may experience many things through the course of a “sugar-high” and “sugar-crash”, including nervousness, irritability and feeling lethargic.
Does coffee and tea give you the jitters?
Yes, coffee and tea both contain caffeine which can give you the jitters.
However, the caffeine content in tea is less and it contains polyphenol, which slowly releases the caffeine, usually resulting in less jitters compared to drinking a coffee.
Green tea has less caffeine than black teas, and the amount of caffeine depends on the length of time that you allow the tea to steep before consumption.
The caffeine content in coffee varies too.
A regular cup of coffee contains an average of 95mg of caffeine, but a venti sized coffee at Starbucks can contain up to 415mg of caffeine.
Decaf coffees aren’t always caffeine-free, and may contain up to 7mg of caffeine per cup.
If you are very sensitive to caffeine, you can, in a way, customize your caffeine intake when drinking a cup of coffee or tea in order to try to prevent the jitters.
Do soft drink give you the jitters?
Yes, soft drinks contain both caffeine and sugar, which can both trigger jitters.
Soft drinks often contain more sugar than energy drinks, thus the sugar crash you experience after drinking them is probably going to be more powerful.
Be warned, you’ll be feeling very lethargic afterwards if this happens to you.
Does Monster make you jittery?
A 16 fl.oz can of Monster Energy Drink has 160mg of caffeine, 54g of sugar and 210 calories.
The high amount of caffeine can certainly trigger jitters, especially if you have a lower tolerance to caffeine.
Also, 54g of sugar is approximately 13 full teaspoons of sugar. Not only would you probably never imagine yourself shoveling 13 teaspoons of sugar into your mouth if it wasn’t inside a drink, it’s certainly enough to cause a sugar crash and the jitters.
For these reasons, Monster may cause jitters, depending on your tolerance levels.
Both of those articles go into a lot more detail than I can include here.
Check the price of Monster on Amazon.
Does Red Bull make you jittery?
A 8.4 fl.oz can of Red Bull Energy Drink contains 80mg of caffeine, 27g of sugar and 110 calories.
I am personally OK with this amount of caffeine, so Red Bull doesn’t make me feel jittery. However, everyone’s caffeine tolerance is different, so it may affect you in different ways and make you feel jittery.
27g of sugar is still quite a lot, even though it’s less than you’ll find in a can of Monster. Depending on your tolerance to sugar, this might be enough to cause a sugar crash and / or the jitters.
If you have a lower caffeine tolerance, then you might prefer Red Bull over Monster. For more information about exactly what makes Red Bull and Monster different, check out my comprehensive article that goes through all of the important differences.
If you’re wondering if it’s safe to drink a can of Red Bull every day, check out my other article for all of the facts.
Check the current price of Red Bull on Amazon.
The journey to consuming less caffeine
I wouldn’t advise you to immediately cut off caffeine consumption cold turkey, especially if you’re used to having more than one serving of caffeinated beverage per day, be it coffee, tea or energy drinks.
Gradually reduce your caffeine intake so as to not have sudden withdrawal symptoms that can have negative effects on you.
Try to reduce your caffeine intake day by day, or seek other options, like switching from coffee to tea or decaf coffee.
If you love energy drinks, but you want to consume less caffeine, choose one that has a sensible amount of caffeine, like REIZE Energy Drink which has just 50mg of caffeine per serve.
Be aware that you might experience jitters, nausea, headaches or irritability as part of cutting off caffeine, but once you’re completely weaned off caffeine, you shouldn’t experience them anymore.
I have previously written a few caffeine-related posts that could possibly help you if this is something you’re looking into:
How to stop the jitters
To put it simply, don’t drink what you can’t tolerate.
But I understand, there are days that we really need to get by with a cup of strong coffee or a can of energy drink that contains a little more caffeine than we’re used to.
Try to reduce your caffeine intake, or try decaffeinated options like decaf coffee, or green tea, as they both have less caffeine.
In order to minimize the jitters, you can also try exercising. This will help to speed up your metabolism and work the caffeine out of your system.
Best energy drinks without jitters
Many energy drinks contain caffeine and sugar which might set you on a path for jitters if you’re not careful when choosing the brand that’s best for you.
My choice would always be ones that are lower in caffeine and sugar, just to minimize the chance of jitters.
The energy drinks that I’m recommending here are all less than 100mg of caffeine per serve, which is what I prefer.
Mountain Dew Kickstart
Mountain Dew Kickstart has 92mg of caffeine, but it does have 80 calories and 20g of sugar.
However, there are 2 sugar-free options:
- Ultra Energizing Original Dew
- Diet Mountain Dew
If you’re not that concerned health-wise, you might want to give Mountain Dew Kickstart a try.
You can check the current price of Mountain Dew Kickstart on Amazon here.
XS Energy Drink has 80mg of caffeine, 10 calories and zero sugar.
XS Energy Drink not only has 18 flavors to choose from, it also has 2 caffeine free options:
• Caffeine-free cranberry-grape blast
• Caffeine-free mango pineapple guava
That’s good news for you if like energy drinks, but are hyper-sensitive to caffeine.
One issue I have with XS is the high price. It often sells for more than $3-$4 per can, which makes it hard to justify on a daily basis.
Check the latest prices on Amazon.
REIZE Energy Drink (10 out of 10)
REIZE Energy Drink has 50mg of caffeine, 11 calories and is sugar-free.
I think you can guess that this is my all-time favorite. 50mg of caffeine is a sensible amount that doesn’t cause me any jitters.
The combination of caffeine, taurine, ginseng and B vitamins combine for a perfect energy boost, with no crash and no jitters.
It could also be a good transition drink for you, if you’ve been drinking energy drinks that have way too much caffeine and you’re on the path to less caffeine or quitting altogether.
Perhaps best of all, REIZE ships right to your door for around $1 per drink, including shipping. That’s amazing value for money.
I love the fact that I can get my caffeine fix and enjoy a nice energy boost without having to worry about any side effects or jitters.
Try REIZE Energy Drink today, and you might just find that it’s the best energy drink without jitters too.