Energy drinks – is it safe to drink one a day? (health info)
I'm pretty sure most of us drink energy drinks whenever we're feeling tired or need some extra energy to get something done.
Some people probably also drink them just for their taste.
Energy drinks do a pretty darn good job of giving you some extra energy when you need it most. They keep you awake, gives you the energy you need to get through your day-it's like quick pocket energy solution.
Is it safe to drink energy drinks every day?
Yes, as long as you don't have a pre-existing health condition, drinking an energy drink a day won't cause you any significant health issues in my opinion.
Of course, this assumes that the rest of your diet and lifestyle are healthy and well balanced, that you're an adult, not sensitive to caffeine and are not pregnant or nursing.
But, in the vast majority of adults, energy drinks are going to be fine to include in your daily routine.
Having said that, not all energy drinks are created equal. Some of them contain massive amounts of sugar or caffeine (or both), while others are sugar-free and contain only a moderate amount of caffeine.
Energy drink health info
Most energy drinks are carbonated beverages containing caffeine, B vitamins and other ingredients.
Some might contain an absurdly large amount of caffeine and others contain a sensible amount. Always read the label so you know what you're drinking.
The same is also true of sugar.
The downside of energy drinks is that some of them contain very high amounts of caffeine and sugar.
People who are more sensitive to caffeine might experience anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and even irregular heart rates after drinking too many energy drinks.
The Ingredients in energy drinks
The most common energy drink ingredients are caffeine, B vitamins, sugar, flavors, preservatives, taurine, ginseng, guarana and other ingredients in small amounts.
However, I should mention that there are plenty of energy drinks that are sugar-free.
Most of the ingredients in energy drinks are believed to work together to boost the stimulant effect of caffeine.
However, at the moment not much is known about the effect of all the ingredients combined together on long term health.
Many energy drinks contain a lot of sugar.
For instance, a can of Monster energy contains 54g of sugar in a single can (although sugar-free options are now available from Monster and many other brands).
I'm certainly not singling out Monster here, because they do have a wide range of good products, and there are MANY other brands that contain as much or more sugar. However, I think it's safe to agree that consuming such a high amount of sugar on a daily basis is probably not great for your health.
Energy drinks and Alcohol
If you're a frequent clubber, you're probably familiar with "Jaeger bombs".
It's a mixture of Red Bull and Jagermeister. Most people say that it tastes good and gives you a feel-good buzz.
While you may not feel impaired because of the caffeine, in reality, the alcohol concentration in your blood is still the same - you just feel less drunk than you would if you didn't combine alcohol with energy drinks.
Of course, Jaegermeister is certainly not the only alcoholic drink that people mix energy drinks with. Many people like to drink vodka with energy drinks. Others have their own preferred combination.
If you are going to participate in this practice, just remember that energy drinks mask the depressant effects of alcohol, that's why you don't feel as drunk as you actually are.
As a result, you may end up consuming more alcohol than you should. It can also lead to more risky bevavior and other potential health problems, so always drink in moderation and be sensible.
Combining alcohol with energy drinks is not recommended, but let's be honest, it happens all over the world every single day.
Is an energy drink a day bad for you?
A single energy drink per day is not bad for you unless you have a pre-existing health condition, in my opinion.
Energy drinks often get a bad rap, but to be perfectly honest, the effects from drinking energy drinks are very similar to the effects from drinking coffee. But, no one seems to have an issue with people drinking coffee every day.
However, there is no doubt that excessive daily consumption of energy drinks can potentially cause some serious side effects over the longer term. We could say the same thing about coffee.
This is because many energy drinks contain tons of caffeine and sugar.
But again, so does coffee in many cases too.
The recommended maximum daily dosage for caffeine is 400mg. Furthermore, the maximum recommended daily sugar intake is 37.5g for men and 25g for women, according to the American Heart Association.
A single can of an energy drink like Monster Import puts you way over the daily recommended sugar intake and if you drink two of them you are getting pretty close to the daily recommended intake for caffeine too.
Again, Monster certainly isn't alone in this regard, I'm just using them as an example to show that it's best to drink energy drinks in moderation and to be aware of how much sugar and caffeine is included in the ingredients of the energy drink that you choose to drink.
Consuming too much caffeine can cause unwanted side effects such as insomnia, increased heart rate, migraines and even the loss of bone mass.
Sugar, on the other hand, can cause diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, premature aging and other health issues.
Recently, there are more and more great energy drinks that are sugar-free popping up that contain a more sensible amount of caffeine, yet are still able to give you a great energy boost. REIZE is my personal favorite, but more on that later...
Is it safe to drink Red Bull everyday?
Yes, drinking a single can of Red Bull every day won't cause you any issues, assuming that you are a healthy adult and that you don't have any pre-existing health conditions.
Personally, I would encourage you to consider drinking the sugar-free version, instead of the original version, but make up your own mind about whether or not you want to consume 27 grams of sugar per can (which is how much sugar there is in a regular 8.4 fl.oz can of Red Bull).
That said, if you do opt for the original version of the drink, you may develop health issues down the track from consuming so much sugar and from the daily caffeine intake. I should mention that these potential issues are rare, but they are a possibility, so check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
How many energy drinks a day is safe?
This mainly depends on what energy drink you drink and what ingredients it contains.
Some energy drinks contain an absurdly high amount of caffeine and sugar.
As I've mentioned above, the daily maximum recommended daily dosage for caffeine is 400mg, whereas for sugar its 37.5g for men and 25g for women.
Energy drinks like sugar-free Red Bull and REIZE Energy Drink are relatively low in caffeine and are sugar-free.
Therefore, if you were to drink two of them a day, in my opinion there wouldn't be any harm. But, check with your doctor.
I have personally met people who drink 5+, and even 10+ energy drinks per day and apparently don't have any health issues. I certainly don't recommend that to anyone for any reason, but it just goes to show that drinking a single energy drink (or coffee) isn't going to kill you.
What are the benefits of energy drinks?
Drinking energy drinks can be great for several reasons:
1) They provide you with a quick energy boost
This one seems like a no brainer. Needless to say, most people drink energy drinks so that they can feel more energetic than they did before.
An energy drinks' effect on your energy levels mostly depends on the strength of the energy drink and your physiological makeup.
2) You'll be more alert
This is also pretty obvious, but just minutes after drinking an energy drink you'll start to feel more alert.
Energy drinks contain caffeine which increases your attentiveness, ability to focus, alertness energy levels.
3) Improved post-workout recovery
Energy drinks can also help you to recover faster after your workout.
The carbohydrates and caffeine that are in an energy drink can help replenish some of the vital nutrients in your body that are lost through exercise.
4) Improved mental performance
Since almost all energy drinks contain caffeine and caffeine has been repeatedly shown to improve performance on a whole range of mental tasks, it's clear that energy drinks also deliver improved mental performance.
The mental tasks that can be improved by caffeine consumption include:
- Response times
- Information processing
These are some of the main benefits of energy drinks, but there are others that I haven't included in this list. I'm not blindly singing the praises of of how great energy drinks are, because they can cause some issues if they are abused, but if consumed in moderation there are also plenty of potential positives from drinking energy drinks.
What do energy drinks do to your body?
Within 10 minutes of drinking an energy drink, you may start to feel an increase in your heart rate and alertness. In order to reach the point of maximum effect and energy boost, this is because it takes about 45 minutes for the caffeine to be fully absorbed into your bloodstream.
Once in your system, caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, which is the chemical in your brain that helps you fall asleep. This then triggers increased neuron activity in your body which then forces your body to produce adrenaline. The adrenaline produced by your body causes your heart rate to quicken.
Sugar that is also commonly found in energy drinks causes a spike in your body's glucose levels.
This, coupled with the effects of adrenaline helps transport the glucose throughout your body at a faster rate. As a result, your brain thinks that you have more energy than you really do.
Hence, you'll experience an increase in energy which will generally last about 1-5 hours depending on the strength of the energy drink and your genetic makeup.
After about 2 hours, depending on your own unique physiological makeup, you might start to notice a drop in your energy levels. This is a sign that your body has completely metabolized the caffeine in the energy drink.
However, this doesn't that your body has completely gotten rid of all the caffeine. In general, caffeine has a half-life of 5 to 6 hours depending on your genetic makeup. That means it takes your body 5 to 6 hours to completely remove caffeine from its system. So, if you consume an energy drink close to your bedtime, you may have difficulty getting to sleep.
What's the healthiest energy drink?
If you are considering buying an energy drink, you probably want to get the one that works best for you.
There are many fantastic energy drinks out there, but how do you know which one to choose?
For me, I consider energy drinks that contain somewhere between 50-100mg of caffeine per serve to be ideal. This range gives you all the boost you need without blowing your head off and making it difficult to concentrate or think clearly.
I also generally steer clear of energy drinks that contain a lot of sugar, although I do occasionally have one or two here and there.
Here's a few energy drinks that meet my caffeine and sugar criteria.
*** Disclaimer - do your own research to see what works for you. These energy drinks are listed in no particular order and meet my criteria of 50-100mg of caffeine per serve and are also sugar-free. But, other people may have their own criteria. ***
The energy drink from Amway. It's an energy drink that is completely sugar-free and contains only 80g of caffeine.
The plus point of this energy drink?
It contains only 10 calories, perfect for those trying to keep an eye on their weight.
But, be warned, it certainly does not come cheap.
Zipfizz is a powder that you mix with water to make an instant energy drink. Each serving contains 100mg of caffeine. It's also sugar free.
Zipfizz does contain an absurd amount of vitamin B12, vitamin C and also contains some artificial ingredients, but I still like it because of the nice caffeine content and the fact that there are is no sugar.
You should check out my Zipfizz review article for more info if you're considering buying some.
Red Bull Sugar-Free
The sugar-free version of the world's most popular energy drink. A single can of Red Bull original contains 80mg of caffeine, while it's counterpart packs 114mg.
That's a big difference at first glance, and puts it slightly above my "optimal range", but I think it deserves a mention here anyway.
So why the big difference in caffeine content?
The original version contains 27g of sugar, while the sugar-free version contains none. Much of the energy that's provided by energy drinks comes from the sugar content. To make up for the lack of sugar, the sugar-free version contains a higher caffeine content.
It's healthier for you and still provides the same kick that you'll get from a regular Red Bull.
The new kid on block in the energy drink industry. It's a powder energy drink that comes in a very cool looking sachet - all you have to do is add water. You can even add it to soda, juice or anything else. It's incredibly versatile.
A single serving contains a sensible amount of caffeine (50mg), which is just the right amount in my opinion. REIZE is also sugar-free and contains only 11 calories per serve.
Despite being at the lower end of town in terms of caffeine strength, REIZE still gives you a great energy boost because of the combination of caffeine, taurine, ginseng and B group vitamins.
If you're looking for something that tastes absolutely amazing and contains a reasonable amount of caffeine, REIZE might be the energy drink for you.
For about $1 per drink (including shipping), it's definitely a whole lot more affordable than most other energy drinks on the market.
The above mentioned brands are all some of the best energy drinks, and are safe to drink one per day as long as you don't have any pre-existing health condition and that the rest of your diet is balanced and healthy.
Considering all factors, REIZE is my favorite energy drink and I've been drinking one a day for years. My health and fitness has never been better and my doctor agrees with me.
Give REIZE a try today and you might just find that it quickly becomes your go-to daily energy drink.