For some people, drinking energy drinks has become a lifestyle habit rather than a supplement to their diet.
Because of their incredibly sweet taste, they have also become popular because they are as sweet as some soft drinks, while also giving you a better buzz.
But are these energy drinks actually good for you? Is it safe to drink energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster everyday?
Let’s find out.
Are energy drinks good for you?
If you need a boost of energy or to stay awake for something important that you’re doing, then energy drinks can certainly be helpful for you.
However, if you’re drinking energy drinks for fun or for their taste alone, especially in excess, then they are not really all that great for you.
Energy drinks come with some potential side effects. However, here are some of the most terrifying ones:
- Caffeine addiction
- Dehydration and weakness
- Poor dental health
- Kidney stones
- Respiratory problems
- High blood pressure
- Kidney failure
- Allergic reactions
- Caffeine overdose
- Niacin overdose
- Risk-seeking behavior
How does Red Bull give you energy?
The three main ingredients that Red Bull uses to give you energy are taurine, caffeine, and sugar.
In the US, it isn’t specified exactly how much taurine is in a can of Red Bull, but in other parts of the world a Red Bull can contains 1000mg of taurine.
According to studies done on the chemical, when taurine is combined with the other ingredients, sugar and caffeine, they come together to give you a significant boost in cognition and physical energy.
This is something that I can personally confirm. I find that consuming pure caffeine doesn’t give me as much of an energy boost as I get from the combination of caffeine, taurine and other good ingredients – although I’m quite happy to avoid the sugar!
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system into thinking that you have a lot of energy, while sugars are broken down by the body to release energy as well, which all comes together to boost your energy levels and give you the energy to do whatever you need to.
Ingredients in Red Bull
Each can of Red Bull contains the following main components:
- 110 calories
- 28g carbohydrates / 8.4 fl.oz
- 27g sugars
- 80mg of caffeine / 8.4 fl.oz
- Niacin (100% of the recommended daily intake)
- Vitamin B6 (250% of the recommended daily intake)
- Vitamin B12 (80% of the recommended daily intake)
- Pantothenic Acid (50% of the recommended daily intake)
It is not a significant source of saturated fat, fat, trans fat, cholesterol, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
There are also trace amounts of:
- Carbonated Water
- Citric Acid
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Magnesium Carbonate
- Calcium Pantothenate
- Pyridoxine HCl
- Vitamin B12
- Natural and artificial flavors
Red Bull contains a total of 80mg of caffeine per 8.4 fl.oz can.
80mg of caffeine is not actually that much, considering that the daily caffeine limit is 400mg of caffeine. In order to overdose on caffeine while only drinking Red Bull, you would have to drink at least 5 cans of Red Bull – which is a lot of liquid.
I’m certainly not advising you try to do that by the way.
However, a caffeine overdose is still quite a serious matter, because it comes with a slew of unpleasant side-effects, such as:
- Anxiety/panic attacks
If you’re drinking Red Bull, make sure that you’re aware of how much you’re consuming, and also take note of any other caffeinated substances that you’re consuming alongside it throughout the day.
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not consume this drink (or any energy drink for that matter), nor should children under the age of 18. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you should also be aware of how much you’re drinking as well.
If in doubt, check with your doctor.
Taurine is an amino acid that is found in the body and is commonly used as a dietary supplement.
Studies suggest that the combination of taurine with caffeine can be effective for the brain, but these studies are only preliminary.
There have also been other studies done where taurine seems to accumulate within the body, and is not safely removed or passed through the system. It is unclear what the effects of this may be.
How many cans of Red Bull is it safe to drink in a day?
In the US, a Red Bull can does not give any guidance on how many cans you can safely drink in a day. But, from a strictly caffeine point of view, 5 cans will get you to the 400mg daily limit for caffeine.
Another reason NOT to do that is that if you did, you would have consumed around 5 times the amount of sugar that you really should be having in a single day.
Drinking 5 cans of Red Bull means drinking 42 fl.oz of Red Bull – can you imagine your liver trying to process something filled with that much sugar and caffeine?
Having that much caffeine in your system can also make you dehydrated, which might make you want to reach for yet another can – drink some water instead when that happens.
Red Bull does have some ‘healthier’ options, but those also come with their own dangers, such as artificial sugars.
All in all, you’re probably best off sticking to a maximum of 1-2 cans per day. Unless you have a pre-existing health condition, this isn’t likely to cause you any health problems anytime soon.
Is Red Bull bad for your kidneys?
According to this study done in 2018, energy drinks – in particular Red Bull – have been shown to have serious adverse reactions on the body, including the liver and kidneys.
The potential effects range from acute renal failure, or also taurine accumulation with excess intake.
It’s safe to say that if taken over a long period of time, Red Bull might be quite bad for your kidneys in my opinion, as they try to process all the excess vitamins and sugar.
Besides that, other studies have shown that Red Bull might not be great for your brain or heart as well.
Can Red Bull give you a heart attack?
No, drinking a single can of Red Bull or drinking Red Bull over a long period of time will not guarantee that you will have a heart attack.
However, studies have proven that Red Bull can increase the risk of having a heart attack. Drinking Red Bull in excess can cause you to have an irregular heartbeat, as well as other cardiovascular side-effects.
What are the long term effects of drinking Red Bull?
Some of the long term effects of drinking Red Bull can seriously affect your daily life, especially because you may become dependent on caffeine.
Here’s a list of potential side effects of long term use:
- Headaches and migraines
- Rapid heart rate
- Heart palpitations
- More frequent anxiety attacks
- Hormone imbalance
- Poor dental health (e.g. dental caries)
Again, in my opinion, drinking 1-2 Red Bulls per day is fine unless you have a pre-existing health issue.
Is it safe to drink Red Bull everyday?
Yes, in my opinion, it is safe to drink a can of Red Bull every day. However, I would recommend you to go for the sugar-free version instead of the regular, sugary version, and this statement assumes that you are an otherwise healthy adult.
Even so, if you drink Red Bull daily over a long period of time you may eventually encounter some health issues at some point in the future. If you’re unsure about anything, check with your doctor.
I honestly believe that the risks from drinking any energy drink (including Red Bull) are no greater than the risks from having a daily cup of coffee. But, as a society no one ever seems to be particularly worried about having a daily cup of Joe.
Where to buy Red Bull
Red Bull is sold all over the planet. However, if you’re looking for the best place to buy Red Bull online, you can’t go past Amazon where you’ll sometimes find some cheap deals on Red Bull.
Some alternatives to Red Bull
If you’re looking for some alternatives to Red Bull, bear in mind that a lot of them have even more caffeine than Red Bull, so may have more potential negative effects.
There are lots of great energy drinks on the market. If you’re looking for some liquid energy drinks that are similar to Red Bull, take a look at:
• Rip It
To see how Red Bull compares with Monster, check out my other article which goes into a lot of detail on all of the differences between the two drinks.
If you prefer a cola flavor, you could try Red Bull’s own Cola drink. It contains less caffeine than regular Red Bull, but may be worth considering.
Powdered energy drinks are also a great option, and they tend to be more convenient and also more affordable than a lot of the market’s best-known energy drinks, but have the same great flavor and efficacy:
• REIZE (my personal favorite)
You could also take a look at Vivarin caffeine pills if you are looking for something that’s quick and easy to swallow. At 200mg of caffeine, it has a huge amount of caffeine compared to the amount that Red Bull has, but without the same great, energizing taste. I also feel that the energy boost isn’t as good as that of Red Bull, but that’s just my opinion, so give it a try for yourself.
Of course, there are also tons of other caffeinated products out there that you could turn to for your energy needs. Something like Make It Mio is just one of them. Mio is supposed to flavor your water and give you an energy boost at the same time, for those who are a bit more health-conscious.
But, with 50mg, REIZE Energy Drink is my preferred energy boosting buddy. REIZE contains much less caffeine than Red Bull, but also contains plenty of other great energy-boosting ingredients that are healthy for you, such as 1000mg of taurine and 50mg of ginseng, plus plenty of B group vitamins. These ingredients combine to give you a great energy boost – with no crash.
REIZE is a lot more convenient and versatile, since you can add all types of liquids to it – soda, hot water, cold water, flavored juice, it’s up to you.
REIZE ships right to your door for around $1 per drink, more affordable than most energy drinks on the market – including Red Bull.
Give REIZE a try today and you might just find that you also prefer it to Red Bull.