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Drugs & Health Blog

Energy Drinks: A Boost in the Wrong Direction?

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Sara Bellum

Energy drinks—you see them at X Games events, basketball arenas, and rock concerts. You can even “fan” some of them on Facebook. What these brands don’t tell you, and what science is now showing us, is that their drinks can really be unhealthy.

Energy drinks often pack in extra vitamins, along with caffeine, which delivers the eye-opening jolt of energy, and is supposed to boost your brain power. People, even teens, seek that extra kick from energy drinks to stay alert longer or perform better sometimes. But do these drinks really boost your brain?

The companies that make them claim their drinks deliver energy, but in fact, what they deliver are monster-doses of caffeine and other supplements that rev up your system. They may deliver a temporary jolt of energy, but they also boost your heart rate, making you feel jittery and on-edge—and too much caffeine can cause stomach aches.

Plus, having an energy drink every day might fool you into thinking you can’t function without it.

Teens are busy. School, sports, a part-time job, and never-ending homework…finally sleep, then having to get up while it’s still dark out to do it all over again. No wonder energy drinks are appealing!

But do they deliver what they promise? And is drinking such high doses worth the possible health risks? Probably not. Better to get more sleep and exercise, so you don’t have to depend on chemicals for your energy.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


Do u have any proof? that this drinks contains caffeine!... But this is a real fact that i am feeling like addicted.

@lynne foster--caffeine is a central ingredient in energy drinks. You can check the content info on the can and see for yourself.

this is true if you look at a 16oz. can of monster energy there is 120g of caffeine

hes right i looked at a can and anonymous is not lying

@lynne foster–NIDAwriter is right i had to go to the ER because i had drank 7 and 1/2 of them. the doc told me that my heart rate was 2 times faster than a norm person and it was from the caffeine

that was your fault your only supposed to have 1 a day

@NIDAwriter: on a lot of Energy Drinks it tells you it has herbs and other good thins in them. is this false avertizing or does it realy have these things in them and are thay good for you?? i thank you for resonding:)

@god of cod=god of call of duty: Energy drinks may sometimes contain vitamins and other ingredients, for which health claims are made. However, when mixed with a megadose of caffeine, you have to ask yourself what the tradeoff is. There are other ways to get vitamins and minerals and other healthy stuff, like eating fruits and veggies!

Sick name bruh

thank you ,this is a good news for me

I have a friend who is a retired chemical engineer, and he has also told me taurine is actually a "lab engineered" artificial methamphetamine... anyone have confirmation of this?

Taurine is an amino acid that is naturally found in meat and fish. The Mayo Clinic has some more information on its website:

Brandon Smith- Energy drinks taste AMAZING, especially monster......but on the other hand they are really bad for you and they can cause brain dammage maybe. I DON'T KNOW?!?!?!?!?!?!. Meow Meow Blah Blah.

I totally agree with every this artical has said, but while knowing all this myself, I do still drink them, but than again they don't really have any effect on the way that my body functions...

the real ingredient is Guarana. this is what causes the high heart beat and low blood pressure.

the real ingredient is Guarana. this is what causes the high heart beat and low blood pressure.

hello.. thanks for your info..

Energy drinks actually can be really bad. They contain way too much simple sugar, which the body uses for energy but uses it up quickly, causing a crash in energy a little while later. And the companies use vitamin B to make their energy drinks seem healthy - when really, vitamin B doesn’t give energy to anyone unless they are deficient, and it’s pretty rare to have a vitamin B deficiency.

One of the things i found ridiculous is all these famous athletes are setting a bad example. When young people see them drinking the the energy drink without a care they think oh well that keeps them going it must keep me going! They should think about what kind of a role model they want to set. I found this article very informing, it also opened my eyes and helped me make my decision next time I pick out a drink.

"Thomas Ling and I (Sam) read the article Energy Drinks: A Boost in the Wrong Direction. This was about the bad effects of energy drinks. Though they do give you a feeling of energy they really don't. They just use the main ingredient Guarana. This just increases your heart rate to give you the adrenaline like rush. Once your heart slow down you "crash". Your heart rate slows down and start feeling worse then before. Similar to a hangover of energy loss. Your blood pressure changes and can vary from high to low pressure."

I agree that energy drinks can be really bad. They make you have so much energy for a few hours but later you feel the side affects, including feeling sick, headache, and extreme tiredness. The companies sell these drinks making people feel like all the good athletes use them, when really they are the worst thing for sports players. The energy is not a good and healthy energy that sport players need. The energy drinks act like coffee and make you jittery and it makes it harder to focus, thus making your sports ability go down, instead of up which was the original intention. They are not all they are worked up to be and other drinks and foods that are just as good can do a better job then them.

"Caffeine--Watch Out for "Energy Drinks"." Child Health Alert May 2008: 2-3. Web. 1 Apr 2010. .

Martin, Suzanne. "Energy Drinks: Extreme Move?." Dance Magazine Feb. 2005: 34-34. Web. 1 Apr 2010. .

Energy drinks can sometimes give you burst of energy, but not for long. They usually last a few hours and then you will crash. Energy drinks may contain some vitamins, but also they have a lot of sugar and other ingredients that can make you not feel as energized as before you drink them. The best drink that can help you stay energetic is water. Water keeps you hydrated and fully focused, and also gives you energy to get active. With a lot of sleep, water, and good nutrition, you will have energy all time!

Walker, Marisa. "Drink Up!." Eating smart. Macfadden Performing Arts Media, LLC, June 2009. Web. 1 Apr 2010. .

"THE REAL SECRET TO MORE energy.." Get Fit:news. N.p., Nov. 2009. Web. 1 Apr 2010. .

I have done some research on energy drinks for the past few days. They are really bad for you because the caffeine spikes your heart beat so you have a quick burst of energy and then you crash which is very unhealthy. This is also bad for athletes because once they get into the diet of everyday energy drinks then its hard for them to come out of it because they're most likely addicted.

Although I don’t drink energy drinks, I had no idea that they could be such a health hazard to the body. Very interesting article, and I was glad I learned some new things about these beverages. I also have a few questions. Is there a certain brand of energy drink that is considered “the most harmful”? How many drinks does it take to harm your body? I am very curious, and I hope that you can answer these questions for me. Thanks!

Energy drinks can boost your heart rate I read, so what would happen if energy drinks boosted your heart rate too much? Would it do damage to your brain, could it put you in life and death situations? What could happen to your body if you drank too much Energy Drinks?

"Skipping a beat—the surprise of palpitations." Harvard health publications 2007: Print.

"Heavy Heart, Thin Bones?." Harvard health publications 2009: Print.

Dood dats totes cray cray

energy drinks may taste good to people but they are actually bad for you, especially kids.

Is there anymore information about how energy drinks are bad? Also, as myself, I hate energy drinks. I think the are drugs that hurt people's bodies.

is there any more evidence about Energy Drinks being bad

in the future will energy drink companies make energy drinks healtyer for people to drink?

Is there any more evidence

the energy drinks have a lot of calories and the caffeine is bad for you

Energy drinks can be bad but helpful for some things mostly bad because you feel tired later and there good if you want a short burst of energy.

Energy Drinks are becoming more and more appealing to teens and young adults, the flash cans and names, then there is also bandwagon. According to the beverage companies, the burst of energy comes form the exotic sounding ingredients such as taurine, guarana, and ginsing. The problem is that we don't know the amounts of these that are inside the the energy drinks. We do not know how much caffeine is inside these, and it's easy to overdose. A perfectly healthy person can overdose on caffeine easily when they drink a lot of energy drinks, and we don't fully know how they react in the body. Now I'm not saying to avoid it, but try to take caffeine in moderation, to prevent serious adverse effects, such as palpitations (extreme speeding up of heart rate).

i dont see why people care so much its not going to kill us

Yes I do believe that some of these energey drinks are just another scam to get money, and are just full of sugar. But on the other-hand, some of the energy drinks do give you energy. But there are many bad things that energy drinks do to affect your health.> It stunts your growth,is bad for your blood,and makes you more tired. I drink some energy drinks, but I am not all cracke dout on them like some people are. I sometimes drink a few chugs before a basketball game or something...

first my nick name dopey isnt because od dope or anything related to dope or drugs. its a fact that energy drinks stunt your growth and bad for you rblood. also it doesnt really give you energy ( i think its just a scam for money) it makes you makes you crash later. this is some facts and my opinion is they are really stupid and there not scamming me anytime anywhere niot even soon

i like energy drink they are good yyyyyyyyyyyyuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is very cool!!!!!!!!!!!

I think the craze for energy drinks is caused by society's sleep deprivation. The need for energy is so great, that we produce some chemicals that make us feel energized then we sell it. I think its ridiculous that we drink these things to quench our thirst for sleep! But good little article though.


what a great article - thank you - [commercial link deleted per g/l]

These drinks are pure evil to me... I am an addict so they are destroying my life.... I have had over 10 teeth pulled due to them rotting out of my mouth, so keep away from these things at all costs....and Please Pray for me to get off of them myself....

After reading this article I feel I need more information about this...

That is a LOT of caffeine...!

The sugar in these drinks can be pretty worrying, as well as the other chemicals

Some frightening comments above...

It'd never really occurred to me that these drinks might be so popular among young people.

This is the ingredient list for Red Bull Energy Drink from their website:

Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid which is naturally occurring in the human body. “Conditionally essential” means that in some situations or under certain conditions, as for example, in situations of high stress or physical exertion, increased amounts of taurine are eliminated from the body and cannot be replaced by the body in sufficient amounts.

Taurine is involved in vital functions of the human body. Taurine acts as an antioxidant and has been shown to promote detoxification by binding together with harmful substances and thereby accelerating their excretion from the body.

Taurine is also contained in different foodstuffs like e.g. scallops, fish or poultry and is added to most baby food.


Glucuronolactone is a carbohydrate.
It is naturally occurring in the human body where it is involved in detoxification processes, supporting the body in eliminating waste substances from the body.

Glucuronolactone is also present in different foodstuffs such as grain or red wine.


Caffeine is known for its beneficial effects on mental and physical functions. It has been shown to improve e.g. reaction speed, alertness and concentration. Caffeine also stimulates fat-burning during endurance activities and thereby helps to use fat stores in the body which results in a more efficient supply of energy.

Caffeine is contained in many foodstuffs such as coffee tea or chocolate. One can of Red Bull Energy Drink contains approximately the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.


B-group vitamins play an important role in energy metabolism, such as the build-up and break-down of carbohydrates, fat and protein. B vitamins are also shown to support mental and physical performance.



Energy drinks are essentially drugs. I'm not moralistic about it, but we need to begin the practice of treating our bodies well at an early age.