Energy drinks: Beverages with an unhealthy boost

June 4th, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  7 Comments

You’ve seen them in the grocery store refrigerated coolers, with fancy names, like Red Bull, Monster, Full Throttle, and Rockstar. They’re the so-called “energy drinks” that come loaded with caffeine, sugar, vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients.

But are they really good for you? Johns Hopkins reviews the data.


  1. Jim says:

    June 4th, 2009at 6:59 pm(#)

    I’ve always relied on those drinks for years for that extra boost and mental focus in the gym until I read recently that stimulants like ephedrine and caffeine cause a spike in cortisol which is pretty much the opposite of what I’m looking for.

    Now I’m trying to figure out if the intensity I’m losing is worth it.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    June 6th, 2009at 9:57 am(#)

    Not surprised at all, really. If nothing else, the sheer amount of sugar in those things can’t be good for you.

    I turn to coffee and tea for an energy/concentration boost, which probably isn’t that great for me either — caffeine is caffeine — but at least I can regulate the calories in those. A little skim milk and stevia won’t hurt, or even a teaspoon of sugar as opposed to seven.

  3. Trishy says:

    June 7th, 2009at 12:25 pm(#)

    Caffeine is not, by itself, bad for you. Like drugs such as alcohol, it can safely be consumed in moderation. It is pretty well established at this point that tea (especially green, white, and red) has many health benefits, and I recently read a study arguing the health benefits of coffee. A summary of some of these studies is here:

    The “coffee is bad for you” line of thinking is just an old wives tale at this point, with little foundation in actual knowledge.

    The biggest issue with these energy drinks seems to be the shear volume of caffeine in some of them, which may cause issues if you are sensitive to it. Some of them also come with a lot of sugar and herbs with unknown side effects. Like for everything else, read the labels and make you sure you know what you’re consuming.

  4. Bobby says:

    June 9th, 2009at 11:39 am(#)

    Please be smart and actually read the nutrition facts on the cans before lumping all “energy drinks” into the same category. I drink, and market, an energy drink called XS that has 0 carbs, 0 sugars, 83mg of caffeine, and only about 8 calories. Our energy source is vitamin B12. While I will agree with you that the majority of “energy drinks” are concentrated doses of sugar, there are some healthy alternatives if you are really looking.

  5. Mathew Clark says:

    June 15th, 2009at 6:11 am(#)

    The information you have provided regarding energy drinks is absolutely right, it is important to find food and beverages which can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle…..

  6. Paul says:

    June 16th, 2009at 2:53 pm(#)

    Other than for people who are sensitive to stimulants, there’s nothing in that article suggesting a health risk.

    Sugar isn’t ‘bad’ for you (HFCS isn’t, either), nor is caffeine, it’s about the big picture. If you are downing 6 Monsters a day, you might be doing yourself some harm. If you drink one on the way to the gym 4 times a week, probably not hurting yourself at all.

  7. Andrea says:

    July 14th, 2009at 2:45 pm(#)

    I’m reading this whilst sipping on my newest (only 2 days) micro-addiction: Monster Lo-Carb.

    Mmm, herbal stimulants….

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