Are Energy Drinks Harmful to your Health?

Markets have been targeting the youth with high caffeinated energy drinks and consumption has been drastically increasing over the last 10 years. We have all heard that energy drinks are harmful to the human body. But how? I wanted to look deeper into the effects of the caffeine in the energy drinks. Let’s look at some studies I found online.

This experimental study published by Mayo Clinic shows the effects of what an energy drink does to your body. It was a randomized controlled trial, in which 25 people participated. Participants were randomly assigned either an energy drink (Rockstar) or a placebo drink. The placebo differed from the energy drink only in two key stimulants, caffeine and taurine. The measured variables were sugar levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. The stress hormone “norepinephrine” was also measured because it is known to raise the heart rate and blood pressure. The results of the experiment wound up showing that caffeine levels increased after drinking the energy drink. Heart rate remained the same from the beginning of the experiment until the end, meanwhile blood pressure increased after consuming the Rockstar. Norepinephrine increased after the consumption as well.

The study was good in regards to measuring variables and controlling for them, however, the sample size was relatively small. Rather than having a sample of 25, perhaps a few hundred could change the results. Take a look at this other study I found that had a larger sample size.

This study that was published by the Medical Journal of Australia did an observational study that analyzed data from calls regarding energy drink exposures at the Australian poisons information center. Nearly 300 calls were reported. The median age of the participants was 17 years , and more than half of those people were men. The people who called drank on average 5 energy drinks in one session. For this study, they measured agitation, tremor, gastrointestinal upset, and palpitations. After analyzing the data from the calls, most people reported the symptoms of agitation, tremor, gastrointestinal upset, and palpitations. Twenty-one people had signs of dangerous cardiac or neurological toxicity. They had extreme symptoms such as seizures,hallucinations, and even cardiac ischaemia. Overall, 128 participants were hospitalized.

Both of these studies provide credible evidence for me to conclude that energy drinks are actually harmful to your health. Luckily for me, I never drank energy drinks, so I did not get hooked on the caffeine and other harmful stimulants. I would suggest others to substitute their energy drinks in for natural caffeine stimulants, such as coffee or tea.


Picture Source:

6 thoughts on “Are Energy Drinks Harmful to your Health?

  1. Alexander J Pulice

    When I was a kid my mom never let us buy energy drinks, and wow I’m happy she raised us that way. The more I’ve heard research wise about them, the more disgusted I am that they are mass marketed the way they are. Your post was very well measured, and provided a nice set of researched ideas. If you’re at all interested check out this video from cracked on the topic of energy drinks. Its satirical, but spot on.

  2. Katherine Yuen

    When I was a camp counselor, my coworkers and I drank Red Bull like it was water. Reading this really opened my eyes to issues that I had never even though of before, and now I regret drinking so much Red Bull over those few summers. After reading this, I wanted to do a little research specifically about Red Bull and got this article which offers up a chart showing the effects that Red Bull has on your body throughout the hours after you drink it. At 12 to 24 hours, if you drink lots of caffeine, your could even start feeling symptoms of withdrawal.

  3. Patrick Winch

    I did not have any experience with energy drinks until this year, but recently I’ve felt the need to have one here or there. I’ve never tried 5 hour energy or adderall, but I did not love my experiences with the energy drinks I tried. Afterwards I felt groggy and a bit gross. The article attached has a section titled “Energy Drink or Energy Drain?” and it talks about the dependency created by overuse. The effects are similar to caffeine. My only takeaway from my experiences is that I should avoid these drinks!

  4. Connor Edward Opalisky

    I never realized that there was actually science behind the claim that energy drinks were harmful. As an avid coffee drinker, this article made me wonder whether or not coffee is as harmful as energy drinks. I discovered that while coffee only contains caffeine, energy drinks have amino acids, sugars and other additives. These extra ingredients are what make energy drinks a lot more harmful than coffee.

  5. Akhil Dharmavaram

    There is quite bit of evidence that energy drinks are not good for health. As Sabrina commented, the fact that they are being marketed to young children (Mt Dew Kickstart , soda and energy drink combined ) is really not good as large doses of caffeine can seriously affect the heart and blood pressure, not to mention that it is also very addictive. It is good that you mentioned the Australian study which was conducted better than the first one. It provides a better argument. Here is an article with more information on caffeine. Although very addictive, it is essentially harmful for healthy adults.

  6. Sabrina Chan

    The increased marketing of energy drinks towards children is such a shame because although caffeine is generally safe (in recommended amounts) for adults to drink, it can be awful for children to drink. This article explains that in addition to the risk of reaching a toxic level of caffeine intake, caffeine can cause insomnia and jitteriness. I wholeheartedly believe that children should not be drinking energy drinks or abnormal amounts of caffeine in general.

    About your blog: It is well-written, and I like that you assessed the articles you wrote about. Consider listing the null and alternative hypotheses or the variables.

Leave a Reply