It is obvious that many of us turn to sugary drinks each time we need some jolt of energy, right? But what exactly is in those shiny cans that gives us wings?
There are a few common ingredients found in the most popular energy drinks, and we’re going to break down for you what they are and how ― or if ― they work to boost your energy.
We all know what caffeine is. It’s the reason we’re so obsessed with coffee, and it’s the sole reason many of us get out of bed. It also happens to be the main source of energy in many energy drinks.
An 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine, an 8-ounce Dunkin’ Donuts coffee contains around 100 mg of caffeine, and an 8-ounce Starbucks coffee will rank closer to 160 mg of caffeine. Pretty much all of the energy drinks uses caffeine.
Taurine is an organic amino acid found in animal tissue that scientists discovered in ox bile in the 1820s. Our bodies can make taurine, and you can get it from eating things like meat and fish. (It’s also found naturally in human breast milk.) While taurine is thought to be vital in some body development, there is no actual evidence that taurine provides energy at all.
B vitamins show up in many different forms in energy drinks, such as niacin, folic acid, riboflavin and cyanocobalamin. B vitamins are commonly called upon for energy boosting, but the problem is that unless you have a B vitamin deficiency, they don’t really do much.
The high sugar content in these drinks also plays a role in boosting energy levels, since glucose is a major energy source for most cells in the body. But with sugar comes sugar crashes, and since some of these energy drinks ― we’re talking a 16-ounce Monster Energy ― contain the sugar equivalent of two Snickers bars, the crash can be pretty hard. And then there are the possible links to adverse health effects that some studies have revealed.
So, you might want to consider brewing a pot of coffee instead. You’ll get all the caffeine, and you get to decide how much sugar goes into it.