Waking up in the morning, the first thing many people think to do is get some caffeine in their system but that doesn’t necessarily mean putting on a pot of coffee anymore. The rise in popularity of energy drinks in the past decade has lead to the consumption of caffeine and other stimulants in new ways.
Energy drinks are not defined by the FDA but they are typically considered to be beverages with high levels of caffeine and other stimulants such as guarana and taurine. The recommended intake of caffeine per day is 300 mg. The average cup of coffee has 80 to 100 mg of caffeine, a cup of tea 40 mg, a Coca Cola 35 mg, and a Red Bull 80 mg. Energy drink companies are not required to list the amount of caffeine in their products which is why you will find companies such as Monster listing that their product contains 2500 mg of “energy blend”, which contains caffeine as well as other stimulants. Aside from caffeine ingredients such as taurine are listed in mgs but it is still not clear what the recommended daily intake of taurine is or what the side effects of taurine are.
Because the effects of taurine, guarana and other stimulants isn’t fully known, let’s focus on caffeine. Caffeine has been credited as an appetite suppressant, a diuretic, a calorie burning stimulant, and a performance enhancer when consumed before exercise. On the downside high levels of caffeine have been linked to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, nausea or other gastrointestinal problems, fast or irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, headaches, and anxiety (Mayo Clinic). Even more frightening is the trend to mix energy drinks and their high levels of caffeine with alcohol which leads to drinkers believing they are less drunk then they are and often over-drinking or taking part in activities they should not be doing when so intoxicated (WebMD).
With the increased use of energy drinks by not only adults looking for a jolt but also young people, there is great concern for understanding how much is too much. A morning cup of coffee is one thing but when 1 energy drink can max out your daily caffeine intake caution should be used.