Unsurprisingly, energy drinks are intended to provide you with more energy, with companies marketing them as being able to stimulate your mind and body.
The two main ingredients providing this ‘stimulation’ are sugar and caffeine, with a typical energy drink containing the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. A standard 250ml can of Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine.
Should I have energy drinks?
It is generally safe to consume up to 400mg of caffeine per day, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is equivalent to roughly four cups of coffee, two ‘energy shots’ or ten cans of cola.
Energy drinks are not the same as sports drinks, as they contain extra caffeine and sugar, and they are also different to soft drinks which are just intended to taste good.
However, the Mayo Clinic does not recommend much caffeine for children, and suggests no more than 100mg of caffeine for adolescents. Also, if you are sensitive to caffeine, you should not consume much of it. If you do drink energy drinks, they should be consumed in moderation.
Alcohol is often mixed with energy drinks to make cocktails, which may make you feel alert (and relatively sober) when you are actually drunk. As well as this, they can both have a dehydrating effect on your body, which can cause your hydration levels to fall dangerously low.
This is because an energy drink is a diuretic (which means it causes increased urination) and can cause the kidneys to remove extra fluid from the kidneys, increasing the production of urine. This is why energy drinks should not be used during exercise, because combined with sweating, it could lead to dehydration.