Energy Drinks: Consume Them with Care - Mercy Medical Center

Energy Drinks: Consume Them with Care

Posted on: August 22, 2013

I love my first cup of coffee in the morning. The smell of fresh brewed coffee captivates me, drawing me out of bed in anticipation of the taste of perfectly infused beans. I am a purist and love it black. And I also happen to enjoy the added jolt I receive from the caffeine first thing in the morning.

Research shows that some caffeine intake can actually be beneficial, but how much is too much? Is there a health risk associated with highly caffeinated energy drinks? The average cup of coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine. This varies based on the coffee bean, how fine the bean is ground, amount of time brewed and method of brewing.

Caffeine Levels Vary Widely in Energy Drinks

Energy drinks also vary in caffeine levels with some as much as 500 to 600 mg per can. In addition to caffeine, many of these drinks also contain a unique combination of vitamins, amino acids or other stimulants like guarana and ginseng. Many claim to enhance alertness and concentration while boosting energy levels. The biggest problem with these types of beverages is that they are not tightly regulated by the FDA, so contents can vary. These beverages have not been studied for long-term use so approach with caution.

Individual tolerance to caffeine varies. For me, morning coffee makes me feel alert and helps with my mental and physical performance. However, some people report increased heart rate, elevation in blood pressure and palpitations after ingestion. Others get jittery and have difficulty sleeping even hours after consuming the product.

Are There Safe Limits with Caffeine and Energy Drinks?

Research suggests that most healthy adults can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day. If you are using energy drinks, you should check the caffeine content and then also consider any other source of caffeine in your diet, such as cola beverages and iced tea, to avoid adverse side effects.

Do you live in or near Stark County, Ohio, and want to learn more about healthy eating? Learn more about Mercy Outpatient Nutrition Services. Our registered dietitians can create a healthy eating plan that is customized to your healthcare needs and/or weight-loss goals.

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