Energy drinks are marketed towards hardworking people who would quite like a boost in, you guessed it, energy – which can often feel like all of us. However, most of that “energy” derives from two main ingredients: sugar and caffeine. On average, an energy drink will contain up to 80 milligrams of caffeine, which is about the same amount as a cup of coffee. (For a bit of perspective, a 2006 study found that the average 12-ounce soda contains between 18 – 48 milligrams of caffeine.)
Beverages like Red Bull and Lucozade are designed to restore fluids lost during activity, and manufacturers claim the ingredients increase stamina and overall performance. They’re usually aimed at students, athletes, and just anyone looking for an extra energy kick.
Red Bull began distributing what would be the most renowned energy drink back in 1997. According to its manufacturer, revenue doubled each year and in 2000, even reached over $1 billion. Although Red Bull has consistently been the number one product in the energy drinks market, a number of other companies have launched their own energy drink lines. And many of these are endorsed by fitness bloggers and celebrities.
Learn more about how energy drinks affect your heart:
Now as we all know, drinking that much sugar and caffeine on a daily basis can be pretty horrific for your health. But there are a lot more downsides to energy drinks than you probably thought.
Previous studies have already linked them to stomach, nerve, and heart problems. But now a research team from the University of Texas is claiming their findings are among the first to fully first to fully understand the mechanism linking an increased risk in metabolic syndrome to the energy drinks you consume.
Worryingly, they discovered that having just one can of energy drink could narrow your blood vessels in just 90 minutes. This would restrict blood flow to vital organs, leading to some pretty debilitating health problems like heart attacks or strokes.