Experts Say Energy Drinks Are Bogus, Buy Coffee Instead

Breaking down all the claims energy drink companies make about their product

If you bought a pack of Red Bulls in order to power through and get all your New Year's resolutions over with, you might want to hold off on the chugging.

The New York Times reports that most of energy drinks' claims have no scientific backing, and that most of the effects of energy drinks are from caffeine. "If you had a cup of coffee you are going to affect metabolism in the same way," Dr. Robert W. Pettitt, an associate professor at Minnesota State University in Mankato, told the Times.

In fact, when looking at the ingredients list of top energy drink brands, researchers found that there were few studies suggesting any benefits to ingesting them. The additive glucuronolactone was tested in 40-year-old studies (not a good thing), which showed that large doses of it may have caused rats to swim better. There are no studies showing benefits for humans, however.

Furthermore, energy drinks tend to boast outrageous amounts of vitamins; 5-hour Energy has 8,333 percent of the recommended daily allowence of vitamin B12, and 20 times the amount of vitamin B6 necessary. Unfortunately, many experts say that additional dosages of vitamins aren't necessarily beneficial. "They are not going to increase energy levels," Paul R. Thomas, a scientific adviser with the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, told the Times.

The worst trick of all, however, is 5-hour Energy's "No Crash Later" claim, which comes with a caveat that it refers to sugar crash (5-hour Energy doesn't contain sugar). Of course, all of this is printed in the fine print, but considering you'll have to deal with a caffeine crash anyway, a coffee might just be all you need. Check out the Times' infographic of what exactly is in 5-hour Energy, Monster, Rockstar, and Red Bull.

 

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