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Is There Anything Bad In Redbull? Ingredients in Redbull don't look so alarming, yet experts say "stay away"

Updated on June 19, 2013
Redbull gives you wings
Redbull gives you wings
Redbull sizes
Redbull sizes

What is Redbull

When you look at a Redbull can, it says "Energy Drink: vitalizes the body and mind". What exactly does that mean? Redbull comes in multiple different size cans, and now comes in multiple flavors.

Regular

Sugar Free

Blueberry

Lime

Cranberry

These come in 8.4, 12, 20 and shot size.


The taste of Redbull - original, or sugar free is reminiscent of a metallic ginger-ale. It is carbonated and is not too difficult to drink. It doesn't have the same taste satisfaction of a Coke, Iced Tea, or Lemonade, but that isn't the point. The makers of Redbull have designed their drink more as a lifestyle drink than a thirst quencher.

Redbull Lifestyle: Redbull Gives You Wings

If you wonder if there is anything bad in Redbull, consider that their marketing slogan is that "Redbull gives you wings". I don't think the makers of Redbull necessarily shy away from the fact that their drink packs a punch. In fact, they market their product by showing people doing extremely outrageous and dangerous stunts. The message is "look what you can do if you drink Redbull". As if these stunts are made possible because of the drink. Most notably, was the world record skydive. Other stunts include daredevil car jumps, or other high flying acts, all of which will lead to certain death if the person makes a mistake.

How Many Energy Drinks Do You Drink a Week?

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Redbull Skydive Record
Redbull Skydive Record

Rebull Ingredients

Lets take a look at Redbull to see what it is that gives this drink its kick and as the makers say "gives you wings".

Carbonated Water - the base of Redbull is carbonated water. Also known as Club Soda, there isn't too much to worry with this one.

Sucrose - commonly known as "Sugar" this ingredient again, is not much to worry about

Glucose - another form of Sugar, that is more readily absorbed into the bloodstream, in this form, glucose can provide a bit of energy. Having too much sugar in the blood for long periods of time can cause serious health problems if it's not treated. Hyperglycemia can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems in people with diabetes.

Citric Acid - common in soft drinks, mainly for taste/preservation and sensation.

Taurine - an amino acid that supports neurological development and helps regulate the level of water and mineral salts in the blood. Taurine is also thought to have antioxidant properties.Taurine is found naturally in meat, fish and breast milk, and it's commonly available as a dietary supplement. Some studies suggest that taurine supplementation may improve athletic performance

Caffeine - self explanatory, Redbull has the equivalent of of the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Inositol - (Vitamin B8) aids in efficient processing of nutrients into the conversion of energy, which in turn helps the body to maintain a healthy metabolism. Inositol also can be considered brain food, as the nutrient is necessary to properly nourish the brain. Side effects of too much include nausea and vomiting.

Niacinamide (B3/Niacin) - promotes release of energy from foods and enhances proper nervous system functioning. Nothing too alarming here.

Calcium Panthothenate (B5) - an essential nutrient your body uses to generate energy by breaking down carbs and fat

Pyridoxine - vitamin B6, is required by your body for utilization of energy in the foods you eat, production of red blood cells, and proper functioning of nerves

Vitamin B12 - water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood.


Common Energy Drink Ingredients

Energy Drink Ingredients
Energy Drink Ingredients
Energy Drink Sales Projections
Energy Drink Sales Projections

If you look over the ingredient list, it looks like Redbull delivers exactly what it says it does. It helps brain function, and other vital functions of the body. So why are experts so alarmed that energy drinks are dangerous? Sales of energy drinks continue to soar and eat away at major soft drink brand's market share. Part of the problem is their reliance for a boost. If you've ever had a Redbull, there is a noticeable reaction of energy shortly after that first sip. Consequently, when that "rush" subsides, it's easy to want another one. Many people have been caught in the trap of following a Redbull with another Redbull to avoid "the crash" of all of the energy subsiding. All of the acids, carbonation and ingredients can take its toll on your body. Continually ramping up your bodies functions stresses your heart and bodily functions at times pushing them beyond their normal range of activity. What really becomes dangerous, is the popularity of Redbull mixed with alcohol.

A Recipe for Disaster: Flavored Redbull and Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant and Rebull is an upper. It probably isn't a good idea to mix something that slows you down, with something that speeds you up, but that is exactly what Redbull had in mind with its new flavors. Common in the bar scene is to order a vodka and Redbull. Competing with the drink would be the equally common, vodka and cranberry. To compete, Redbull has made a Cranberry Redbull. The have also made other flavors that mix perfectly with alcohol. This is not by accident.

As a result of the increased popularity, continual push to bring Redbull into the mainstream as party drink, energy/sports drink and replacement for coffee is worrisome. Imagine drinking a Redbull to wake up in the morning. You are ready to hit the gym after work, and drink another Redbull to get you going, then you head out for the night and drink a Redbull and Vodka. You're heart is no doubt racing, your energy levels are through the roof, yet the alcohol keeps you calm. Inside you're racing, outside your normal. This spells a recipe for a heart attack.

In fact, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have recently linked ingredients in Monster energy drinks (a cousin of Redbull) to heart related ailments, including risk of heart-attack.

While the verdict is still out, it goes without saying, everything in moderation. If you're drinking more than one or two of anything a day, it's probably time to take a look at the bigger picture, but as for Redbull, the jury is still out.

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