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Energy Drink Pros and Cons: Is it Dangerous to be Addicted?

Updated on April 6, 2012

The word “addiction” is always a scary word to hear, but I’ll be the first to admit I am addicted to one specific kind of energy drink…but what is in energy drinks? And are energy drinks good or bad? Some would argue energy drinks are dangerous for your health while others would argue no, no chance, they’re perfectly safe. So where do you stand?

I’ve looked into the following three energy drinks: Red Bull, Monster and Go Girl and I’ve outlined some positive and negative effects of energy drinks, along with a little background information on each energy drink.

Red Bull Energy Drink: Does it really “Give You Wings?”

I have to give Red Bull credit. Most people don’t know this, but Red Bull was first developed way back in 1987 by Dietrich Mateschitz, who partnered with Chaleo Yoovidhya in their company called Austrian Red Bull GmbH. Red Bull is the largest and most popular energy drink provider in the world with 4.5 billion sold annually. Mateschitz is also putting some of his profits to good use, and in 2004, he co-founded a nonprofit called "Wings for Life" with motocross champion, Heinz Kinigadner. Wings for Life is striving to cure spinal cord injuries (paralysis) with a team of researchers.

Red Bull Energy Drink Pros and Cons

Pros
Cons
May stimulate metabolism
May cause death (possibly linked to deaths pertaining to persons with heart conditions)
May increase speed, concentration and alertness
May increase the risk of stroke/heart attack/blood clots
May increase performance (mentally and physically)
May mask the effects of alcohol if mixed and could cause dehydration
Available in regular, sugar free, energy shot and cola (Sugar free has only 10 calories and 3 carbohydrates)
Not recommended for children/women who are pregnant/people with history of heart disease
Contains Taurine that may lower high blood pressure, diabetes and epilepsy and increase mental and physical performance
Contains Taurine; little is known about the effects of heavy or long-term Taurine use; however, some studies believe it may cause fat digestion issues, fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies and high serum cholesterol levels
Available worldwide (143 countries)
Banned in some countries due to health risks/fears

Monster Energy Drink: Did you “Unleash the Beast?”

Monster Energy Drink was developed in 2002 by Hansen Natural (Monster Beverage Company). Since developed, Monster Energy has been a known sponsor of several sporting events, such as motocross, car racing, BMX, snowboarding and skateboarding. With their heavy sports involvement, in 2011, Monster developed their "Monster Energy Gives Back" program to give back to local communities and support nonprofit charities as such: The Paul Thatcher Spinal Cord Recovery Foundation and StupidCancer.Org.

Monster Energry Drink Pros and Cons

Pros
Cons
May increase energy/alertness, stamina and body coordination
May cause death (possibly linked to one teenager’s death who had a heart condition)
May increase immune system
May cause irritability, anxiety, nausea, insomnia or withdrawals
May help digestive track/nervous system
May cause laxative effect
Vitamins are in their drinks, such as: Vitamin A, B, D, Calcium, Potassium, etc. (vitamins in each selected can will vary)
Absorption of nutrients may be slower and dehydration can occur (especially if consumed with alcohol)
Contains Guarana, which can stimulate weight loss (approved as safe by the Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA CFSAN))
Contains Guarana that can be addictive
Contains Ginkgo Biloba, which can promote blood flow to organs and tissue and protect against oxidative cell damage
Contains Ginkgo Biloba that may cause internal bleeding, decreased insulin, seizures, gastrointestinal distress or cause allergic reaction (all of which is rare)
5 variations of energy drinks with 25 flavors ranging from low-carb to double energy to mochas and tea (Holy smokes!)
There are large amounts of carbohydrates and sugar is in most selections
Contains Taurine that may lower high blood pressure, diabetes and epilepsy and increase mental and physical performance
Contains Taurine; little is known about the effects of heavy or long-term Taurine use; however, some studies believe it may cause fat digestion issues, fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies and high serum cholesterol levels

Go Girl Energy Drink: Is it really “Beautiful Energy?”

Go Girl Energy Drinks were first developed in 2005 by Nor-Cal Beverage Co., Inc. in W. Sacramento, CA. Targeted solely toward women, Go Girl strives to provide low calorie energy drinks while helping the battle against cancer. Their main energy drink, simply called “Go Girl Sugar Free” is hot pink and marked with the breast cancer pink ribbon and profits of each case sold go directly to breast cancer awareness and research. Their second most popular drink, called “Go Girl Pomegranate Star Fruit” is marked with a blue ribbon and proceeds of each case sold go directly to ovarian cancer awareness and research.

Go Girl Energy Drink Pros and Cons

Pros
Cons
Contains calcium and CoQ10 (a dietary supplement that may benefit the heart and mind)
Contains CoQ10 that may cause insomnia and elevated levels of liver enzymes
Contains Super Citramax, which may act as a diet suppressant to assist with weight loss
Contains Super Citramax that may cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, dry mouth and liver problems
Contains Taurine that may lower high blood pressure, diabetes and epilepsy and increase mental and physical performance
Contains Taurine; little is known about the effects of heavy or long-term Taurine use; however, some studies believe it may cause fat digestion issues, fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies and high serum cholesterol levels
Contains vitamins, such as: Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid and Magnesium
Not recommended for children, women who are pregnant or people sensitive to caffeine
Available in five favors (some with only 5 calories and 1 carbohydrate)
Only available in 9 western states

You may have noticed of the three energy drinks discussed, Go Girl has the least serious adverse effects. A large part of this could fall on the fact that it is not globally consumed and is rather limited to a handful of states (unless ordered online), thus supporting information is limited.

Of the three drinks, Go Girl is my drink of choice and I choose it often. However, after reviewing these lists, it’s important to keep in mind these lists are not 100% inclusive nor are they 100% scientifically proven on either side of the spectrum. Is there supporting evidence on both sides? Yes, but will you suddenly be able to lift 200 lbs. over your head or get an A on a test without studying? You could, but probably not. Or will you immediately develop a life-threatening illness? You could, but probably not. To argue these pros and cons are indefinite and will happen to anyone who consumes these energy drinks is simply not true and not enough research is available at this time to refute all positive or negative claims. The obvious common denominator in all energy drinks is caffeine and some of the pros and cons analyzed here are linked to the effects (positive and negative) of caffeine intake (great or small). Although the focus is energy drinks, caffeine is an underlining issue here. So I guess in the end, how much caffeine is too much?

After researching these energy drinks, I would agree anyone could be at risk if they consume energy drinks excessively (several in one day), and my conclusion is, much with any caffeinated beverage, if consumed, moderation is the key.

So where do you stand now?

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    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

      Lots of good info here. I'd use energy drinks, but as your article points out, they can mask the effects of alcohol. I spend a great deal of money and time getting the effects of alcohol, so I certainly do not want to mask them. :D

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 5 years ago from California

      LOL Shadesbreath!!!! Glad to see you found this article helpful for drinking. Haha! :D

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 5 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Great Article Ashley. Very detailed and offering strong comparisons. Thank you for the valuable information. This article answered some questions for me :)

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 5 years ago from California

      That's great to hear, tsmog! Thank you. :)

    • onthegrind profile image

      onthegrind 5 years ago from Florida, United States

      Interesting hub. I believe that these drinks are somewhat addictive. I have gone through periods where I drank far more of these than I probably should have, and usually ended up feeling jittery with an increased heartrate. I drank mostly Full Throttle, Monster, and Rockstar. They all gave a nice boost of concentration and energy though. Voted up and interesting.

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the feedback, Onthegrind. I agree, they can be very addictive. I'm still trying to cut back on my Go Girls and as a result, I have been experiencing migraines from caffeine withdrawals.

    • profile image

      blonde genius 5 years ago

      Hi Ashley! I don't like the sugary carbonated flavor of energy drinks- Im a coffee girl! What is the relation of coffee to energy drinks? Less hazardous?

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 5 years ago from California

      Hi Blonde Genius,

      Thanks for the questions. Regardless if you choose to drink coffee or energy drinks or maybe just teas or sodas, caffeine is a very addictive stimulate and should be used in moderation.

      Since my article didn't focus on the debate of coffee verses energy drinks, I included an interesting article outlining the relations below:

      http://eboostinterns.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/caff...

      The following article outlines some pros of coffee for you as well, along with other commonly asked questions:

      http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/questi...

      Hope this helps. :)

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 5 years ago from California

      One more interesting article on coffee:

      http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/coffee-...

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 5 years ago from Washington MI

      Great info, my 2 older nephews and niece drink monster drinks and will complain of headaches, and excitability, but continue to buy them, i wish they would tame their desire for them, but people are going to do what they want until they really can see what may not be so good for them. tweeted!

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the comment and the tweet! Maybe they will see your tweet and try to cut back as well. :)

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Thumbs up for this hub Ashley. I found it very informative. I'm not a big fan of energy drinks but well, sometimes you will be tempted.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      This is a very informative and well-written hub. I'm so glad that I read this because I used to drink a red bull regularly after my workouts. It's not like I need anymore energy, I'm pretty energetic already as it is. but I absolutely love the taste. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 4 years ago from California

      Thanks for the feedback Unknown Spy. I'm glad you found it helpful. I am tempted far too often--I cut back, but they are definitely still in my life! (Go Girls anyway)

      Hi Lovedoctor. Thank you so much. I researched these drinks for over a week before posting the info...and I was a bit shocked at how serious the effects of Red Bull can be...I have stopped drinking those. :)

    • vnsatakopan profile image

      Dr.Vangeepuram Navaneetham Satakopan 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Well researched and very informative.

    • Sneha Sunny profile image

      Sneha Sunny 4 years ago from India

      Great info! Honestly speaking I tried red bull once, and after that I never touched it. I couldn't even finish that single can. I don't like its taste!

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 4 years ago from California

      Thank you, Vnsatakopan! I appreciate the comment.

      Sneha Sunny--you are so lucky! I've never been a huge fan of the taste of Red Bull either. I generally just drank them on occasion for energy until I discovered Go Girls...Go Girls are soooo tasty and come in a variety of flavors...hence my problem. Haha

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Ashley... great article... I have only had one experience with energy drinks while driving a great distance. All I can say is I would never attempt drinking it again... far to unsettling for my liking.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 4 years ago from California

      I feel the same about 5 hour energy shots. Haha! Thanks for the comment and for following me!

    • profile image

      Annette 4 years ago

      My son is 16 an started having epilepsy seizures. I would like to know if is ok if he can drink sunny delight.

    • Ask Ashley profile image
      Author

      Ask Ashley 4 years ago from California

      Hi Annette, I'm not sure how Sunny Delight relates to energy drinks. This question is probably best suited for your son's doctor. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

    • youbar profile image

      Joel Lipman 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      these drinks are scary, straight up.

    • Raitu Disong profile image

      Raitu Disong 3 years ago

      Very useful and informative!

      I really need to give a second thought, next time I want see any energy drinks lol!

      Thanks for sharing Ashley:)

    • profile image

      shit head 15 months ago

      it helped me with a school projects about energy drinks.

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