They're yummy and fight off sudden energy crashes fast. Packaged like fizzy sodas, energy drinks are pick-me-ups for those looking to recharge — but how many is too many?
What Happens When You Drink Too Many Energy Drinks?
Whether you’re a coffee-lover, a tea-drinker, or an energy drink fan, your preferred morning caffeine boost is going to leave you with a mid-day crash. It’s tempting to keep grabbing energy drinks as grogginess hits you throughout the day, but experts don’t recommend it.
Healthy adults shouldn’t have more than one energy drink per day—and children shouldn’t consume them at all.
The Downsides of Energy Drinks
Energy drinks can improve an athlete’s physical performance, boost cognitive function for up to six hours, and give you a much-needed spurt of energy. But are the benefits of energy drinks really worth the risk?
Studies have shown that energy drinks can lead to dangerous cardiovascular problems, rot your teeth, increase your anxiety, and create ongoing insomnia.
Energy drinks create a destructive cycle. The energy drinks you consume to wake you up make it harder for you to sleep at night, which leads to morning grogginess… and the need for another energy drink. Beyond that, the sugar in energy drinks also has habit-forming qualities.
Energy drinks can even cause caffeine overdose, high blood pressure, narrow blood vessels, an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and death.
While sugar definitely contributes to their fast-acting energy boost, caffeine is the most important ingredient in energy drinks—and a huge health risk.
The caffeine in tea or coffee won’t be catastrophic for your health and wellness, but energy drinks pack a whopping 80 to 150mg of caffeine per eight ounces. But energy drinks don’t usually come in dainty 8-ounce servings. Your favorite energy drinks usually come in 16 to 24-ounce cans, meaning one energy drink can have as much as 450mg of caffeine. Most experts recommend adults cap their daily caffeine intake at 200mg, although people with a higher caffeine tolerance might be able to get away with 400mg. But many energy drink lovers don’t stop at just one can. By the time you finish your second energy drink of the day, you could be consuming as much as 4.5 times the recommended amount of caffeine.
Caffeine isn’t inherently bad, but drinking excessive amounts can lead to caffeine overdose. There can always be too much of a good thing, and in the case of caffeine, serious cases of caffeine overdose can be fatal. Other severe symptoms of caffeine overdose include chest pain, confusion, trouble breathing, and convulsions. Milder cases are similar to the effects of dehydration—a known side-effect of energy drink consumption—like thirst, dizziness, and diarrhea.
Caffeine overdose won’t happen if you have a mug of coffee or a cup of green tea. But once you start relying on energy drinks to get you through the day, your risk of caffeine O.D. skyrockets.
High Stress and Blood Pressure
Because a single can of energy drink can have more than your daily caffeine limit, even one drink can increase your blood pressure and put your cardiovascular health at risk.
Research has found that increases in the stress hormone norepinephrine due to heightened blood pressure can make healthy adults more likely to develop cardiovascular problems, which may explain the correlation between heart issues and energy drinks.
Narrowing Blood Vessels
Although caffeine is one of the primary energizing ingredients in energy drinks, it’s combined with tons of other ingredients for taste, preservatives, and of course, energy.
Taurine, for example, is an amino acid that makes caffeine even more effective, and guarana is a form of natural caffeine that’s commonly added to energy drinks as an additional stimulant. But just because guarana is natural doesn’t make it healthy—it has twice the amount of caffeine per weight compared to coffee.
Some of the added ingredients in energy drinks, like carnitine and ginseng, are probably useless alongside their more powerful energy sources. Evidence on their effectiveness is shaky at best. In the case of ginseng, some believe it actually decreases endurance. Still, when you pile all of these ingredients, they can have unexpected reactions. Putting caffeine, taurine, and sugar together can cause narrowing of the blood vessels.
The most worrying aspect of these added ingredients isn’t the harm we know they can cause; it’s the harm we haven’t found yet. More research is needed to fully understand how the ingredients in energy drinks work with and against each other. Until then, the only way to ensure that you’re protecting your health is to choose clean energy drinks, like the ones at Proper Wild.
Proper Wild’s fruit-based, vegan Clean All-Day Energy Shots are made with natural juices and organic caffeine from green tea. Best of all, there are no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, and no B.S., so you can have an all-day energy boost without jitters or a crash.
Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Not all sugars are created equal. The 21 to 24 grams of sugar found in energy drinks is nothing to scoff at, and it’s not coming from natural sources like fruits. Usually, energy drinks are filled with high fructose corn syrup.
Even if the sugar in energy drinks wasn’t artificial, adults should only consume between 24 and 36 grams of sugar each day. So, if you finish your entire daily allotment in one drink, any other sugars you consume throughout the day become added sugars that can harm your body. And that’s assuming you only have one energy drink per day.
Consuming two (or three!) energy drinks in a day ensures that you’ll double or triple your daily sugar intake beyond the recommended amount. This can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, or metabolic syndrome, a combination of increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood sugar, and excess body fat. Yikes!
Consuming Too Many Energy Drinks Can Potentially Be Fatal
Between 2009 and 2012, one popular energy drink company was cited as possibly being involved in thirteen deaths. In 2017, a habitual energy drink consumer died after consuming alcohol with their energy drink. The following year, a 16-year-old teen died from a cardiac event after drinking coffee, soda, and an energy drink within the span of forty minutes.
To most kids, energy drinks aren’t really anything other than higher-caffeinated soda pop, so they consume them on a regular basis, sometimes more than once per day -- but clearly, drinking too many energy drinks should be avoided.
A Final Word
So, how many energy drinks is too many?
According to experts, healthy adults should limit their energy drink intake to roughly one can per day because they are loaded with synthetic caffeine, sugar, and other unnecessary ingredients that can do more harm than good.
However, the truth is that not all energy drinks are created equal.
Here at Proper Wild, our energy shots are crafted with only the best ingredients. We use organic caffeine from green tea leaves, natural fruit juices, and nothing artificial for a clean, smooth, and natural taste without the junk. Each bottle contains only 9 grams of sugar from the juices we use to craft each of our three delicious flavors.
We suggest taking one Proper Wild Clean All-Day Energy Shot when needed to boost focus, alertness, and productivity. One Proper Wild shot contains the caffeine equivalent of two shots of espresso, and since it’s naturally sourced, you will notice sustained energy all day long without the notorious caffeine crash that is commonly experienced with synthetic caffeine.
Energy drinks can be dangerous because of all the unnecessary ingredients, but here at Proper Wild, we believe in clean and simple ingredients that are backed by science, designed to maximize your productivity. Try Proper Wild today -- you’ll be glad you did!