If you haven’t kept up with current events in the world of energy drinks, then you may not even be aware of the many cases of people being hospitalized from drinking too many energy drinks.
According to this article, “more than 10% emergency room visits involving energy drinks result in hospitalization”, which is not exactly a small number. Red Bull is one of the most popular brands in the market so I won’t be surprised if the name pops up in the reports.
These cases will continue to happen unless people educate themselves on the dangers and possible risks of energy drinks, which not many are aware of. So if you’re reading this article you’re already taking one step in the right direction.
So how many cans of Red Bull should you drink in day?
The short answer is one can. Just one. Red Bull has a ton of caffeine and sugar that drinking a single can is enough for the day, drinking two can lead to adverse effects.
While this may sound like an exaggeration to you, it’s actually the safest bet, especially if you’re new and haven’t built any tolerance to caffeine. Don’t be fulled by the neon-colored cans; looks can be deceiving.
Maybe if energy drinks are sold in plain-looking medical grade containers, sold in pharmacies and accessible only with a doctor’s prescription, people would take the warnings more seriously.
Common Ingredients of Energy Drinks
When it comes to energy drinks, different brands have similarities. Why? Simply because the common ingredients that every energy drinks have are the building blocks of it. Without it, you might not get the energy you want to obtain from drinking energy drinks like Red Bull.
The most crucial of them all, caffeine is the driving force of why people love energy drinks. Caffeine is also known as an adenosine blocker since it blocks the adenosine receptor which basically means that it prevents you from feeling sleepy.
You can start to feel the caffeine in your body within 30 to 60 minutes and from 3 to 5 hours your body only has half the caffeine that you’ve consumed.
Taurine was originally extracted from a bull’s semen but hold your horses! Red Bull clarified that the taurine in their energy drink is synthetically produced by pharmaceutical companies.
Taurine has vital functions for the heart and brain, it helps:
- Support nerve growth
- Lower blood pressure (benefits people with heart failure)
Taurine was also said to boost energy, improve athletic performance, and even help prevent type 2 diabetes. Not enough good scientific evidence to support these claims. However, researchers are diving deep with regards to how taurine helps with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
B vitamins refer to a class of vitamins that promote the metabolic and energy production functions of your cells, which is why they are commonly used in energy drinks.
However, a common misconception, especially with vitamin B12 is that they supply energy; they don’t. Unless you have vitamin B12 deficiency (which does cause fatigue and tiredness), taking extra vitamin B12 won’t suddenly “give you wings”.
That goes for other B vitamins well. They support your body’s naturally energy production cycle and keeps the “wheels spinning” so to speak. B vitamins are the motor oil that greases the engine, they are not the fuel.
You still need to eat nutritious meals for those vitamins to convert into usable energy.
The sugar that most energy drinks have is sucrose, glucose, and artificial sweeteners.
Sugar doesn’t really add much value to your nutrition, but you have to admit that it’s delicious. Also, our bodies use glucose as a primary source of fuel which makes our brain to long for sugar.
However too much sugar can cause type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Both types of diabetes are chronic diseases that affect the way your body regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is the fuel that feeds your body’s cells, but to enter your cells it needs a key. Insulin is that key.
People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin. You can think of it as not having a key.
People with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often don’t make enough insulin. You can think of it as having a broken key.Healthline
If you want to avoid sugar, it’s nearly impossible since most of our foods/beverages contain sugar, so look for specially formulated energy drinks that contain artificial sweeteners instead.
How Safe Are Energy Drinks?
Energy drinks are safe, as long as you don’t drink too much. But you should bear in mind that not all energy drinks are created equal. Some have more caffeine, others have less. Some have added sugar, others use artificial sweeteners.
It’s hard to say exactly which energy drinks are more or less safer than others so here’s a list of what you should be careful about when making energy drinks part of your daily life:
- Caffeine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, increasing your risk for experiencing cardiac arrest (heart attack)
- Caffeine can harm a child’s cardiovascular and nervous systems.
- Caffeine may cause anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems, and dehydration.
- The presence of guarana in certain energy drink brand increases the drink’s total caffeine content.
- People who consume caffeinated beverages with alcohol may not be able to tell how intoxicated they are.
- Excessive cafffeine may disrupt sleep patterns in teens and also induce risk-taking behavior.
- A single serving of energy drink may contain up to 60 grams of added sugar and this amount exceeds the recommended intake of sugar.
Although a single can of energy drink is safe, some have high amounts of caffeine and sugar that can be detrimental to your health! You can prevent this by always reading the nutrition facts and ingredients of the energy drinks you wish to consume.
What Can Energy Drinks Do To Your
After you drink an energy drink, a lot will happen inside your body. I will explain the effects in more detail below, but to summarize, you’ll first experience an amazing energy rush, but then come the inevitable sugar crash and energy slump, the caffeine withdrawal and the caffeine tolerance.
The following explains what energy drinks will do to your body when you drink them.
Within the first 10 minutes, the caffeine enters the bloodstream and begin to increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Within the next 15-45 minutes you will feel an energy spike that not only makes you feel more alert but enhances your concentration as well
Within an hour of consuming an energy drink, you will start to feel the energy begin to wane. You’ll slowly start to feel tired. Within 5-6 hours, you body will start to metabolize the caffeine, reducing the amount by half.
After 12-24 hours, the caffeine would be completely eliminated from your system, but as a side effect, you will start to experience the typical symptoms of caffeine withdrawal which include but are not limited to, headache, irritability and constipation.
Within 7-12 days, your body will slowly begin to develop a tolerance to the caffeine and you will begin to feel less and less of its effects.
If you want to know more about this process, here’s a video telling you the bits and pieces of what happens after you drink energy drinks:
Who Should Not Drink Red Bull?
There are several kinds of people who shouldn’t go anywhere near Red Bull and they are listed in the back of the can: “Not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women, and persons sensitive to caffeine.”
While these aren’t the only at-risk groups who should avoid Red Bull (and probably other energy drinks), I’ll only be covering those three since that’s what it says on the can.
Children Under 18
Toddlers, pre-teens and teenagers are all at risk groups under this category and should stay away from Red Bull not only because it contains caffeine, but also sugar.
If you’re a member of this category or if you’re a parent reading this you should monitor your or your children’s consumption of energy drinks as studies have shown that caffeine can be harmful to individuals under eighteen.
The risk of overdose is also significantly higher for children that it is for adults since children are more sensitive to even the smallest amounts of caffeine. Side effects of caffeine on children and teenagers include:
- altered sleep cycles
- impulsiveness and depression
- stunted development
- irritability, mood swings, anxiety
- jitteriness and hyperactivity
Pregnant and Nursing Women
Pregnant women and women who are nursing are also at risk when it comes to caffeine consumption.
One of the more major concerns is that pregnant women take 1.5–3.5 times longer to eliminate caffeine from your body. Caffeine can also cross the placenta and enter the baby’s bloodstream which may negatively affect the baby’s health.
While the general advice is to not drink more than 1 – 2 cups of coffee a day, the same advice can’t apply for energy drinks like Red Bull, so it’s best to avoid it just in case.
Caffeine sensitivity refers to the catch-all term for any condition where even the slightest hit of coffee can send you reeling.
Symptoms of caffeine sensitivity mimic those in a typical caffeine overdose except in much smaller doses. Side effects can be felt in amounts as low as 30 – 50 mg for those with caffeine sensitivity and may include:
- racing heartbeat
- nervousness or anxiousness
While no two person has the same kind of caffeine sensitivity, scientists have found that the causes of caffeine sensitivity include medications (supplements like ephedrine and echinacea), genetics and liver metabolism.
Are Red Bull’s Ingredients Safe?
To distinguish whether Red Bull’s ingredients are safe, we have to look at the ingredients of Red Bull and look at its amount.
Caffeine Content of Red Bull
The daily recommended intake of caffeine is 400mg, but this intake is only for healthy adults.
Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine per 8.4 fl.oz. Even though it’s not close to the recommended daily intake, you shouldn’t drink more than once because doing so can lead you to adverse effects of the other ingredients that Red Bull has.
Besides, 80 mg of caffeine is enough for you to get a temporary energy boost.
Sugar Content of Red Bull
Red Bull has a ton of sugar, it contains 27g which exceeds the maximum amount that the American Health Association suggests — 24g for women and 36g for men.
If you’re a gal, don’t worry. This doesn’t mean you should never drink an energy drink like Red Bull, it simply means that you have to be consistently healthy to avoid the harmful effects of sugar.
For a gentleman, you have to be aware that a lot of what you’re consuming every day contains sugar. So even if Red Bull doesn’t exceed the maximum amount, it can add up along with the other foods/drinks you take which can then lead to overconsumption.
Deaths and Hospitalization
Several cases of death and hospitalization have been linked to the overconsumption of energy drinks.
A young man with no pre-existing conditions died from a heart attack in 2013 after drinking 3 cans of an energy drink. Another one was hospitalized earlier this year after drinking four energy drinks for an entire day.
You can easily Google more of these cases and the results will surprise you. Energy drinks are responsible for more deaths and hospitalization than the public would like to admit, which makes my job all the more important.
Conclusion: How Many Red Bulls Can You Have In A Day?
In conclusion, you should not drink more than one Red Bull a day, but not exclusively because of the caffeine. The sugar content is also a problem.
I am by no means a dietary snob, but we already consume a lot of sugar in our day to day lives, and energy drinks hardly seem worth the added calories.
You don’t have to follow my advice as I am not a doctor, but if you have preexisting conditions you should definitely consult a physician. If you think you have a high enough caffeine tolerance to handle 2 or 3 cans by all means.
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.