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Is Red Bull Bad for You? (And More)

Red Bull has the highest market share of all energy drinks. In one year alone, the brand has sold over 7.9 billion worldwide, which is no small feat.

Despite all the medical reports and scientific journal articles published about the negative side effects of drinking Red Bull, it remains one of the most popular energy drinks in the market.

It’s been proven that Red Bull can be really bad for you, but it’s still flying off the shelves by the hundreds.

So what’s the deal, are people generally in denial of the cold hard facts, or do they prefer to be kept in the dark, because “ignorance is bliss”?

A can of Red Bull energy drink
Featured image for Red Bull energy drink

Today we will be answering the question of “Is Red Bull Bad For You?”

Short answer, yes. Long answer, maybe. Because just like most energy drinks, Red Bull won’t land you a visit to the E.R. with just one can, but two or three cans a day, every day for months and months, and you might as well book a ticket to kingdom come.

You may be one of the very few people who are looking to wise-up on this matter, whether you’re a first timer, or a seasoned aficionado, you may stand to learn a few things about Red Bull and why I think it’s bad for you.

But first, let’s take a look what’s inside a can of Red Bull.

What’s Inside a Can of Red Bull

Red Bull contains caffeine, added sugars, some supplements and some vitamins. Among other things.

Back of A Red Bull Cans
Ingredients and nutrition facts of Red Bull energy drink

So if you want to skim the ingredients and nutrition facts of Red Bull, I made a list and a table for you!

Red Bull’s Ingredients

I’ve written an article on Red Bull Ingredients if you’re interested to know the full breakdown of all of Red Bull’s content and what exactly you’re putting into your body when you drink an entire can.

An 8.4 fl.oz can of Red Bull contains:

  • Carbonated Water
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Citric Acid
  • Taurine
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Caffeine
  • Niacinamide
  • Calcium Pantothenate
  • Pyridoxine HCl
  • Vitamin B12
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Colors

Red Bull’s Nutrition Facts

The following table presents the full list of nutrition facts from Red Bull’s nutrition label. I’ve also written an article about Red Bull Nutrition Facts if you want to know more about that.

Typical ValuesRed Bull
(8.4 fl.oz)
Calories110
Total Fat0g
Sodium105mg
Total Carb.28g
Sugars27g
ProteinLess than 1g
Niacin100%
Vitamin B6250%
Vitamin B1280%
Pantothenic Acid50%
Nutrition facts for Red Bull energy drink

Red Bull Pros and Cons

Before I go full ham on Red Bull and reveal all its dark, forbidden secrets, I will give credit where credit is due and talk about Red Bull’s benefits as well, and not just its disadvantages and dangers.

Red Bull Pros

The benefits of Red Bull includes:

  • Boosting energy
  • Enhancing alertness
  • Enhancing memory
  • Increasing reaction time
  • Improving mood

Red Bull Cons

The dangers of Red Bull when taken in excess include:

  • Increasing blood pressure
  • Increasing risk of type 2 diabetes
  • caffeine overdose
  • damaging your teeth

These dangers, or side effects, are what we will be talking about in the following sections so buckle up, it’s gonna be messy.

What Makes an Energy Drink Healthy?

Healthy energy drinks are rare, but they’re out there.

There are several criteria that would make an energy drink qualify as healthy. Healthline recommends you to look for brands that fulfill the following criteria if you want a healthier option:

  • 0 grams of added sugar
  • no artificial sweeteners or colors
  • less than 200 mg of caffeine per serving

Most energy drinks have a ton of sugar, much more than soda. Some energy drinks also add artificial colors and sweeteners, these artificial sweeteners may not give you the adverse effects that sugar does to your body but it also has its fair share of negative side effects.

What Makes an Energy Drink Bad for You?

Energy drinks may energize you, but the some negative effects will happen if you don’t drink responsibly. I’ll further explain it as you keep reading.

Too Much Caffeine

Mayo Clinic advised to only take 400mg each day for healthy adults. However, the recommended intake differs for various age groups. For example, adolescents should take no more than 100mg per day and pregnant women should limit themselves to 200mg per day.

If ever that you take high amounts of caffeine, you’ll have symptoms like:

  • dizziness
  • diarrhea
  • increased thirst
  • insomnia
  • headache
  • fever
  • irritability
  • hallucinations
  • chest pain
  • irregular or fast heartbeat

All these health issues and symptoms can be avoided if you read the nutrition facts of Red Bull — remember that there are a lot of beverage that has caffeine and not only Red Bull.

Too Much Sugar

Almost every products that you consume contain sugar, especially if you consume a lot of processed foods and energy drinks. It’s suggested for women to take only 24g of sugar while 36g for men.

There’s not a lot of nutritional value that sugar brings to Red Bull, but the reason they add sugar to the beverage is to make it taste better. However, exceeding the intake of sugar can lead to:

  • weight gain
  • acne
  • depression

According to Healthline, there are a lot of ways to reduce sugar intake. They recommend that the best way to reduce it is to prepare your own healthy meals and lessen the dependency on buying foods and beverages which tend to be high in added sugar. To know more tips about reducing sugar intake, you can visit it here.

Energy Drinks: Why Are They Sending People to the E.R.

Is Red Bull Healthy?

No, Red Bull is not healthy. Not by a long shot. It gives you energy because it has caffeine, and a few vitamins, but it is by no means a meal substitute or even a good supplement. It has tons of sugar, artificial coloring and preservatives.

According to this article, studies have shown that Red Bull isn’t supposed to be a health hazard. However, it can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, so people with heart conditions and hypertension should be careful

Don’t take these warnings lightly though. In 2008 a fifteen-year-old boy in Darlington, UK with no preexisting conditions was admitted to the E.R. for heart palpitations after drinking eight cans of Red Bull in a row.

Limit your Red Bulls to two cans a day max.

However, there’s this thing called natural energy drinks. Natural energy drinks that are manufactured often have vitamins that are energizing, minerals, antioxidants, and also more natural ingredients.

Side Effects of Too Much Red Bull

There have been many negative side effects associated with drinking too much Red Bull. I will discuss them in the following sections.

Increased Blood Pressure

Within 90 minutes and up to 24 hours after consumption, healthy adults that drank a single can of Red Bull increased their blood pressure and heart rate levels.

The reason for this is because of the caffeine content of Red Bull since it contains 108mg of caffeine.

Type 2 Diabetes

This disease occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly. Consuming sugar can indirectly lead to type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, Red Bull has a lot of sugars, 29 grams of sugar in one 8.4-ounce (260-ml) serving to be exact, that can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Caffeine Overdose

When caffeine is taken too much, caffeine overdose occurs. Red Bull has 80mg of caffeine per 8.4 fl.oz can which is preferable if you’re caffeine sensitive.

This might not seem a lot compared to other energy drinks that have over 200mg of caffeine, but if it’s taken Red Bull is often consumed it can exceed the threshold of 400mg per day which can be harmful to your health.

Damaged Teeth

Red Bull is considered an acidic beverage and research indicate that acidic beverages can damage the tooth enamel (the hard outer coating that helps protect your teeth against decay.)

A study found that energy drinks when consumed for 15 minutes and 4 times a day can lead to loss of tooth enamel.

Kidney Problems

Drinking Red Bull is fine and will not lead harmful effects on the kidney when taken occasionally, the only problem happens when excessive intake of Red Bull is done every day.

Discovered from a 12-week study in rats, excessive intake of Red Bull can decline the kidney function. However, these results have not yet been replicated for human studies.

But as a general rule of thumb, too much of anything can lead to danger.

Is Red Bull Safe?

Red Bull, just like most energy drinks, is a double edge sword. Drink in moderation and it can restore youthful vitality, but drink too much and it may end up costing you your life.

There have been many reports about people dying or experiencing medical issues from consuming too many energy drinks.

On November of 2013, a 28-year-old-man died with after drinking three 250 ml cans of an energy drink 5 hours before a basketball game. He died after 3 days in the hospital. He had no preexisting conditions and was otherwise a healthy young man.

On June 2011, a 19-year-old man was admitted to the E.R. after complaining of acute chest pains. He had a history of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and had been drinking large quantities of an energy drink the week before which doctors suspected had aggravated his symptoms. Thankfully he survived.

While the reports did not mention the specific brand, we can suspect that it was probably Red Bull only because Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the market.

If this isn’t enough to convince you, then maybe you should Google all the other cases where an energy drink has been responsible for taking a human life.

Red Bull Safety Measures

If you want to drink Red Bull and still live a long and healthy life, you should do these three things:

  • Exercise daily
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Limiting your intake of Red Bull
  • Don’t drink Red Bull with Alcohol

Exercise Daily

Exercise not only makes you physcially fit, but it can also make you smarter. You can jog around for a few minutes, do ten push-ups everyday, or any form of exercise can do — I saw a quote saying 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing and you should apply that to exercising! A few minutes of doing exercise is better than not exercising at all.

Eat a balanced Diet

A balanced diet can make you track what you put inside your body, one way of having a balanced diet is reading the ingredients and nutrition facts of what you consume. This is important because as you become more knowledgeable with what you eat and what you drink, you become more aware and lead to a habit that makes you healthier than ever.

Limit Your Intake of Red Bull

Limiting your intake Red Bull, and every other energy drink you may be drinking, is what will compromise a healthy lifestyle and a life without removing Red Bull. Limiting yourself in drinking Red Bull can make you safe from health problems yet enjoy the benefits that Red Bull brings. So if you love Red Bull, but hate going to the emergency room, then limiting your intake is the solution.

Don’t Drink Red Bull with Alcohol

Mixing stimulants like caffeine with depressants like alcohol is generally frowned upon by medical professionals.

You know that energy drinks have some negative effects, imagine mixing them with alcohol which is worse than energy drinks. Researchers call this a recipe for disaster due to the fact that mixing both beverages can create a “wide-awake drunk” effect.

The notion of mixing energy drinks and alcohol is a favorite choice for many people during a concert or a night out, but it entails risks such as the greater risk of accidents and injuries. So if you want to avoid something bad from happening, stay away from the idea of drinking Red Bull and alcohol at the same time.

Conclusion: Is Red Bull Bad for You?

Red Bull is generally safe, but people tend to overdo it because they believe it will keep them awake longer and give them more energy, allowing them to outperform their opponents in games and sports matches.

It’s significantly more dangerous for people who simply do it “just because they enjoy it”. Imagine drinking caffeine-infused sugar water with yellow food dye and thinking its ok to do it on a regular basis.

A lot of Red Bull’s bad rep is the result of people who are unable to practice a little self-restraint or those who generally lack the wisdom to know that sugar and caffeine is just not that good for your body.

What’s worse is that the use of caffeine in energy drinks is largely unregulated in major parts of the world which is why you may occasionally see an energy drink with over 500mg of caffeine in a single serving.

Just like it says in the video, the FDA should start cracking down on energy drink companies and regulate the amount of caffeine they’re using in their recipes because as we see, even amounts as low as those in Red Bull can cause a lot of problems.

Red Bull is only bad for you if you drink more than one can a day, everyday, for weeks on end. My only advice is to slow down on those energy drinks before you book yourself a ticket to an early grave.

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About Adrian Carter

Adrian writes about energy drinks and their ingredients to shine a light on the facts behind the brand names.

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