Home > Uncategorized > Energy Drinks…Do They Really Work?

Energy Drinks…Do They Really Work?

I am currently taking an introductory Biology course on health and nutrition. One of the assignments that I had to complete for this class was to look at the ingredients of an energy drink and describe what their effects were on the human body*. In my research, I found that a lot of the chemicals in Red Bull, such as calcium-pantothenate and inositol, are used to treat mental dysfunctions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive-Complusive Disorder (OCD) respectively. Because of these effects in addition to the caffeine that is present in the drink, it is my conclusion, that while Red Bull may provide “quick energy” it mostly creates a controlled stimulation of the nervous system, simply making you more alert, rather than giving you nutritional energy like what you would find in carbohydrates. This brief research into energy drink contents and function** has caused me to think, do we eat and drink certain products because of what we think they do to us rather than looking at their actual effects?

My question for the readers is this: How often do you drink an energy drink, whether it is a Red Bull, Monster, or a 5-Hour Energy? Do you notice a difference between how you feel after getting a good night’s sleep versus when you drink an energy drink? And do you think that energy drinks actually give you more energy to go throughout your day, or do they just barely get you through your day when you didn’t sleep enough?


* This assignment was a homework assignment posted in Professor Hartmut G. Doebel’s Introductory Biology Lecture for non-science majors: The Biology of Health and Nutrition.

** This link is the brief summation of my findings for the assignment previously mentioned. It is in no way research results concluded from any of my own experimentation. The sources for the information presented can be found in the footnotes of the document. This document is not intended to be republished.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

    I bought a 4 pack of Red Bull about a month ago, and at the moment I only have 3. I only drink one when I’m planning on having a late night, or when I need some energy to get through morning classes.
    There is nothing like getting a good night’s sleep in my opinion. I couldn’t see how the energy you get from energy drinks can possibly replicate the well-rested feeling I get after a good night’s sleep. When I drink an energy drink, I generally just feel more alert and energetic rather than well-rested.
    I find that Red Bull can’t get me through an entire day, but it can get me through the part of the day where I usually feel most tired. If I don’t have one after a long night, I feel groggy in my morning classes, but I perk up in the middle of the day. Rather than feeling groggy in the mornings, with a Red Bull I feel more alert during those morning classes.

  2. October 17, 2011 at 3:29 am

    I took a 5 hour energy once and it did absolutely nothing for me. Energy drinks give me a bit of a jolt but not enough to make me really want to have it become a habit to use them. However, when I don’t get enough sleep and need to get going in the morning, those Starbucks double shot of expresso coffees really help, but then theres a big crash about 3 hours later. A good night’s sleep is the best for me, and energy drinks don’t really do that feeling justice. For me personally energy drinks can’t get me through more than 3 hours nevertheless an entire day.

  3. October 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Yeah, there really isn’t a complete replacement for a good night’s sleep. I’ve learned this over the course of taking many, many caffeine and energy supplements since the beginning of high school. Freshman year it was a monster during football each practice for just a little boost. Turns out that was a horrible idea but I luckily never felt the negative consequences. 8 Months later during sophomore year i began drinking 5 hours and other energy drinks to stay up late or all night. The more energy drinks I took the more I learned about them and how they interacted with my body. It was never about how many calories they had in them. In fact, the energy drinks I had that worked the best were almost always nearly calorie free: 5 hour energy has only a few and the same can be said about Spike energy and coffee has none until you add cream and/or sugar. Drinks like Monster and Nos tended to give me a short period of energy, but not nearly enough to get me through a night without sleep or give me any energy the next day.

    It took me many sleepless nights to realize that if I wasn’t fully energized the full time I was just wasting my night half focusing on my work. Therefore, I stopped drinking the pop(or soda if your prefer)-like drinks and have stuck to energy shots, coffee or caffeine pills depending on the situation.
    Five hour energy drinks have a huge effect on me. The very first time I took one I went through all the little side effect warnings on the side of the bottle: rapid heartbeat, shaking, blushing skin. But I stayed up for as long as I wanted to and was functional. After my first experience with it I never had any of the side effects. Also, I found caffeine pills to be much stronger than the equivalent amounts of coffee for some reason, I’m not sure why.

    I found the effect of energy drinks/caffeine really depends on your usage. Say. if I was to drink a cup of coffee after a week without any caffeine products, then I would feel a large energy boost for an hour or two. If I had instead been drinking multiple cups of coffee for a week beforehand, it would be like drinking water and I would feel no effect.

    The next day after little or no sleep I always feel worse. How much worse depending directly on how little sleep I had and how much caffeine/other energy supplements I have in my body. If I’m well caffeinated I feel pretty much normal, if not I’m very slow and ‘out of it.’ And when the caffeine eventually wears off I feel pretty miserable, much worse than after a long day after a good night’s sleep.

    If you have any questions that you feel I could help you with feel free to ask. It’s not like I’ve been putting myself through clinical trials but I’ve amassed a decent amount of knowledge and experience on the subject.

  4. October 18, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I think there is a bit of energy drinks that has to do with a psychological effect. You think it will make you energetic, therefore you are energetic the whole placebo effect kicks in, if they were given another liquid in the same 5 hour energy or red bull container they would still act energetic. I know a lot of people who drink energy drinks and start acting hyper within minutes, no it did not hit you that fast or that hard. They just know that they have taken it and therefore act hyper.
    Though I do agree that they have different affects on different people, I drink coffee every day and grew up drinking Monster like soda (my dad raced motorcycles and was sponsored by monster so we always had them in the fridge) so they do next to nothing to me. They also are like alcohol in the sense that a 200 pound guy is not going to have the same effect as a 120 pound girl, or that chugging a bunch of them is probably not the best idea.
    There is a bit of truth to energy drinks, but people exaggerate the effects or that people drink way too much and this is what you hear about in the news. But one is not going to make someone suddenly start running around till 5 am, but it may be a replacement for coffee during exams.

  5. October 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I have a roommate who is completely obsessed with Five Hour Energy drinks. She takes them if she’s feeling tired, is about to go running, or needs to stay up late to study. Recently, I walked into the bathroom and saw three little red bottles sitting at the top of our trash can, and I couldn’t help thinking “Holy crap, her heart is going to explode.” Then, at the end of the day, when she’s ready to turn in, she often has to take melatonin just so she can sleep through the night. Now I don’t exactly know what to believe about the effectiveness of energy drinks, but they’ve always freaked me out. Seeing how it’s wreaked havoc on my roommate’s sleeping schedule and energy, however, I can’t help thinking that it’s probably more than just placebo and that I should stick with coffee.

  6. October 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    In my experience, energy drinks do not work, except for maybe coffee, tea, and ginseng tea. Most energy drinks have too much sugar, too much caffeine and the whole cocktail generally leaves me unable to function. I would sit there, shuddering, twitching, kinda like a mental patient inside one of those fluffy safety cells.

    Coffee, tea, and ginseng has just enough of everything to keep me vigilant, active, and able to focus.

    However, I prefer keeping my testosterone levels up at all times in order to mimic the effects of energy drinks. I do this by eating red meats, eating broccoli, working out, taking omega 3 supplements, etc. Ever since I started doing it, I’ve been more hyperactive than ever, in a good way.

  7. October 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Actually come to think of it, energy drinks do work in a way. If anyone here went to CI4, my CI roommates and I threw a dry party in I believe.. room 603, a six, that lasted from 10pm to 7am in the morning and I was able to stay up through Red Bull.

    However, during the ride home in the morning, I was totally exhausted. So, basically energy drinks aren’t really energy drinks since they generally don’t contain energy in the form of calories.

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