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Caffeine Pills vs Energy Drinks: Full Comparison Guide

Caffeine Pill Vs Energy Drink

It’s convenient to grab an energy drink on the way to the office or to swallow a caffeine pill with your morning glass of OJ, but at some point, you have to wonder how this new and helpful habit is influencing your body and mind.

It is important to understand the difference so you can make an informed decision as to which is the better option for you. In this article, we will break it down and have a look at the differences, pros and cons, value, and long-term risks.

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Overview of Caffeine Pills

What Is a Caffeine Pill?

Caffeine pills contain 100-200 mg of caffeine in each pill. Some caffeine pills contain natural coffee, while some contain synthetic coffee, along with other ingredients such as additives, emulsifiers, fillers, and coloring agents. It’s vital to find a high-quality supplement and read the ingredients to know what you are putting into your body.

caffeine pills in blister packaging
Image Credit: mady70, Shutterstock

How Do Caffeine Pills Help?

Caffeine pills are a stimulant that focuses on your central nervous system to help you stay alert and awake. They aid in fighting fatigue, boosting metabolism, enhancing physical performance, and as an overall mood enhancer. They should never be used as a replacement for sleep and can also have some effects you must be aware of. If taken in excess, they can be harmful.

When To Choose A Caffeine Pill

Caffeine pills are helpful for quick energy and are cheap and convenient. They usually take effect after about an hour of ingesting and can take between 3-12 hours to metabolize.


  • Increases energy
  • Helps you stay alert
  • Increases endurance and focus
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Improved mood
  • Can cause irritability and headaches
  • Can lead to dehydration
  • Can cause nervousness and anxiety
  • May cause nausea or sleeplessness
  • Unpleasant favor

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Overview of Energy Drinks

What Is an Energy Drink?

An energy drink is a beverage that contains caffeine to improve energy levels, alertness, and physical performance. Along with caffeine, energy drinks contain sugar and many other legal stimulants such as taurine, guarana, L- carnitine, ginseng, and B vitamins. Guarana also contains caffeine, which means that some energy drinks have higher amounts of caffeine than others.

Energy drinks are one of the most consumed supplements by Americans. They can come in an average can size like most beverages or in the form of a shot.

Young man drinking energy drink
Image Credit: FotoAndalucia, Shutterstock

How Do Energy Drinks Help?

The combination of sugar and caffeine charges your body and mind to stay awake and energized. Once you consume an energy drink, it takes about 10 minutes for the caffeine to enter your bloodstream. When the caffeine levels peak, you begin to feel more alert, and concentration will improve.

When To Choose an Energy Drink

Energy drinks are convenient and affordable and can be purchased at most retail stores on your way to the office or gym. They are great on a hot summer’s day to help quench your thirst and usually come in various delicious flavors.


  • Enhances mood
  • Helps you stay focused
  • Boosts energy
  • Assists physical performance and endurance
  • Convenient
  • High in sugar
  • Can lead to weight gain
  • Can cause cardiovascular problems
  • Addictive

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What Do They Do to Your Body?

While caffeine pills and energy drinks can be beneficial, if taken in excess, they can negatively affect your body and mind.

Caffeine Pills

Caffeine pills increase energy levels to help you stay active throughout the day. Caffeine promotes calcium ion production in the muscles, enhancing blood circulation and containing antioxidants that help muscle recovery. It also boosts metabolism resulting in a more active body and can assist with weight loss because of its thermogenic properties in burning calories while minimizing appetite.

Because caffeine pills contain concentrated caffeine, it is easy to consume doses that are too high. High doses which exceed 400 mg a day can have negative effects. They can cause increased heart rate, restlessness, nausea, headaches, and chest pain.

Energy Drinks

The combination of sugar and caffeine in an energy drink can improve your endurance and assist with muscle strength. They assist in raising your metabolism so that you’re energized to complete a task, workout, or any physical activity.

After an energy drink is consumed, caffeine enters the bloodstream within 10 minutes, which triggers a rise in heart rate and blood pressure.

Once the caffeine subsides, a sugar crash may occur, causing you to feel low and tired. It can take an average of 12 hours for the body to remove caffeine from the bloodstream completely. Caffeine withdrawal can include symptoms such as headaches and constipation. If you drink energy drinks regularly, it may take 7-12 days for the body to become familiar with a regular intake of caffeine, in which case the boost an energy drink supplies you may disappear as your body gets used to them. Energy drinks have also been connected to cardiovascular problems by increasing blood pressure and heart rate.

Some energy drinks are loaded with  7-14 teaspoons of sugar, and consuming sugary drinks can cause oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as a spike in blood sugar which can be bad for your health, especially if you have diabetes. The high sugar content can also be a cause of weight gain.

man holding a bottle of energy drink
Image Credit: sirtravelalot, Shutterstock

What Do They Do to Your Mind?

Caffeine Pills

Caffeine pills can increase activity in your brain and nervous system and increase the circulation of cortisol and adrenaline in your body. They assist in boosting concentration and focus for a busy day at the office.

When you experience caffeine withdrawal, you can feel cranky and anxious and have difficulty sleeping.

Energy drinks

Energy drinks can increase mental alertness by improving brain function. Studies also confirm that energy drinks can improve memory, concentration, and reaction time and reduce mental fatigue.

After 12 -24 hours, a sugar crash may occur, resulting in irritability and a decrease in mood. The withdrawal of caffeine can also cause anxiety and nervousness. Energy drinks can be addictive because of their high sugar content.

How To Consume Them Safely

Most importantly, you should read the label on your caffeine pill supplement or speak to your doctor about recommendations.

How to Consume Caffeine Pills Safely:

  • Limit your caffeine intake to 400 mg a day, and remember that other foods and drinks containing caffeine should preferably be avoided when taking caffeine pills.
  • Avoid taking caffeine pills close to bedtime.
  • Always monitor the possibility of overdose effects such as a fast heartbeat and anxiety.
  • Do not mix caffeine pills with other drugs or alcohol.
  • Grapefruit juice can increase the effect of caffeine pills if you drink it at the same time.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to avoid caffeine pills.
How to Consume Energy Drinks Safely:
  • Limiting your caffeine intake to 400 mg a day is essential, and it is best to limit your energy beverage to no more than two a day, while also avoiding other foods and drinks containing caffeine.
  • Do not mix energy drinks with alcohol. Mixing the two can increase the likelihood of engaging in risky behavior and binge drinking.
  • When purchasing an energy drink, choose a brand that provides nutritional information and ingredients.
  • Always consult your doctor if you have underlying health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Pregnant and nursing women should avoid energy drinks.
Coffee beans spilling out from prescription bottle
Image Credit: Jenn Huls, Shutterstock

Cost Factor

Caffeine pills win when it comes to factoring in the cost. You can have a supply on hand that usually lasts up to a month or longer but buying an energy drink or two every day can add up pretty fast.

Caffeine Pills vs Energy Drinks: Which Is Right for You?

When choosing which product is right for you, you need to consider your current health status, underlying health concerns, dosage control, and side effects. Also, consider what is more convenient for you regarding availability and cost.

Here is a simple comparison table for quick reference:

Caffeine Pills

  • Convenient and affordable.
  • Can taste bitter
  • Pure caffeine
  • Increased energy, alertness, improved mood, boosts metabolism
  • Irritability, headaches, anxiety, nausea
Energy Drinks
  • Convenient and affordable. Can be purchased at most retail stores.
  • Refreshing and tasty
  • Caffeine, sugar, taurine, guarana, L-carnitine, ginseng
  • Increased energy, endurance, and physical performance
  • High in sugar, weight gain, addictive, costly

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To sum it up, caffeine pills and energy drinks are two different ways to get a caffeine kick. They both include great benefits when consumed responsibly and can have harmful effects when taken in high doses. They can greatly help increase productivity, boost energy, and enhance mood. You decide to choose which product works best for you, but we believe that caffeine pills are the better choice. Compared to energy drinks, they have fewer artificial ingredients and added stimulants and are more convenient. However, a refreshing and tasty energy drink is an excellent source of energy on a hot summer’s day.

Featured Image Credit: (L) Microgen, Shutterstock | (R) thom masat, Unsplash


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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