Monster Energy, launched in 2002, has become one of the most well-known energy drink companies on the planet and one of the best-selling too, with only Red Bull selling more. Like many other energy drink manufacturers, the company has inserted itself into the world of action sports, including skateboarding, BMX, and mountain biking, as a primary sponsor for hundreds of athletes, contributing in large part to its rapid growth in popularity.
The primary mechanism of the product’s energy-boosting effects is sugar and caffeine. But how much caffeine does Monster Energy have per can, and how does this compare with coffee? In this article, we look at how much caffeine you’re getting per serving and how this caffeine boost can differ — fairly significantly — from your favorite cup of coffee. Let’s get started!
Your energy drink may seem highly caffeinated, but there’s slightly more caffeine in a regular cup of joe!
Monster Energy Caffeine Content
There are over 50 different varieties within the Monster Energy line, and some of them, such as the “Java Monster,” contain an astounding 300 mg of caffeine per can. Others, like the “Monster Unleaded,” contain less than 20 mg of caffeine per can. Most of these varieties are available in the United States only, but other than these two examples, all the drinks have similar caffeine content across the range.
The original green Monster Energy drink contains 160 mg of caffeine per 16-oz. can, although the “Mega Monster” is also wildly popular, with 240 mg of caffeine in a 24-oz. resealable can.
Not all caffeine is made equal, though, and not many consumers realize that the caffeine in their favorite drink may be synthetically produced. Although synthetic and naturally occurring caffeine is chemically almost identical, synthetic caffeine goes through many steps to be converted from its initial form — ammonia — into caffeine and is often exposed to harsh chemicals during its synthesis. In small quantities, this is not usually dangerous or harmful to humans, but consuming large quantities on a regular basis may become problematic. Also, synthesized caffeine is absorbed through the digestive system far quicker than naturally occurring caffeine, resulting in a faster energy spike and unfortunately, a quicker crash.
Monster Energy does not specify on the ingredient list whether the caffeine content used is natural or synthetic, but due to the prevalence of the use of synthetic caffeine in most energy drinks, one can assume that it is probably from an artificial source.
Monster Energy vs Coffee
In terms of pure caffeine, a Monster Energy drink and the same serving size of coffee typically have similar caffeine content. Of course, depending on the roast, brew method, and bean type, coffee can have widely varying caffeine contents too.
For regular brewed coffee, made by pouring hot water over a filter or in a French press, the average caffeine content is around 100 mg per 8-oz. serving. Espressos generally have a higher caffeine content than brewed coffee, but since espressos are typically consumed in smaller servings, less caffeine is consumed overall. A typical espresso is around 1.5 oz. of liquid, containing roughly 60–65 mg of caffeine, and the same goes for espresso-based drinks, such as cappuccinos and lattes.
Is Caffeine Healthy?
According to the FDA, around 400 mg of caffeine per day is safe for healthy adults, or three to four small cups of coffee. Of course, this depends on the individual, and some people are far more sensitive to caffeine’s effects. Caffeine consumption in the form of coffee has been linked to multiple health benefits, including longevity, decreased cancer risk, gut health, and liver health, but these links may be due to the other substances in coffee rather than the caffeine itself.
When it comes to caffeine, the question of whether it’s good for you comes down to the form that it is consumed in. Freshly ground coffee, served without sugar or milk, may have great health benefits, but drinking three or four cups of instant coffee with milk and sugar is likely to mitigate most of those benefits. Likewise, most energy drinks like Monster contain high amounts of sugar. In fact, sugar is the second listed ingredient on Monster’s ingredient list. Monster contains a hefty 54 grams of various sugars in a single 16-oz. can, which is above the recommended daily amount by the American Heart Association.
Do Monster Energy Drinks Aid Performance?
Whether you need to burn the midnight oil while studying or need an extra boost during exercise or athletic competitions, energy drinks like Monster or a simple cup of coffee are usually the go-to for most people. The problem is that the boost caused by energy drinks is rather short-lived and is accompanied by a comedown or crash. This can vary depending on the individual, due to factors like tolerance and metabolism, but most people take around 12 hours to process all the caffeine from an energy drink, with a 15–45-minute peak.
For most people, the energy provided by a Monster will begin to decline within an hour, resulting in tiredness and lethargy. What this means is that a Monster may give you an energetic and cognitive boost that can help in mental and physical performance, but this will likely only last around 90 minutes at most. You’ll need to keep drinking more to sustain the energy, going over the daily recommend dose for both sugar and caffeine, with a harder crash at the end.
So how much caffeine is there in Monster energy drinks? There is around 160 mg of caffeine per 16-oz. can of original Monster Energy, although this can vary depending on the variety that you buy. This is about the same as a cup of coffee, although Monster contains many other ingredients too, namely glucose, and the caffeine may not be naturally sourced as it is in coffee.
Monster Energy drinks have become hugely popular around the world for their energy-boosting characteristics. Although having a can of Monster occasionally is probably fine, a regular cup of coffee can have similar effects without the addition of flavors and sugars, and in our opinion, it tastes better too!
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Featured Image Credit: NeONBRAND, Unsplash
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