Red Bull is one of the highest-selling energy drinks in the world. Many people enjoy the flavor and taste of Red Bull, but are there any drawbacks to knocking back this caffeine-loaded beverage?
In this blog, we’ll go into everything from how much caffeine is in Red Bull to the side effects that come with this popular energy drink. We’ll also delve into which is better, coffee or Red Bull. Which side of the fence do you fall on in this popular debate? Keep reading to see what we think.
Red Bull Caffeine Content
The caffeine content in one can of 8.46 fluid ounces of Red Bull is 80 mg—that’s less than one cup of coffee (more on that below). When compared to many other energy drinks that often have larger serving sizes, Red Bull comes out as having a moderate amount of caffeine. Monster energy drinks are often sold in 16-ounce servings and have 160 mg caffeine, while Bang energy drinks pack 300 mg of caffeine in a 16-ounce can. While this leaves Red Bull looking pretty safe in comparison, you still have to take into account the sugar content of this energy drink as well.
An average can of Red Bull has over 27 grams of sugar. Combine that percentage with the 80 mg of caffeine, and Red Bull becomes less healthy than you may one originally thought, although it will certainly give you that much-needed energy boost.
As with any other energy drink on the market, and anything in the world really, moderation is key. You need to know how much Red Bull is safe for you to drink and what amount isn’t, which will also depend on what else you are consuming in the day.
It’s equally important to know the side effects and health risks associated with drinking Red Bull. We’ll go into those in our next section.
Health Risks/Side Effects of Drinking Red Bull
While that boost of energy from drinking a Red Bull might be a great thing in the short term, there are thought to be short-term and long-term side effects as well as health risks from drinking too much of this energy drink or drinking it long term.
Increased Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
Red Bull has been known to increase the heart rate of people who drink it due to its caffeine content. Drinking too much of this energy drink, especially for young people, has led to abnormal heart rhythms, heart palpitations, and even in some cases, heart attacks.
People who have problems with high blood pressure and young adults should avoid drinking Red Bull because studies have shown that it can elevate the blood pressure within 90 minutes of drinking a can, and the elevated blood pressure can last up to 24 hours. In fact, it’s best to avoid drinking energy drinks at all if you have high blood pressure issues.
As with any drink that’s high in caffeine and sugar content, Red Bull can give you the jitters. The jitters, by definition, are when you get a sudden burst of intense energy that leaves you feeling shaky. After the jitters wear off, your energy levels will take a sudden drop leaving you drained and feeling out of sorts.
It’s important to remember that other foods and drinks contain caffeine as well, so adding those on top of Red Bull can cause your jitters to be worse. These include things like coffee, tea, espresso beans, chocolate, and some types of chewing gum.
Most people already know that caffeine before bedtime can cause you to have a restless or even sleepless night. Insomnia for an extended period of time can easily end up with you having a ton of health issues. You should avoid caffeine before bedtime and definitely avoid Red Bull or other energy drinks several few hours before your set bedtime as well.
If you already have a problem with migraine headaches, then you’ll want to avoid Red Bull altogether and limit your caffeine intake if it’s one of your triggers. These headaches can also happen because of a caffeine rebound, even to people who don’t suffer from migraines already.
A caffeine rebound means that you’re so used to having a strong dose of caffeine that you go into withdrawals when you don’t have it, resulting in a pounding migraine. It has been reported that steady drinkers of Red Bull are prone to getting migraines because of their dependency on the caffeine in the product.
Promotes Weight Gain
As previously mentioned, not only does Red Bull contain a high amount of caffeine, it also contains a ton of sugar. Sugar, as you know, can lead to weight gain and even obesity if you have too much of it.
On top of that, the sugar in Red Bull could be described as empty calories because there is no nutritious value in the drink or the sugar in it. In other words, these empty calories could be cut from your diet to make room for foods that are rich in calories that are healthy for you. We should mention that there is a sugar-free version of Red Bull which is fairly popular as well.
These are only a few of the side effects and health risks of drinking Red Bull. Of course, this isn’t to say that you can’t have a Red Bull energy drink occasionally, but as with everything else, they need to be consumed in moderation.
Red Bull vs. Coffee
While the debate will probably continue to rage for years, our opinion is that there are some pretty strong reasons to stick to coffee over Red Bull, or any energy drink for that matter. So, if you’re not sure which side of the fence you fall on, keep reading for why we explain why we find coffee to be better for your body and a better alternative to Red Bull to get that caffeine fix throughout the day.
Coffee Contains Zero Calories
Asides from containing caffeine to give you a burst of energy, Red Bull can contain a ton of sugar. While this might help you in the short term, in the long term, when the crash inevitably happens, you’re going to feel horrible. This is assuming, of course, that you don’t add your own sweetener to your coffee, which can admittedly produce the same effect.
However, an average doctored coffee doesn’t contain quite as many empty calories as energy drinks do. A serving of coffee with 2 tablespoons of sugar and a dash of whole milk has about half the calories of a Red Bull can.
Coffee Is Less Expensive
About seven cans of Red Bull will cost you $20-$25, depending on where you purchase them. On the other hand, a coffee club subscription will end up with you getting 30 to 34 cups of coffee or more for that same amount of money. There’s no doubt that Red Bull is expensive, and coffee is more cost-effective.
More Caffeine for Less Cost
If you’re worried that you won’t get enough of an energy burst from coffee, don’t be. One can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine, while an average cup of coffee contains 110 to 115 mg per cup.
So, in reality, you’re getting more caffeine for a cheaper price, less sugar, and it’s much better for you.
Coffee Just Tastes Better
Let’s be honest about it. Most energy drinks don’t taste all that great. They have a somewhat fake fruity flavor that can leave a bad taste in your mouth afterward. Coffee just tastes great. Whether it’s a bold Colombian blend or a gentle house blend, coffee has Red Bull beat in the taste department, hands down.
However, if you’re not into coffee, you can get some caffeine and energy from drinking certain teas as well, and they are still better for you than chugging Red Bulls throughout a long workday.
This concludes our blog on everything you need to know about Red Bull, how much caffeine it contains, the health risks and side effects, and how it stands up to a good old-fashioned mug of coffee.
While there’s nothing wrong with a Red Bull energy drink, you should keep your consumption of this drink to only one a day or every couple of days, if possible. If you’re unsure as to whether Red Bull is okay for you and your health needs, it’s best to contact your doctor for advice, especially if you have existing health problems such as heart disease or high blood pressure.
So, which side of the fence do you fall on in the coffee vs. Red Bull war? Let us know where you land and why in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you think. Red Bull or coffee? Which one do you choose?
Featured Image Credit: PhotoHunterQais, Shutterstock
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