When energy drinks hit the market in the 90s, millions of Americans rushed to their local grocery stores, gas stations, and shops to try them out. And it seems like every day a new drink is entering the marketplace. However, there have been two brands that have stood the test of time in the energy drink landscape and those are Monster and Red Bull.
Both drinks are known for their numerous vitamins and amino acids and their significant caffeine content. These drinks will give you the boost you need to start your day off or finish the day strong. But…are they healthy?
Are there any risks with consuming these drinks in small or large amounts? We’re going to take a close look at the ingredients of both Red Bull and Monster to figure out which one is better in quality and if either is healthier.
A Quick Look at Monster vs Red Bull
The most obvious difference between the two beverages is their size. Your average Red Bull can is served in a 12-ounce (oz) can, while Monster can start at 16 ounces. And you even have the Mega Monster can, which is a whopping 24 ounces.
The amount of caffeine in both drinks is extremely high, and you can likely expect a certain buzz after consuming either. The Monster Energy drink has 89 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, while Red Bull comes in at 111 mg of caffeine. Note that your average 8 oz cup of coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine.
The main ingredients in both energy drinks include caffeine, B vitamins, taurine, guarana, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, antioxidants, glucuronolactone, l-carnitine, sugars, and trace minerals. You’ll also notice a slight price difference between the two products, with Red Bull typically selling for about 5% more than Monster–even given its smaller size.
This could likely be due to branding and the fact that Red Bull was the first energy drink to really blow up the market for these types of beverages. Just a small can of Red Bull costs around $5, while you can get a monster drink for about $3.
What About Health Risks?
Both drinks tend to have a fruity taste, which users love–though the differences aren’t extremely distinguishable. However, when it comes to their health effects, experts warn that these drinks should be consumed in moderation and with caution.
If you’re someone who suffers from gastrointestinal issues or heart problems, you may want to avoid energy drinks. There have also been notable incidents of heart issues and even fatalities after mild and excessive energy drink consumption.
So to be on the safe side, be sure to daily consumption of these drinks to the FDA’s recommendation of 400 mg per day. And if you find yourself suffering from any side effects such as nervousness, insomnia, anxiety, or headaches, you may want to cut back on these drinks or avoid them altogether.
How Much Caffeine/Sugar/Calories in Monster?
The 16-ounce Monster drinks contain 89 mg of caffeine. This high level of caffeine ensures its effectiveness to give you the energy boost that you’re looking for. However, you may want to limit your consumption of this beverage to no more than two or three a day, as just a few can push you past the FDA’s daily caffeine limit of 400 mg.
It’s also worth noting that Monster has a considerable amount of sugar, 54 grams to be exact. This is one of Monster’s biggest disadvantages. If you’re someone who wants to watch your sugar or are on a diet, you may want to consider the Monster Zero version of the drink, which is sugar-free.
Also, note that the FDA recommends capping your daily sugar intake at 24 grams, so just one Monster Energy drink can put you at twice that amount.
Too much sugar in a short time. Can also lead to unhealthy side effects including irritability, fatigue, high blood pressure, and mood swings–not to mention that high amounts of sugar can contribute to weight gain.
A 16 oz can of Monster has 210 calories. For a quick comparison, a regular-sized chicken thigh has 206 calories. So if you’re looking for a drink that won’t affect your calorie restriction, you may want to pass on Monster drinks or consider the sugar-free versions.
The FDA recommends 1500 to 2000 daily caloric limits for most adults and having more than one Monster can place a huge dent in your daily calorie consumption.
How Much Caffeine/Sugar/Calories in Red Bull?
The regular 8.4-oz can of Red Bull has 80 mg of caffeine. While this isn’t too different from the Monster drink, its difference in size is worth noting. In short, a full can of Red Bull has the same amount of caffeine as a full can of Monster and just about the same amount of caffeine as an 8 oz cup of coffee. The great thing about its size is that you can drink less, and still get the same amount of caffeine.
The same can of Redbull has 27 grams of sugar per serving. Though this amount of sugar is still relatively high, it still pales in comparison to that of Monster drinks. And this amount is still over (though only slightly) the recommended daily limit by the FDA. So if you drink one Red Bull in a 24-hour period, you may want to stay away from the sweet stuff for the remainder of the day.
The 8.4 oz can of Redbull has 110 calories. This also beat out Monster, by less than half the calories of its 16 oz drink. So if you’re on a diet and restricting your calories, you may want to consider Red Bull instead of Monster if you’re looking for a low-calorie energy drink.
Monster vs Red Bull: The Bottom Line
When it comes to B vitamins, taurine, and caffeine, both drinks contain about the same amount. They also both contain glucose, sodium citrate, citric acid, and various preservatives. However, Red Bull’s size will give you more caffeine for less, making it an ideal option for anyone looking for a less filling energy drink option.
Red Bull also has less sugar and calories than Monster drinks, making it an ideal option for anyone counting calories. However, Monster drinks are usually priced lower than Red Bull, giving you more product and more caffeine.
But Monster will likely give you more of a caffeine boost, given its total caffeine content. So the ideal option really depends on your budget and the size of drink that you want. Red Bull can give you a light and effective energy boost, and you can buy a Monster Zero drink if you’re looking to stick to any caloric restrictions.
Featured Image Credit: Left – Monster (Gkgraphix 53, Unsplash) | Right – Red Bull (Eyasu Etsub, Unsplash)