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Are Energy Drinks Bad For You | UK

by Hamza Jamal |

Energy drinks aren't the best for you, but occasional consumption by healthy people is unlikely to cause adverse health effects.

In fact, you are more likely to notice the positive effects of an energy drink, like reduced tiredness and greater physical endurance, and some energy drinks have vitamins that can supplement your diet.

So, what's all the fuss about?

A potent cocktail

The problem lies in the ingredients, where the quantity of caffeine per serving (as well as the sugar quantity in 'full fat' drinks) is ridiculously high.

Excessive consumption of caffeine and sugar could give you jitters, headaches, rapid heartbeat, poor sleep, and anxiety.

One energy drink might only temporarily give you these symptoms, but coffee, other fizzy drinks, and chocolate also contain caffeine.

The effects soon add up, and the diuretic effects of caffeine and sugar can also make you dehydrated if not consumed with enough water.

And that's just two ingredients.

Energy drinks contain other ingredients like guarana, taurine, L-theanine, and L-carnitine, which can have additional positive or negative effects depending on their dosing.

A rundown:


The caffeine content in energy drinks can range from 70mg to a whopping 240mg per serving, which is exceptionally high. For context, an 8-oz cup of coffee contains around 95mg of caffeine—several times less.

Large cans contain more caffeine – a popular energy drink brand beginning with 'M' has over 80mg of caffeine in 240g. Yikes.


Some energy drink brands contain excessive added sugars, providing 25-50 grams (around 12 teaspoons) of sugar per serving. The recommended daily intake for adults is 30g of free sugars.

Sugar-free energy drinks contain less than 1g of sugar per serving, making up the deficit with sucralose or another sweetener.

What's an excellent alternative to energy drinks?

Black coffee is a popular alternative, and you can prepare it at home.

Another option is a nootropic coffee drink like Vybey Braincare Smart Focus.

Braincare Smart Focus contains 35-40mg of natural caffeine per serving alongside B vitamins and choline for a sustained energy boost.

You also get 705mg of lion's mane mushroom, chaga mushroom, cordyceps mushroom, and Reishi mushroom to boost your brain health – these nootropic mushrooms can improve your memory and concentration in the medium term:

  • Lion's mane promotes nerve growth factor and neuron regeneration in the brain [3].
  • Chaga mushroom contributes antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that could protect the brain from stress and ageing [4].
  • Cordyceps is an adaptogen for increasing energy levels, endurance, and athletic performance [5].
  • Reishi mushroom calms stress as you power through your day [6].

Adverse effects of energy drinks

Two recent systematic reviews [1, 2] analysing dozens of clinical studies sound the alarm bells about excessive energy drink consumption.

The most frequently reported adverse effects include insomnia, headaches, dizziness, jitteriness, rapid heartbeat, and gastrointestinal issues like nausea and abdominal pain.

Particularly problematic are the neurological and psychological impacts - energy drink consumption was linked to substantially increased risks of anxiety, stress, and depressive moods. Among adolescents, there were disturbingly high rates of suicidal ideation and attempted suicide associated with energy drink use.

Cardiovascular effects were also commonly reported, such as arrhythmias, chest pains, and even a few cases of cardiac events like heart attacks in adolescents believed to be triggered by energy drink overconsumption.

The risks appear to be exacerbated by frequent consumption of multiple energy drinks per week, with one study finding those consuming five or more energy drinks per week were at greater risk for persistent depressive symptoms.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol was also shown to increase the stimulant effects while reducing the sedative effects of alcohol intoxication – this could lead to higher rates of binge drinking and risky behaviours.

Based on the evidence, both reviews recommend avoiding frequent energy drink intake, prohibiting consumption by children and adolescents, avoiding mixing with alcohol, and increasing regulatory oversight and public education around the potential dangers of excessive energy drink use.

Positive effects

Energy drinks can enhance alertness, attention, and energy and increase blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing for athletic performance.

But it's important to note that coffee and tea can have these effects—they aren't just energy drinks that can perk you up.

Most of us consume energy drinks in place of tea and coffee because it's more convenient to grab a can or a bottle, and they work well to this end—just don't overdo it.

Occasional consumption – OK or not?

That depends on your age and health situation.

If you are diabetic or have heart problems, energy drinks ARE NOT SAFE.

Energy drinks are also dangerous for children and teenagers because only an adult's body can properly handle the high caffeine and sugar content. Therefore, energy drinks should always be off the table for children under the age of 16.

The reviews we covered before found disturbingly high rates of depressive moods, anxiety, stress, and even suicidal thoughts and attempts among young consumers.

If you are a parent, that's enough to take notice.

For those already struggling with mental health conditions like anxiety or depression, energy drinks could likewise prove risky, with the stimulant effects worsening symptoms or intersecting negatively with any medications being taken.

Summing up

Are Energy Drinks Bad For You

Energy drinks are here to stay, and there's nothing wrong with occasional consumption, provided you are a healthy adult. However, we can't say for sure you won't experience adverse effects like jitters and anxiety.

Children should never consume energy drinks, and teenagers should be wary of the adverse effects they can bring (read the studies below).

A healthier alternative to an energy drink is a black or white coffee with or without sugar, or you can plump up for vybey Braincare Smart Focus, a nootropic coffee alternative for mental clarity and better energy levels.

All vybey’s products are good for you. Grab a vybey starter bundle to get started.


  1.     National Library of Medicine
  2.     National Library of Medicine
  3.     National Library of Medicine
  4.     National Library of Medicine
  5.     National Library of Medicine
  6.     National Library of Medicine