So many choices...which to choose?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Amounts of Caffeine in Energy Drinks, Coffee, Tea, etc.

"Energy drinks may prove unhealthy" says one of a stream of new articles about the "serious health consequences" of energy drinks. These articles blather on about what they call "dangerously high levels of caffeine" in energy drinks, as if caffeine has suddenly become a danger. They seem about 5 years behind the times, sort of like someone suddenly pointing out that vodka has alcohol in it.

OF COURSE energy drinks have high levels of caffeine, that's why people drink them! Just like they drink coffee, tea, yerba mate, guarana, and the endles other caffeine based products that have been a part of human history for millenia.

Yes, energy drinks have caffeine, but how much?

On average, the 8 oz single serving size of energy drink such as Red Bull, Rockstar, or Monster has about 60-80 mg of caffeine in it. 160z drinks have twice that, or 120-160 mg of caffeine. To determine how "dangerous" this is, we might compare it to other common sources of caffeine.

On average...
a cup of drip coffee has between 110-175 mg of caffeine
a cup of brewed coffee 80-140 mg
a cup of black tea 70 mg
a cup of gree tea 30 mg
a cola drink 35-55 mg
2 Excedrin tablets 130 mg
2 maximum strength Midol 120 mg

So, the "dangerously high levels of caffeine" that people who drink energy drinks are consuming are about the same as a weak cup of coffee for a single serving 8 oz can, or about a strong cup of coffee for a 16 oz can.

People might debate the negative effects of caffeine, and many do. Some say it is an elixir of life, and have built "tea time" of various stripes into their very cultural fabrics. Others say it is a poision that should be avoided at all costs.

Whatever your views, let's be fair and realistic about how energy drinks are evaluated. If people drink 3-4 cups of tea, or 2-3 cups of coffee, or have 3-4 energy drinks in a day, it is about the same level of caffeine.

~Your Smart Energy (SmartEnergy) watchdog

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