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What Happens To Your Body on Energy Drinks, Says Science

That jolt of energy may not be worth it...
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

When you need a boost to keep you going through the day and coffee can't cut it, energy drinks sure do look enticing. These beverages truly live up to their name—according to the Mayo Clinic, energy drinks come packed with stimulants, including taurine, guarana, ginseng, ginkgo-biloba, and a handful of other chemicals that keep your body and mind moving, even after fatigue starts to set in.

While this perfect storm of energy keeps you focused and alert, it also puts undue stress on your body. With all of the physiological markers that come with heightened awareness, these drinks put your body in overdrive and cause a vast amount of immediate effects on anyone who downs a can or two.

In order to keep track of what to expect the moment you finish that can, we here at Eat This, Not That! consulted the findings found in a variety of medical resources to determine precisely what happens if you're drinking energy drinks on a regular basis. Here's what you need to know, and for even more helpful drinking tips, be sure to read up on our list of the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are.

Increased heart rate and blood pressure

Red bull energy drink

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, these drinks cause noticeable and immediate changes to your cardiovascular system, making them somewhat troublesome if you have certain pre-existing conditions.

Heart palpitations and blood pressure spikes predictably can do some damage if you already face high blood pressure or have a weak heart. According to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, energy drinks can create a myriad of complications for anyone with an already weak heart due to their immediate reaction with one's blood pressure and heart rate. If you need to watch your vascular health, watch out for the side effects of these drinks next time you crave an energy boost.

To get the most out of your energy drink experience without sacrificing any of the positive upsides, check out The Best Energy Drinks For 2020 (And Which to Avoid) to keep you moving through the day.

Improved brain function

studying energy drinks

In addition to tasting great, energy drinks actually do help you feel energized and help you concentrate on what you need to get done. After downing one of these beverages, consumers do feel sharper. According to a study from the journal Amino Acids, participants could perform better on cognitive tasks after downing an energy drink, making them a quick aid if you need to get down to business and focus on the task at hand.

Another study taken from the journal Psychopharmacology confirmed these results in a separate trial. If you want a drink to help you focus and stay sharp an energy drink can take you where you need to go.

To supercharge your brain without the aid of energy drinks, check out 13 Healthy Foods That Boost Your Memory, According to Nutritionists.

Increased bodily inflammation

Energy drinks

Unfortunately, the sugar content that makes these beverages so appealing can also do some immediate damage once you have a can or two. According to a study published in the journal Circulation, sugar plays a major role in spreading inflammation quickly across your body.

Another article retrieved from the JAMA Network confirms these same findings, making energy drinks a slippery slope for your health if you decide to down one.

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Poor sleep quality

Red bull vodka cocktail

When you need to hit the hay, you face some unwanted consequences after drinking an energy drink—your sleep quality guarantees to degrade. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, consumers who drink any beverage loaded with taurine, caffeine, and a cocktail of other energy-boosting chemicals should expect decreased sleep quality.

According to an article found in Frontiers in Public Health, the sleep quality decrease stems from our metabolisms rapidly altering as a result of consuming the drinks. If you decide to give yourself a mid-afternoon boost with a Red Bull, watch out—it just might interfere with your good night's rest more than you could expect.

Dental damage

monster worst energy drink

While energy drinks help us move through the day, the toll they inflict on our mouths might cause a few unwanted trips to the dentist. Like soda and juice, energy drinks do some serious damage to your teeth. In a study published in the International Journal of Environmental and Public Health, a correlation appeared between tooth decay and energy drinks consumption, while the research found that adolescents faced a particular risk due to their increased intake of the drink.

This spells out some bad news for your dental health, and while one energy drink won't destroy your mouth, drinking a can won't do your teeth any favors.


studying energy drinks

Some of us might reach for an energy drink to curb a headache, but these beverages might end up spurring an even greater headache or even a migraine. According to the Mayo Clinic, caffeine consumption changes our blood flow around our brain, causing different results in studied participants. In a study published in Human Brain Mapping, caffeine causes the blood pressure around our brain to drop by up to 27%, affecting the amount of tension you feel. Based on how much caffeine is in the energy drink, you might experience some extreme cerebral tension after drinking a serving of one of these beverages. Avoid the extra caffeine to steer clear of this painful effect.

Here are 12 Dangerous Side Effects of Energy Drinks, According to Science.

Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more about Erich
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