energy, drinks, healthy,

This is Your Body on Energy Drinks

The anatomical science behind sipping turbo-powered fuel.

Whether to ward off a 3 p.m. energy drop or to fuel a lethargic workout, the should-I-or-shouldn't-I surrounding energy drinks can arise at one time or another.

But what's the impact of slugging one back? An 8-12 ounce energy drink has 72-150 mg of caffeine. Drank throughout the day, every so often, this isn’t necessarily problematic. (After all, studies have found that up to 4 cups of coffee a day—which could top off around 400 mg of caffeine—can have positive health benefits like lowering your risk of diabetes, upping your mood, and slashing cardiovascular disease risk.)

But a large energy drink bottle can flood up to 294 mg of caffeine into your body—in one sitting. Look at a label and you’ll also notice that your average Monster contains more than your morning cup o’ joe: namely sugar and other ingredients like taurine, ephedrine, guarana, and ginseng. All those "extras" act as stimulants, enhancing caffeine and sugar’s effects, and throwing your body into overdrive. Another problem: The effectiveness—and health risks—of those additives are largely unknown, says Maria Pagano, M.S. R.D., C.S.C.S. and Equinox Tier 4 coach. 

So before you reach for an artificial pick-me-up, Pagano explains what’s going on under the hood while you’re sipping.