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Monster, RedBull, CrazyTiger, EnergyDrink… Energy drinks provide a boost effect thanks to the taurine and caffeine they contain. Are they dangerous for health? What side effects? How much to drink at most?

Definition: what is an energy drink?

According to theFrench Food Safety Agency (ANSES)energy drinks are presented as drinks with stimulating properties both physically and intellectually. “They will promote increased energy, concentration and allow you to stay awake. These are drinks that have a boost effect“, explains Valentin Burduche, dietitian-nutritionist at the Psycho-Behavioural Nutritional Rehabilitation Center in Nancy.


What is the composition of energy drinks?

Energy drinks contain ingredients like caffeine which plays an exciting role. The amount of caffeine incorporated by manufacturers into these drinks is currently around 210mg/L. A 25 cl can of energy drink contains approximately 80 mg of caffeine, equivalent to one cup of coffee. These drinks also contain taurinean amino acid believed to be a “stimulant”explains the practitioner, in fact the European Food Safety Authority, as well as the European Commission, have ruled that taurine products cannot claim to delay fatigue or improve physical performance“. Taurine improves the absorption and assimilation of caffeine, “it does not boost performance, it is marketing“, denounces Valentin Burduche. We also find a large amount of sugar or sweeteners as well as several vitamins such as B5, B6, B9, B12.


“Energy drinks are specially designed to meet the needs of athletes”

Is it the same as an energy drink?

No”, clearly answers the dietitian-nutritionist. “They should not be confused, energy drinks are specially designed to meet the needs of athletes by providing the nutrients eliminated by perspiration.“Energy drinks are made ofwater, sugars and mineral salts as well as vitamins.

Is it good to drink energy drinks?

“As for the rest, it should be consumed in moderation.“, recommends the dietitian. If you are looking for a boost effect, “it is better to have a black coffee with two sugars”. A black coffee contains more caffeine than an energy drink, about 113mg/250 mL against 80mg/250 mL for a drink in supermarkets. “In addition to caffeine, sugar gives this boost but it promotes overweight“. If you prefer your coffee without sugar, it’s even better for the line. An energy drink contains approximately 15 to 20 grams of sugar for 110 calorieswhile two squares of sugar are 8 grams for about 40 calories,

What are the health dangers of energy drinks?

Several adverse effects have been identified with the consumption of energy drinks “like heart problems (hypertension, arrhythmia, tachycardia, etc.), behavioral problems (irritability, insomnia, anxiety, etc.), reports the nutritionist. These problems are all the more frequent when you combine an energy drink with alcohol, this makes this cocktail particularly harmful. It is also necessary to avoid consuming it before sport, it is a very common error.“. As the DGCCFthese modes of consumption could be associated with cardiovascular risks during intense physical exercise and a reduced perception of the effects of alcohol, which could lead to consuming more alcohol or taking unmeasured risks“. There is also addiction-related risks due to caffeine and sugar concentrations. But the practitioner tempers, “sugar-free drinks are sometimes more harmful because they contain more sweeteners and preservatives to correct acidity“.

What are the contraindications of energy drinks?

Energy drinks are contraindicated in so-called sensitive people, such as pregnant women, people with epilepsy, people with cardiovascular problems and people with diabetes (they promote spikes in blood sugar). “Teenagers are not more at risk, however these drinks are to be avoided in children due to their high sugar content and caffeine” recommends Valentin Burduche.

How much to drink maximum per week?

It all depends on lifestyle, metabolism and sports practice. If the Canadian Journal of Cardiology recommends one drink a day, Valentin Burduche recalls that “quick sugars must not exceed more than 10% of total daily calories, this represents approximately 50g/day (all sources of sugar combined: food, drinks, etc.) for an average adult“. The key word therefore remains moderation.

Thank you to the dietitian-nutritionist Valentin Burduche who practices at the Psycho-Behavioral Nutritional Rehabilitation Center of Nancy

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