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Side Effects of Red Bull Energy Drink

by
author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Side Effects of Red Bull Energy Drink
Woman reading her clock while laying in bed. Photo Credit RK Studio/Blend Images/Getty Images

Overview

Energy drinks can give you a boost if you are feeling lethargic, and Red Bull claims that its energy drink increase your energy and focus. Varieties of Red Bull include Sugarfree, Energy Shots, Cola and Energy Drink. Red Bull Energy Drink comes in an 8.3oz. can, and it provides nutrients such as the amino acid taurine and some B vitamins. However, this Energy Drink may also have some risks and side effects that you should be aware of before you drink it.

Weight Gain

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of American adults are obese. As a result, they may be at risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. To lose weight or prevent weight gain, don't consume more calories than you expend. According Harvard Law School, a can of Red Bull Energy Drink has 110 calories and 27g sugar. Sugars are simple carbohydrates that do not provide vitamins or minerals, and eating too many high sugar foods can make it difficult to eat all of the nutrients you need each day without gaining weight. Red Bull also has glucose and sucrose, or table sugar.

Insomnia

Caffeine is a natural compound in coffee, tea and chocolate, and many manufacturers add caffeine to their energy drinks because it is a stimulant. RedBullUSA.com states that caffeine improves mental focus, concentration and alertness. According to KidsHealth.org, caffeine can affect your nervous system for six hours. If you drink Red Bull too close to the time you go to bed, you may have difficulty sleeping because the caffeine may still be stimulating your central nervous system and prevent you from feeling drowsy. An 8.3oz. can of Red Bull has 80mg of caffeine, compared to about 55mg in a 12oz. can of caffeinated soda. Caffeine has greater effects on people with higher caffeine sensitivity.

Chronic Conditions

Drinking Red Bull consistently could potentially increase the risk for chronic health problems. Added sugars such as the glucose and sucrose in Red Bull cause tooth decay, and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting your sugar intake to prevent dental problems. KidsHealth.org warns that if you regularly depend on energy drinks with caffeine to keep yourself alert, you may become dependent and have difficulty focusing without them. Another side effect of Red Bull Energy Drink is the risk for osteoporosis because caffeine causes the body to lose calcium, resulting in weak bones. Caffeine can interact with heart medications and it can also cause heart arrhythmia.

Interaction with Alcohol

Red Bull is often used in alcoholic mixed drinks at bars and night clubs. While combining energy drinks and alcohol is unlikely to pose a significant health risk to healthy people, according to a literature review published in the "International Journal of General Medicine" in 2012, the long-term effects of energy drinks mixed with alcohol requires further investigation to determine their safety.

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