With more than two dozen varieties of Rockstar Energy Drink, you're sure to find a variety that appeals to you. Caffeine and other ingredients promising an energy boost make it tempting to chug a Rockstar drink before or after a workout. However, the beverage may not be as healthy as you think.
Energize Like a Rock Star
The term "energy drink" was created by the beverage industry to describe drinks that combine caffeine with other ingredients thought to promote energy. The term is not recognized as an official food category by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the USDA, according to UC Davis.
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Rockstar Energy Drink doesn't promise anywhere on its website that its beverage will energize you. Instead, it targets its products at "those who lead active lifestyles — from athletes to rock stars." It delivers its subliminal message without making direct claims, by profiling athletes, extreme sports and models living a "rockstar lifestyle," according to the site.
The drink delivers up to 300 milligrams of caffeine per 16-ounce can, according to the company's website, an ingredient long noted for its energizing effects. By comparison, coffee contains 134 to 240 milligrams per 8-ounce cup, according to UC Davis. There are just one or two calories in a cup of coffee according to USDA; however, a 16-ounce Rockstar drink, original formula, packs 288 calories. Rockstar makes a variety of zero-calorie drinks as well.
Read more: Why Diet Energy Drinks are Bad for You
The sweet flavors make energy drinks a go-to choice for those who don't enjoy the taste of coffee, and who want more caffeine than the lower amounts contained in various types of tea.
Know the Benefits and Risks
Drinking too much caffeine can make your heart pound faster, but drinking the right amount can benefit this vital organ, according to a June 2017 comprehensive review of recent studies published in Cureus. Doses of up to 4 cups of coffee, per day, can prevent atrial fibrillation.
However, this does not hold true when the caffeine combines with other ingredients in a Rockstar drink, according to the review. Arrhythmias, racing heart, electrical disturbance between heartbeats known as "prolonged QT interval", thrombosis and vasospasms are all more likely to occur. Sugar and the side effects of other ingredients are the likely culprits.
Even proven-beneficial ingredients in a Rockstar drinks, such as carnitin — which is proven to improve athletic endurance, protect against cardiovascular disease and increases fat metabolism — can cause side effects. A March 2018 comprehensive review published in Nutrients looked at scientific carnitine studies, and concluded that it benefits intense athletic performance by maximizing oxygen and blood flow to the muscles. Side effects of ingesting large amounts of carnitine include a fishy body odor and diarrhea, according to an April 2019 study published in Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders.
Read more: Ingredients in Monster Energy Drinks
The 2017 review cited other common reasons why energy drinks are bad for you, including vomiting, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, sour or acidic stomach, excess urine production, changes in respiration and a jittery feeling throughout the body. Heart palpitations and low blood pressure can follow these early warning symptoms.
Over-consumption of energy drinks puts you at a higher risk, of course. Of fatalities cited in the review, some patients that died of heart conditions hours after consuming energy drinks had consumed between 7 to 20 servings. However, some people are more susceptible to the ingredients contained in the beverages than others, making it advisable to find other alternatives to energy drinks.
- Rockstar Energy Drinks: "Products"
- UC Davis: "Some Facts About Energy Drinks"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Coffee, Brewed"
- Cureus: "Energy Drinks and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Review of Current Literature"
- Nutrients: "l-Carnitine Supplementation in Recovery after Exercise"
- Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders: "Metabolic Lipid Muscle Disorders"
- USDA: "Rockstar Energy Drink"