"Energy" drinks by their very nature are not necessarily bad for one's health when consumed in moderation just like coffee. Health problems may occur though when one gulps these beverages as if they were drinking soda. Monster Energy, for example, is available in a 16-ounce can which contains about two servings of caffeine (160mg) compared to a cup of coffee (80 to 100mg). Most who drink beverages like Monster Energy drink the whole volume within a can. Many who drink "energy" drinks claim they "need" the extra caffeine because coffee just doesn't provide the needed kick anymore. This is worrisome because like any drug, caffeine can become addictive in that the human body builds a tolerance to the effects and "thinks" it needs more in order to function properly.
The reality is the effects on the human body due to long-term consumption of "energy" drinks is not well known. The claims found on the labels such as
high-vitamin doses increase concentration are unproven. It is not well-understood and the data is mixed on how the other stimulants apart from caffeine affect the human body.
The real concern is that people who drink "energy" drinks regularly tend to do so without moderation. Unlike coffee, which does not have inherent calories unless you add milk or sugar, "energy" drinks contain a lot of sugar and therefore a lot of calories. Just like soda, the calories within these drinks can really add up when consuming a Monster drink every day. The result: inevitable bodyweight/bodyfat gain if no exercise is involved.
Some people should stay away from "energy" drinks. Those who are hypertensive or have heart disease should be wary of consuming products containing high amounts of caffeine. These "energy" drinks can induce an increase in blood pressure and pulse rate in healthy people who drink two "energy" drinks daily.
Bottom line: If you like "energy" drinks and can drink in moderation (e.g., no more than two cans daily), then enjoy. Otherwise, coffee and/or tea is better if you like the stimulant effects of caffeine in the morning or before a workout. Coffee is also a good source of water (99.5%). Current research has dispelled the myth that coffee has significant diuretic effects on the body. Rather, coffee has very little diuretic effect when consumed in ordinary amounts and hydrates just as well as plain water.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."