BroBible may be have expert insights on some matters, but their article on energy drinks proves biology and food science isn’t in their wheelhouse. Here’s the point-counterpoint to all the misleading statements in their article:
BroBible’s infographic from “Here Are All the Terrible Things That Energy Drinks Are Doing To Your Body”
First of all, what is a “health expert”. A doctor? A registered dietitian? A health blogger?
As someone who literally wrote the book on energy drinks and their ingredients and has researched the food science and biochemistry behind them for 10 years, let me dissect some of their misleading statements. (I’d go through them all but “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”)
MISTAKE ONE – Caffeine doesn’t “immediately” or “quickly do anything.
The statements about caffeine’s effects on the brain claim that “the energy drink works to quickly block adenosine” and “Immediately the caffeine will cause your brain…”.
FACT – Caffeine takes 15-20 minutes to get absorbed. And that’s taking the SHORTCUT of being absorbed through the stomach. Everything else has to wait til it gets to the small intestine or colon.
MISTAKE TWO – Poor generalizations with caffeine’s effect on heart rate.
The infographic claims caffeine (via adrenaline) makes the heart beat faster, but there’s no mention of the dosage or of personal sensitivity. Some people are so sensitive to caffeine that a measly 25 milligrams will cause their heart to race. For those that are hypo-sensitive, 250 milligrams of caffeine does nothing for them.
FACT – There is NO CORRELATION between MODERATE CAFFEINE CONSUMPTION and HEART ARRHYTHMIAS (a moderate dose is 300 mg; healthy adults can have up to 400 mg per day; a 8 oz Red Bull or V8 V-fusion + Energy both have 80 mg) [SOURCES: Heart Arrhythmias and Heart Health; Three Levels of Caffeine Sensitivity]
MISTAKE THREE – Caffeine doesn’t turn you into a sweaty, electrolyte-depleted mess.
The claims about caffeine’s effect on the skin revolve completely around the misleading claims they made about the heart rate. Again, there are three levels of caffeine sensitivity [source] so for SOME people, this may be true, but the dosage makes all the difference, as well as whether the person consumed the caffeine with food or water; whether the person nursed or chugged their caffeine, and what else that person is doing (e.g. consuming caffeine prior to a workout)
FACT – Caffeine is not a good diuretic. If you regularly consume caffeine, you build up tolerance to the diuretic effects. If you’re NOT a regular consumer, you’d need over 300 milligrams to get the diuretic effect. If you’re consuming caffeine as a 16 ounce concoction, you’d have to pee anyway and there’s not a significant difference in the amount. [Source: Caffeine and Dehydration]
The European Food Safety Authority ruled that caffeine is safe to consume up to 400 milligrams per day or 200 milligrams per occasion for healthy adults. There are three levels of caffeine sensitivity and many different energy drinks with varying amounts of caffeine (and sugar); so generalizing with a “health expert” infographic is a waste of time and energy.