Will Energy Drinks Hurt Blood Vessels?

A study presented at the November 2018 American Heart Association conference claimed, “Just one energy drink may hurt blood vessel function.” It’s been a few months since the last “energy drinks are killing people” freak out, so I suppose we were due.  Instead of pointing out all the limitations in the study (because this Healthline article beat me to it and did a great job) I’m going to skip the science for today and just talk about the 10 energy drinks that will not hurt your blood vessels.

Wait, what? Don’t ALL energy drinks hurt your blood vessels?

Yes and no: Some would argue the drinks I’m going to list below aren’t really “energy drinks”. And that’s true – they are not the stereotypical energy drink, but they are caffeinated beverages intended to give the drinker energy. If you want to call them “caffeinated beverages” instead of “energy drinks”, I don’t care.

To me, the larger problem is that these kinds of drinks are always omitted from the “energy drinks are dangerous concoctions of high caffeine and sugar” stories. While there are indeed QUITE A FEW energy drinks with high amounts of caffeine and sugar, there has also been a huge wave of energy drinks that don’t match the stereotype.

Too often, research studies and news stories only address the worst without acknowledging how wonderful it is we have more options than Red Bull, Monster, and their copycats. We’ve come SO FAR in the energy drink world since 2003…I sure wish more people would act like it.

Moving on…

AHA News Brief - Just one energy drink may hurt blood vessel function
Source: https://newsroom.heart.org/news/just-one-energy-drink-may-hurt-blood-vessel-function

Just one energy drink may hurt blood vessel function if…

In the study presented at the AHA conference, the energy drink used was (take note!) 24-ounces. There’s no information about what ingredients were in this giant energy drink, but the authors note the following:

Higgins and colleagues believe that the negative effect may be related to the combination of ingredients in the energy drink, such as caffeine, taurine, sugar and other herbals on the endothelium (lining of the blood vessels). – AHA Meeting News Brief

How much caffeine? They don’t say.

How much sugar? They don’t say.

What kind of “herbals”? They don’t say.

Thanks, super helpful!

I’m sure this information will be included in the poster, itself, or if/when this study gets published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. However, I’m going to get all high-and-mighty and say it’s pretty irresponsible to omit this information from the press release knowing the headline “energy drinks hurt blood vessels” is going to be picked up by several major news outlets.

(Try it: Google “energy drinks” and “blood vessels” and look at how much Click-Bait comes up)

To me, omitting the specifics of the energy drink when suggesting it causes harm is like saying, “Just one vegetable may give you E coli.” This information is not helpful, it just causes fear. Up your game, would you please?

These are all energy drinks

Okay, so what caffeine CAN I drink?

Since we already know we’re not supposed to have more than 200 mg caffeine at one time (thank you European Food Safety Authority!), all we have to do is find a caffeinated beverage without this “dangerous” combination of caffeine, taurine, sugar, and so-called “other herbals”.

…also, it would help if the energy drink was NOT in a giant-a$$ 24-ounce can. Gee, I wish there were more energy drinks that came in 8.4- or 16-ounce cans…

The following caffeinated beverages are low-sugar or sugar-free, taurine-free, herbal-free, and have less than 200 mg caffeine per serving. They are alphabetized to avoid indication of my favorites (it’d be like picking a favorite puppy)

  1. Avitae Caffeinated Water
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  2. Bai Antioxidant Infusion (yes, this has caffeine!)
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [Caffeine Informer]
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
    (and why not Bang Energy)
  4. Clean Energy Organics
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer-N/A]
  5. Hydrive
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  6. Main Squeeze
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [Caffeine Informer-N/A]
  7. Mati
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  8. Mio Energy
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  9. Steaz Iced Green Tea
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  10. V8 Energy
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer]
  11. BONUS!!! Elite Ops Energy Strips (Not an energy drink but an energy strip)
    [GreenEyedGuide Review] [site] [CaffeineInformer-N/A]


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I’ve researched the science and safety behind energy drinks and their ingredients since 2003. This book is the culmination of my research:

Explore the CAFFEINE INFORMER database

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2 thoughts on “Will Energy Drinks Hurt Blood Vessels?

  • hi, I tried to buy your book in Kindle version to reward you for your research, and to learn what is inside, but I cannot buy it on Amazon.com, even though I am a US citizen, because my Prime accunt is in Canada, where I have lived since my Canadian husband died here in1989. The page takes me to Amazon.ca and the only book there is audible. My audible account is in the US, because I lose a lot of books if I move it, and I had it long before Amazon every knew about it. I think we al need more information about what we consume, so please see what is wrong. Thanks, Karena Andrusyshyn

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