Energy Drinks: What Are Teen Athletes Drinking?

Teens consume energy drinks without regard for ingredients or potential health risks. What is your teen athlete consuming?

The front page of the Monster Energy website is packed with promotions from bands, athletes, and race stars. You can quickly connect to Monster Energy on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but information on the ingredients found in the popular energy drinks offered by Monster Energy is nowhere to be found.

The same can be said for the information provided by Red Bull and Rockstar Energy.

Teens are consuming energy drinks at an alarming rate, but few understand exactly what they are consuming.

Monster Energy Drink

Monster Energy Drink contains l-carnitine, glucose, caffeine, guarana, inositol, glucuronolactone and maltodextrin. These ingredients are included as part of the Energy Blend, which contains 2,500 mg. Each 16-ounce can of Monster Energy Drink is two servings, so teen athletes are consuming 5,000 mg of the Energy Blend with each can. There is no mention of how much caffeine is included in each serving, nor is that fact that guarana is a stimulant revealed to teens.

One can of Monster Energy Drink contains 160 mg of caffeine and an unknown amount of guarana. The average cup of coffee contains between 75 and 110 mg of caffeine, so teens could be consuming caffeine equivalent to more than two cups of coffee in addition to stimulating guarana. Guarana is proven to increase energy and enhance physical performance.

Red Bull Energy Drink

Red Bull Energy Drink contains caffeine, taurine, glucuronolactone, B vitamins, sucrose, glucose and spring water. One small can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine; equivalent to about one cup of coffee. Each can contains 250 ml or approximately 8 ounces. Two cans of Red Bull contain the same amount of caffeine as one large can of Monster Energy Drink.

Rockstar Energy Drink

Rockstar Energy Drink contains taurine, gingko biloba extract, caffeine, guarana seed extract, inositol, l-carnitine, panax ginseng extract and milk thistle extract. Rockstar Energy lists ingredients for all three bottle sizes; 8-ounce, 16-ounce, and 24-ounce. However, we noticed immediately that all three ingredient lists were the same.

At first glance, it looks like the 8-ounce Rockstar Energy Drink contains the same amount of caffeine as the 24-ounce container. Taking a closer look, the labels differed slightly. The ingredients were listed per serving, and each serving is 8 ounces. The 8-ounce Rockstar Energy Drink contains 80 mg of caffeine and 25 mg of guarana. The 24-ounce can contains 240 mg of caffeine and 75 mg of guarana. If coffee contains about 75 mg of caffeine per cup, one large Rockstar contains the same amount of caffeine as approximately three cups of coffee.

All-Natural Ingredients?

The all-natural ingredients on many energy drink labels, including taurine, guarana, panax ginseng, and l-carnitine have not been tested on children. Even though adult testing has been completed, there are no long-term studies on the effects of consuming energy drinks in any age group.

What is My Teen Athlete Consuming?

Energy drinks are a combination of water, sugar, and caffeine with a few herbs and all-natural ingredients thrown in that have not been tested on children and teens.