Study Shows RedBull No Better Than Coffee At Giving You “Wings”
As a company, RedBull is hard to hate; they sponsor some of the most exciting and creative pieces of entertainment around. Seriously, let’s take a moment to admire the laundry list of cool shit they’ve brought to the masses:
- Crashed Ice
- Their amazing F1 Team
- Air Races
- Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from space!
- Base Jumping
- Rebull Rampage
- Extreme Sailing (it’s actually fun to watch)
- Soapbox racing (check this out if you haven’t)
- And so much more…
They also have one of the most amazing office spaces ever conceived by man.
Does your workplace come with a slide? Didn’t think so.
But all of this credit should go to their marketing department.
In fact, that’s pretty much what RedBull is — a marketing company that happens to sell some sugar water with a bit of caffeine.
My mistake, overpriced sugar water with caffeine.
Sure, it may have other ingredients like Taurine, and B Vitamins but that’s all for show, as a new study recently revealed. Let’s dive into it and see what they found.
The Study Design
The researchers wanted to see whether RedBull — as a formulated drink, had any benefits over taking caffeine by itself to increase performance. I should point out that caffeine has already been proven as a stimulant that increases work output, so I was very curious about this head-to-head comparison.
The subjects were a group of trained cyclists with an average VO2 max of around 60 (this is a very good score, it shows they have some serious cardio).
A lot of times you’ll see studies being conducted on an untrained population, on which pretty much everything works, so it’s not very relatable to the “real world.” So I like that these researchers actually recruited some real athletes for once.
They were divided up into 3 groups, and each were randomly given either RedBull, a placebo or a drink with the exact same amount of caffeine content, but nothing else.
As this was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, it meant that no one really knew which group was taking what until the end. This is a good thing, because it means no one could mess with the results or partake in any shenanigans. Speaking of which…
The Study Results
Compared to placebo, RedBull increased performance by an average of 2.8%. This isn’t bad considering they were trained athletes and in cycling, even a second or two can make the difference between 1st and 2nd place.
However, the group that took straight up caffeine showed an increase in performance by 3.1% compared to placebo.
Initially, This Might Not Seem Earth-Shattering. But Then You Look At The Cost…
A can of RedBull has about 80–90mg of caffeine and costs $2.99.
Well, a regular cup of coffee has 100–110mg of caffeine costs anywhere from 50c to $1. Heck, it’ll probably cost even less if you buy in bulk, and brew a cup yourself. Not to mention that coffee is loaded with antioxidants and has shown to help burn fat, decrease risk of Parkinson’s disease and provide a whole host of benefits that would take me an entire article to cover. In fact, I’ve written such an article right here.
Most of the performance/benefits that you experience from an energy drink is directly related to its caffeine content. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting something magical.
While there are supplements that work great when stacked with caffeine (such as creatine, beta-alanine, bcaa’s etc.) it is an overkill for most people. Stick to a source of simple carbs (such as a piece of fruit) and stack that with your cup of coffee 30 minutes before hitting the gym to experience your best workout yet!
Best of all, the money you have left over can be used to buy something more productive and delicious. Like bacon.
To your success!
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About The Author
Sahil M. is the founder of Hardcore Training Solutions and has authored multiple books on training and nutrition. He is also a Gymnastics and Powerlifting coach and has helped everyone from record-holding athletes to regular folks look and perform at their absolute best. If you’d like to work with him personally, go here to fill out an application for a Free no-obligation consultation. If you’re the right fit, he’ll get you in the best shape of your life!