I have to admit, I’m not someone who regularly reaches for caffeine in the morning to get me going – but I certainly do use some to boost my training for endurance runs and triathlons. It definitely helps me focus better, swim/bike/run faster, and feel better during and after my workout. And I’m not alone. Marathon season is upon us, and I know many of my friends who are runners rely on small doses of caffeine to boost their performance.

When it comes to your pre-run beverage, caffeine is caffeine. Whether you choose a cup of coffee or an energy drink, both are proven to have the same effect. Surprised? Let’s do some more fact-finding and mythbusting on energy drinks.

What are energy drinks?

Energy drinks are beverages containing varying amounts of caffeine and other ingredients such as vitamins, amino acids, herbs, and sugars. They are not the same as “sports drinks,” which are made up of fluid, carbohydrates, and electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium.

Are they safe?

As with any caffeinated beverage, the key is consuming a moderate amount. Up to 400 mg per day from all sources (including coffee, energy drinks, tea, etc.) is considered a moderate intake of caffeine. Did you know most energy drinks contain levels of caffeine similar to coffee drinks of the same size? Also, many energy drink manufacturers voluntarily show caffeine content on the label, so this can help you moderate your caffeine intake.

For healthy individuals, consuming single servings of a typical energy drink, or less than 200 mg of a caffeine-containing beverage, at one time does not pose a health risk.

What about the other ingredients in energy drinks?

The EFSA’s Scientific Opinion on caffeine safety affirms that the other “constituents” commonly present in energy drinks do not affect the safety of the caffeine in those beverages.

To find out about dehydration, how much people are really drinking and my bottom line recommendations and resources, read my full FACTS Followers article.

For more information about me, check out my Guilt-Free RD philosophy here

To check out other posts on my “Food for Thought” blog, click here.

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Note: I’m pleased to be a consultant to The International Food Information Council, providing blogs and other social media content that shares their resources for health professionals and the public. I believe whole-heartedly in their mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety for the public good.
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