Consumer Report: Caffeine Count in Energy Drinks

Energy drinks. Everyone from Tim Tebow to 50 Cent and Joan Rivers are advertising them. With their Facebook pages and Internet video campaigns, manufacturers specifically target young people. But Consumer Reports says you have to be careful how much caffeine you drink. It can quicken your pulse, cause abnormal heart rhythms,
keep you from sleeping well, and elevate blood pressure.

Consumer Reports analyzed the caffeine content of 27 top-selling energy drinks, testing three samples each. Although some list the amount of caffeine on the package, they are not required to, and Consumer Reports found some of the energy drinks underestimated the amount of caffeine listed on the label by 20 percent or more.

So how much caffeine do energy drinks contain? In Consumer Reports’ tests, it varied widely. For example: FRS Healthy Energy averaged 17 milligrams per container. Red Bull and SK Street Kings Energy averaged around 80 milligrams. 5-Hour Energy averaged 215 and 5-Hour Energy Extra Strength—242.

Most healthy adults can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. So Consumer Reports says for many people, an occasional energy drink is probably fine. Or you can drink regular coffee. An 8-ounce cup contains roughly 100 milligrams of caffeine.

Consumer and scientific groups have urged the Food and Drug Administration to require companies to disclose caffeine levels, but the agency says it lacks the authority to do so. Many energy drinks do carry warnings that they are not for children, women who are pregnant or nursing, or people sensitive to caffeine.


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