Energy drinks are fizzy drinks which contain high levels of sugar, caffeine and stimulants. The stimulants they contain are often guarana, taurine and ginseng. Energy drinks are not the same as sports drinks and should not be used for hydration during exercise.
Energy drinks are not recommended for children under the age of 16 years.
Make the healthy swap; swap your energy drink for water to keep your body and teeth healthy.
Water is the best drink for keeping hydrated when playing sport. It’s also free!
- Harmful effects of energy drinks
- Sugar in energy drinks
- Caffeine in energy drinks
- Stimulants in energy drinks
- Further resources
Harmful effects of energy drinks
The high levels of sugar, caffeine, and stimulants contained in energy drinks can cause some serious health problems including:
- sleep problems
- hyperactivity and behavioural problems
- tooth decay
- weight gain
Sugar in energy drinks
One large can of energy drink can contain:
- 14 cubes of sugar - which is twice the recommended daily amount for a young person aged 11 years and over
- 220 calories - you would need to run for 41 minutes to burn it off
Recommended daily intake of sugar for children:
|Age (years)||Amount of sugar|
|4 to 6 years||19 grams per day (5 cubes)|
|7 to 10 years||24 grams per day (6 cubes)|
|11 and over||30 grams per day (7 cubes)|
Caffeine in energy drinks
One large energy drink can contain the equivalent amount of caffeine as 2 strong cups of coffee.
Caffeine is an addictive substance which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola and energy drinks. It has a stimulant effect and high daily intakes can cause serious side effects. Try to limit the amount of caffeine in your diet.
Amount of caffeine in food and drink:
|Food/drink||Amount of caffeine|
|Large energy drink||180mg|
|Cup of coffee||95mg|
|Can of coke||40mg|
|50g bar of dark chocolate||25mg|
Stimulants in energy drinks
Energy drinks contain stimulants such as guarana, taurine, and ginseng.
The stimulant effects of energy drinks can cause hyperactivity, sleep problems and poor concentration. This can lead to poor performance at school.
See further information about healthy food swaps and healthy eating from the NHS: