Crash and Burn

April 18, 2024
Posted in Wellness
April 18, 2024 Claire

Crash and Burn

The Hidden Health Risks of Energy Drink Overindulgence

Energy drinks have become a very ordinary part of modern life, with their colorful cans lining the shelves of convenience stores, cafes, and even school vending machines. These drinks used to be niche products that attracted many fitness professionals. It has now entered the mainstream. It is marketed as a quick fix for normal fatigue, a necessary boost for productivity, a drink to indulge in before or after a reasonably typical workout, and a stylish accessory for the on-the-go generation. However, this rapid normalization of energy drink consumption has overshadowed the health risks of excessive use. I want to explore why the growing acceptance of daily energy drink intake (sometimes multiple drinks a day for some) should be cause for concern.

The energy drink industry has gotten good at marketing. Drinks like Celsius, Monster, and Red Bull have made these drinks seem like a mere pick-me-up for the average person on the go. The rapid growth of the energy drink industry, with global sales, is expected to reach over $86 billion by 2026. That’s wild when you think about it. In 2020, the energy drink market saw a significant boost as the COVID-19 pandemic drove up the demand for products that could provide an energy boost and help people cope with school and work-from-home arrangements, along with pandemic-related stress. Global energy drink sales grew by around 5% in 2020 compared to 2019. This trend upward continued in both 2021 and 2022. Energy drink consumption rose even further once Covid-19 restrictions eased up in many parts of the world. Younger demographics continued seeking energy drinks to help them stay alert and productive throughout their busy daily routines.

Recent industry data shows that global energy drink sales reached over $60 billion in 2022, representing a compound annual growth rate of about 7% from 2020 to 2022. Countries like China and India emerged as the fastest-growing market for energy drinks during this time. Industry analysts predict that the energy drink market will maintain its momentum, though at a slightly slower pace compared to the previous years. The reasons why this trend will continue upward is because of:

  • Continued popularity among younger consumers.
  • Expansion of the market in Asia.
  • Focus on more natural, functional, and low-sugar formulations from energy drink brands.
  • New flavors and products to cater to evolving consumer preferences and wants.

I was introduced to energy drinks because I was a fitness instructor for 5.5 years. I wouldn’t say I like energy drinks (the smell usually puts me off), but seeing so many peers teaching multiple classes a day like myself took a liking to brands like Celsius and Red Bull to get them through the day. I must admit I understood. I relied on naps, eating well, tea, and hope! lol For the amount of energy we were expending every day in and out of classes, it made a bit more sense in my mind on the allure, but still, I wouldn’t say I liked the idea of folks becoming dependent on these drinks to get through the day. I guess this is why it concerns me even more that now energy drinks are the norm for an average everyday person who is not even physically expending the amount of energy that would require the energy boost these drinks provide. Sometimes, I hear folks say they drink more than one energy drink daily!

I’ve already started to hear many of the sad news stories of relatively young individuals ending up with heart problems or not surviving random cardiac events due to their overconsumption of these drinks. The marketing with some of these brands, specifically Celsius, makes many feel they are healthy choices for boosting energy and not super detrimental. Still, I want many more people to factor in health risks. Too much of anything is not good, but with energy drinks, I believe anyone drinking energy drinks daily should consider limiting it to a drink needed in extenuating circumstances or possibly down to 1 or two a week when you may hit a slump. The amount of caffeine in some of these drinks exceeds what is recommended in a day in one serving.

The average person is exposed to several health risks associated with the frequent or daily consumption of 1-3 energy drinks. Of course, everyone is different, and your age, health, and any underlying conditions can come into play, but I want to share some of the risks for awareness.

  1. Caffeine Overconsumption: Energy drinks usually contain high levels of caffeine, often ranging from 80mg to 300mg per serving. Consuming 1-3 energy drinks per day can lead to excessive caffeine intake, which can cause adverse effects like insomnia, headaches, jitteriness, increased heart rate, and even heart palpitations.
  2. Cardiovascular Strain: Energy drinks’ high caffeine and stimulant content can strain the cardiovascular system, potentially leading to increased blood pressure, heart rate, and irregular heart rhythms. I can attest to quite a few clients who felt like they couldn’t make it through my warmup because their hearts were racing so fast. I asked them if they ate something or had a pre-workout, and it was usually an energy drink!
  3. Dehydration: Energy drinks often contain high amounts of sugar and other diuretic ingredients that can lead to dehydration, especially when consumed in excess. Chronic dehydration can contribute to other health problems.
  4. Metabolic Disruption: The high amount of sugar content in many energy drinks (often 20-50g per serving) can contribute to weight gain, insulin resistance, and even the development of type 2 diabetes when consumed regularly.
  5. Dependency and Withdrawal: Frequent consumption of energy drinks can lead to physical and psychological dependence on caffeine and other stimulants. Attempting to cut back or stop can result in withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
  6. Disrupted Sleep: Energy drinks’ high caffeine content, especially when consumed later in the day, can interfere with natural sleep patterns and lead to insomnia or poor sleep quality.

I know many people enjoy energy drinks as a treat and like the energy boost. There is nothing wrong with that. Please continue to see it as a treat. I feel this way about coffee, alcohol, and any other foods and drinks. Moderation is key! I think energy drinks do serve a purpose. My issue is not with them existing. My goal was to share how these drinks could affect our daily lives and health if consumed daily and integrated into our daily routine to help us function. This industry is doing so well because that is the case for many of its consumers. They depend on consumers depending on their product. We should not have to rely on these drinks to function at our best. Many people do and see no issues, but we should still proceed with caution.

Our health is more important than any temporary energy boost because we feel tired after a meeting or too sleepy in the morning to find a healthier alternative to help us prepare for the day. If you are struggling with fatigue or feel like you lose a significant amount of energy throughout the day, talk to your physician to see if there is something else you could be doing or if there is a reason medically you are low energy or facing exhaustion. It may be a good idea to look into other things you could be doing to help that slump you are experiencing. Working out, getting more sleep, choosing healthier food and drink options, and even implementing a meditative practice in your day could be helpful. You only have one body. Treat it well and feed it well.


Photo:” Fatigue Vectors by Vecteezy


  1. Mordor Intelligence – “Energy Drinks Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 – 2027)” This industry report provides a comprehensive analysis of the global energy drinks market, including historical data from 2020 and forecasts up to 2027.
  2. Global Market Insights – “Energy Drinks Market Size By Product, By Distribution Channel, Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook, Application Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2022 – 2028” This market research report covers the energy drink industry trends, market size, and regional developments from 2020 to the forecasted period of 2028.
  3. Euromonitor International—”Energy Drinks Worldwide” is Euromonitor’s annual global energy drinks market report, with data and insights from 2020 through the latest available year.
  4. MarketsandMarkets – “Energy Drinks Market by Type (Non-Organic and Organic), Ingredients (Caffeine, Taurine, Vitamins, and Others), Distribution Channel (Supermarkets/Hypermarkets, Convenience Stores, Specialty Stores, and Online), and Region – Global Forecast to 2026” This market research study delves into the energy drinks industry, covering market size, growth trends, and forecasts from 2020 to 2026.

Company financial reports and earnings releases from major energy drink brands like Red Bull, Monster Energy, and PepsiCo (for brands like Mountain Dew Amp Game Fuel).

  1. Mayo Clinic— “Energy drinks: Do they really provide a boost?” This article from the Mayo Clinic outlines several potential health concerns associated with frequent energy drink consumption, including caffeine overconsumption, cardiovascular strain, and disrupted sleep.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – “Consuming Energy Drinks: Potential Health Risks” The CDC’s overview on energy drinks highlights issues like dehydration, metabolic disruption, and dependency/withdrawal as health risks of regular energy drink use.
  3. American Academy of Pediatric— “Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks for Children and Adolescents: Are They Appropriate?” While this resource is focused on energy drink consumption in children and adolescents, it provides relevant information about general health concerns, including cardiovascular effects and caffeine overconsumption.
  4. Scientific reviews and studies published in peer-reviewed journals, such as:
    • “Potential Health Risks of Caffeinated Energy Drinks in Children and Adolescents” (Journal of the American Medical Association)
    • “Energy Drinks: Harmful Effects Due to Misinformation” (Frontiers in Public Health)

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