What is an energy drink?

Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages that generally contain caffeine and other ingredients, such as B vitamins and taurine.

Don’t energy drinks have excessive caffeine?

No. In fact, a typical mainstream energy drink has about the same amount of caffeine as home-brewed coffee and less than half the amount of caffeine as a similar-sized cup of coffeehouse coffee. For example, a typical 16-oz energy drink contains about 160 mg of caffeine, while a typical 16-oz cup of coffeehouse coffee has about 330 mg of caffeine. A typical 8.4 oz energy drink contains 80 mg of caffeine.

Where can I find out what is in my energy drink?

Energy drink labels contain a great deal of information for consumers, some of which is mandated by law and some which is voluntarily provided by leading energy drink companies under the ABA’s guidelines.  Consumers can easily learn the following from the label, among other things:

  •  The total amount of caffeine from all sources, which is voluntarily provided;
  •             All ingredients, as required by U.S. law;  
  •        A Nutrition Facts Panel showing the amount of calories and other nutrients in the product, as required by U.S. law; and
  •        Allergen information, if any (required by U.S. law).

Additionally, websites for specific energy drink brands often contain even more information about their respective beverages.

How much sugar is in an energy drink?

Energy drinks are available both with and without sugars and calories. For those that contain sugars, it is generally at levels that are around the same as an equivalent volume of other sugar-sweetened beverages. Like other mainstream foods and beverages, all nutrient and ingredient information (including the amount of sugar) can be found in the Nutrition Facts Panel, as well as the ingredients list on the back of the label.

Are energy drinks and energy shots the same?

Energy drinks and energy shots are not the same.  Energy drinks are regulated as conventional beverages and are marketed in package sizes comparable to those of other non-alcoholic beverages. Energy shots are generally marketed as dietary supplements and are sold in package sizes where the volume is generally about 2 fl. oz.  Most well-known brands also generally contain a much higher concentration of caffeine per fluid ounce (approximately 100 mg/fl. oz.) than energy drinks (approximately 10 mg/fl. oz.).