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Red Bull Energy Drinks and Teenagers

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

Our 17-year-old son likes to drink Red Bull. He thinks that it is healthy, and he likes the boost it gives him. I am not so sure about how good this energy drink is for him. Any thoughts?



Dear Skeptic,

Energy drinks such as Red Bull basically contain carbonated water, vitamins, caffeine, sugar, and taurine, an amino acid (Red Bull, 2009). Other energy drinks might add herbal ingredients such as ginkgo biloba or ginseng. The boost comes from the caffeine and sugar. The caffeine in Red Bull is equivalent to about one cup of coffee. However, other energy drinks may contain the equivalent of two cups. Caffeine is a stimulant, and as in all things, moderation is the key.

It is important to note that energy drinks should never be used to replace fluids during sports or after exercising.

Also, energy drinks should not be confused with healthy sports drinks such as Gatorade Performance, which contain water, electrolytes, vitamins, and small amounts of sugar.