Clearly, there are plenty of people who are convinced that energy drinks deliver on their promise. But is there science to support the purported benefits of these formulations?
To answer this question, I offer a breakdown of the most common energy drink ingredients and the science behind them.
1. Caffeine. The one thing all energy drinks and shots have in common is caffeine, though you may not always see it listed on the label as such. While chemically-derived caffeine will be listed explicitly on a label, the natural caffeine contained in ingredients like guarana, green coffee extract, green tea extract, or yerba mate may not be. According to the aforementioned study, beverage marketers are not required to list the naturally-occurring caffeine content in these ingredients. That means that even listed caffeine levels may be under-reported if they are included in addition to synthetic caffeine. Importantly, "natural caffeine" is chemically identical to the stuff produced in a lab. As a result, it behaves no differently in the body and produces identical results; it is neither more "healthy" nor less so. [Read more: The Energy Drink, Deconstructed]