If you crack open a can of your preferred energy drink to get going in the morning or push through that mid-afternoon slump, you’re not alone. According to a 2018 analysis of research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, energy drink consumption among adolescents and adults in the U.S. increased sevenfold in the period between 2003 and 2016.
While you may get the energy you’re looking for when you drink an energy drink, you’ll also get quite a number of side effects you may not have been bargaining for—many of which you can experience as soon as you finish a can. Read on to discover which energy drink side effects experts want you to watch out for. And if you want to improve your diet in no time, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Much like a cup of coffee or other heavily-caffeinated food, drinking an energy drink can make your heart pound as though you’ve just run a marathon.
“Increased heart rate and heart palpitations…are caused by the high amount of caffeine found in a single energy drink,” explains Sandy Younan Brikho, MDA, RDN, of The Dish on Nutrition.
It’s not just your heart that may bear the brunt of your energy drink consumption—you may find your bladder feeling the impact of those caffeine-heavy drinks, too.
“Since caffeine acts as a diuretic, it causes you to urinate more frequently,” explains Younan Brikho.
Is it hot in here, or is it just that energy drink you just pounded?
Citing a 2014 study published in the Journal of Biological Rhythms, Younan Brikho notes that energy drinks can cause a temporary rise in temperature shortly after consumption. “This is a result of the high caffeine content and has been associated with increased alertness,” she explains.
If you have reason to worry about your blood pressure, you might want to keep your energy drink consumption to a minimum—or avoid them altogether.
“Caffeine in energy drinks can cause a short, dramatic increase in blood pressure,” explains Allison Gregg, RDN, LD/N, a nutritional consultant at Mom Loves Best. “Individuals with already high blood pressure should use extreme caution before consuming energy drinks.” And if you want to get your blood pressure into a healthier range, check out the 20 Healthiest Foods That Lower Blood Pressure.
What goes up must come down—and that includes your energy level after having an energy drink.
“The two primary ingredients in energy drinks are caffeine and sugar. Although both of these temporarily increase energy, it is short-lived. After the boost of energy, comes a sharp decline in energy and potentially fatigue and lethargy,” explains Gregg. And if you want to keep your energy high all day long, check out the 30 Best Foods That Give You All-Day Energy.