With the very busy lives that we all lead, it is natural to want to have a drink on hand that acts as a boost and replenishes energy levels. For many years, the drink of choice for that boost has been coffee but now energy drinks have emerged as a contender. So what is the difference between the two in terms of the boost you get and the other health considerations?
The boost that we need usually comes from caffeine so how do the two types of drink compare? Caffeine is a chemical drug that comes from the kola nut, the coffee plant or even from the tea bush and is a stimulant. The more you drink, the more reaction you get from your body and this can help improve metabolic rate and boost stamina. Caffeine is also a brain booster, helping you be more alert and attentive. It can even help some medication work faster.
But there is a downside, usually when you drink too much. More than the recommended dose, around 300 mg per day and you can start to see the negative side of things such as insomnia and lack of focus. So how does coffee and energy drinks rate in terms of the amount of caffeine they contain?
An espresso coffee of one ounce contains 64 mg of coffee while a Grande Cafe Latte from Starbucks has 150mg in a 16 ounce drink. This compares to an 8.2 ounce drink of Red Bull that contains 80 mg and a 16 ounce drink of Monster that has 160 mg of caffeine. What this shows is that the two types of drinks often have a similar amount of caffeine.
The big difference between the two comes not from the caffeine content but from the amount of sugar or sweeteners they include. With coffee, you manually add the sugar you want to the drink so you always know exactly how much sugar you are taking. But with energy drinks, it can be a little more confusing.
For example, many of them are listed as ‘sugar free’ and this is true but what they do contain is sweeteners. Red Bull has around 10 grams of sugar for every 100 grams of drink and Monster is a little higher at 11 grams per 100 grams of drink.
Sugar is a hot topic at the moment with people being urged to consume less. The other consideration with sugar is that it means that a drink has calories whereas coffee, with no milk or sugar added, has no calories in it.
Enjoy the taste
Unless you are a real die-hard fan of energy drinks, most people will admit that coffee tastes much better than energy drinks. Coffee is made from natural products while energy drinks can be a mixture of natural and chemical products to get the desired effect. This means that you can have the same amount of caffeine, less sugar and more taste in a cup of coffee than in an energy drink. Cuppa anyone?