is red bull bad for you
Drink, Health

Is Red Bull Bad For You? Everything You Need To Know

Red Bull is the best-selling energy drink globally, with a staggering 7.9 billion cans sold in a year. Most frequently used by students and truck drivers, energy drinks such as Red Bull provide a productive energy boost while fighting drowsiness. But, despite its benefits, is Red Bull bad for you? Keep reading for everything you need to know.

What Is Red Bull?

Red Bull

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A popular energy drink created in 1987 by Dietrich Mateschitz, sold by the Austrian company Red Bull GmbH, Red Bull is immediately recognizable for its slender royal blue can and “Red Bull gives you wings” slogan.

Inspired by the Krating Daeng energy drink from Thailand, Mateschitz tweaked the tastes to suit a western clientele. In 2003 the company introduced a sugar-free version with a different flavor from the original beverage.

Following its popularity, the sugar-free Red Bull Zero appeared in 2018, complete with the same flavor as the original energy drink. Now Red Bull is available in an abundance of different flavors, including cranberry, lime, blueberry, bitter lemon, ginger ale, tonic water, and cola, in addition to regional and seasonal offerings.

What Is In Red Bull?

What Is In Red Bull

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Red Bull’s ingredients depend on the purchase country but generally include caffeine, taurine, B vitamins, simple sugars, and a carbonated water solution. Sugar-free Red Bull exchanges simple sugars for artificial sweeteners.

Most people pay close attention to its caffeine content, around 80mg per can, sugar content, about 27g per can, and taurine content, around 1000mg per can. Despite the urban legend, Red Bull does not include bull semen nor bull urine.

The Benefits of Red Bull

Benefits of Red Bull

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Many people consume Red Bull for its energy-boosting properties. Scientific studies have proven Red Bull’s effectiveness in decreasing drowsiness during driving. Additionally, Red Bull contains B vitamins, which are necessary for healthy nerves and blood cells.

Is Red Bull Bad For You?

Bad For You

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While most research does not indicate Red Bull as a severe health hazard, drinkers should be aware of certain risks and side effects. When consumed regularly and excessively, drinkers may experience abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and death in the most severe cases.

It is advisable that some groups such as children, people with heart problems or hypertension, those sensitive to caffeine, and pregnant women avoid Red Bull altogether. However, occasional consumption among healthy adults is unlikely to lead to any severe health complications.

Short-Term Side Effects

The most common short-term side effect is an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Adolescents and those with caffeine sensitivity may experience caffeine-related issues such as jitters and migraines.

In extreme cases, overconsumption can lead to caffeine overdose with symptoms including nausea, anxiety, dizziness, and vomiting. While Red Bull successfully decreases drowsiness, regular intake can cause insomnia, interfering with healthy sleep patterns.

Finally, when mixed with alcohol, Red Bull may lead to high-risk behaviors by masking certain alcohol side-effects, leading drinkers to believe themselves to be soberer than they are.

Long-Term Side Effects

Regularly drinking Red Bull may raise type 2 diabetes risks due to excessive sugar consumption. Additionally, being a sugary and acidic beverage, Red Bull may damage tooth enamel.

With 168 calories per 12 oz can, Red Bull contains several empty calories, contributing to weight gain. A study conducted on rats suggests that chronic excessive intake may even decrease kidney function.

Can Red Bull Cause Death?

Cause Death

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While fatalities resulting from Red Bull consumption are rare, cases of chronic excessive intake leading to heart attack and death have been documented. The majority of these cases occurred in adolescents and young adults.

Dietary recommendations from the FDA encourage caffeine drinkers to limit their usage to a maximum of 400 mg per day. The FDA also encourages children to avoid energy drinks like Red Bull altogether.

What About Sugar-Free Red Bull?


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While sugar-free Red Bull boasts sugarless benefits, it still has its risks. In creating the sugar-free energy drink, simple sugars are replaced with artificial sweeteners aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.

While researchers are unsure of the long-term side effects of high quantities of artificial sweeteners, reports suggest a connection to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndromes.

Further, the caffeine risk is similar to that of regular Red Bull, and despite the diet branding of “sugar-free” items, sugar-free Red Bull can still lead to weight gain.

Healthier Red Bull Alternatives


When you need a good energy boost, an occasional Red Bull can do the trick, but there are plenty of healthier alternatives. A quick gym run or neighborhood walk in addition to adopting a balanced diet can have positive long-term effects on metabolic health and overall energy levels.

Other energy-boosting beverages include green smoothies, green teas, protein shakes, a moderate amount of plain black coffee, or even simply increasing your water intake. If you must drink an energy drink, healthier options include Nuun Energy, EBOOST Super Fuel, RUNA Energy Drinks, V8+Energy Juice Drink, and METTA Natural Awareness Beverage.

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