Energy drinks have been around for centuries. If you consider that the first ever energy drink to hit the market was sold in the 1800’s. It was sold as an ‘energy booster’ whose ingredients was a mix of caffeine and cocaine. It was called Coke. The next big wave of energy drinks came in the 1980’s when Red Bull hit the markets of Europe. And in 1997 when Red Bull came to the US, that was the start of it — the energy drink revolution. It hit the right market — sleep-deprived, party-hungry American college students. Energy drink will never be the same again.
What is it with energy drinks that people get hooked and addicted to it? Is energy that addictive or is it something else? What made energy drinks a hit?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ingredients of energy drinks, you know, things they all have in common. What do they do to you. Then let’s check out one brand — Bang Energy Drink — see what’s inside it. And then, let’s see how different brands differ in how much caffeine they put in their formula. See if they’re good or bad, and all. ‘Ayt?
 What are the ingredients contained in most energy drinks?
Here is a list of some common ingredients most energy drinks have.
1) Caffeine. It is caffeine that wakes up your sleepy head. Bam! That’s what a dose of caffeine does when it reaches your head. But it also gets you hooked and gets you addicted. Manufacturers add caffeine even to your soft drinks so even if you don’t know, it’s the reason you keep coming back for more. And they load energy drinks with caffeine to the roof. So, once you stop drinking energy drinks you get headaches and all. Yeah, they’re called withdrawal symptoms. Happens to addicts.
2) Guarana. Guarana extract is stronger than coffee. It has 4 times more caffeine than coffee. Guarana and caffeine combined keeps you wide-eyed for a long time. You’re like a zombie, your body tells you, “Sleep,” but guarana and caffeine says, “Nah, party all night!”
3) Taurine. Taurine extract boosts sports performance, according to some research. When combined with caffeine, it is said to enhance your mental abilities. Hmm… taurine actually makes you smarter!
4) Ginseng. Ginseng helps your body fight fatigue, stress, and makes you mentally alert. It’s what the tea does to you, right? And they also added it to the energy drink.
5) Sugars. It’s sugars, in the plural, because there are a lot of ways that sugar is formulated. Aside from sugar, you’ll see stuff ending in -ose on the ingredients list of your energy drink. Sucrose, glucose, high fructose, maltose, sucralose, etc. Sugars make energy drinks taste good. Sugars also make you feel good — that’s what sugar does to your brain. So, it’s not only caffeine that gets you hooked, it’s also the sugar.
6) Vitamin Bs. They’re called B vitamins, in the plural, because there are about 8 of them. Together they’re called B-complex. But separately you can tell which one by the number assigned to them, for example, B1, B6, B12, B17 (that’s the bomber!) They need to put that in because the B vitamins ‘spread the word’ as it were, they pass the energy around, so to speak, up to your tiny cells.
Let’s look at one example of an energy drink, Bang Energy Drink.
 How Much Caffeine is in a “Bang” Energy Drink?
Bang Energy Drink has one of the highest caffeine contents in the market. In every 16 fl. oz can, Bang has 300mg caffeine. That’s about 3 cups of coffee in a single gulp. It used to be higher. It used to be 357mg per can, like a magnum .357 calibre. Bang is listed as one of the 13 most dangerous energy drinks for its caffeine content. Nasty!
 What are the main ingredients in a “Bang” energy drink?
Aside from what energy drinks may have in common (see above list), Bang energy drink contains:
1) Carbonated water — makes your drink fizzle and pop.
2) Citric Acid anhydrous — preservative.
3) Natural and artificial flavors — too obvious.
4) Sodium benzoate — preserves freshness.
5) Potassium citrate monohydrate — balances flavor.
6) Sucralose — sugar substitute.
7) L-leucine — brain support and energy enhancer.
8) Potassium phosphate dibasic — energy supplement.
9) Vitamin C — energy booster.
10) Calcium chloride — electrolyte for muscle support.
11) Acesulfame potassium — low calorie sweetener.
12) Potassium sorbate — preserves freshness.
13) Calcium disodium EDTA — removes heavy metals.
14) Magnesium chloride — electrolyte and energy supplement.
15) L-isoleucine — energy booster.
16) L-valine — brain support and energy booster.
17) mTORC1 molecule — it’s complicated!
18) Vitamin B3 — energy booster.
19) CoQ10 — cellular energy booster.
20) Vitamin B6 — cellular energy booster.
21) Vitamin B12 — energy booster.
The list doesn’t explain a lot of detail but it gives you a rough idea of what you’re drinking in a can of Bang energy drink. Now you see it with your own eyes. There’s water, of course. Sugars, for sweetness. Flavors, for taste. Preservatives, for freshness. And a whole lot of energy boosters, plus a good strong fix of caffeine.
 Which energy drink has the most caffeine in it?
It’s a close finish. But topping the list are 5 caffeine fixes:
1) 10 Hour Energy Shot. The most dangerous. Packs 422mg caffeine in a tiny 1.97 fl. oz bottle.
2) Redline Power Rush. Also dangerous, with 350mg caffeine in a tiny 2.5 fl. oz bottle.
3) Spike Energy Double Shot. Close third, with 350mg caffeine in 4.26 fl. oz.
4) Redline Extreme Shot. Another extreme, with 300mg caffeine in 3 fl. oz.
5) Bang Energy Drink. Close fifth, with 300mg caffeine in 16 fl. oz can.
NOTE: A triple espresso shot has only 180mg caffeine, in comparison.
 How much caffeine can kill you?
Can too much caffeine kill you? Nah, not gonna happen. Unless you eat a teaspoon of caffeine in its purest form, which is equivalent to 28 cups of coffee (28 grams, not milligrams, pure caffeine) all at once. Crazy will kill you, not caffeine. It’s the only way you should imagine dying from caffeine overdose. It will probably be because your heart will beat like crazy (arrhythmia) from the pure caffeine.
The caffeine in energy drinks will not kill you. Wait. You must have heard the story of teenage boy who died after gulping his energy drink, right? The story goes that the boy downed the energy drink after just finishing off a McDonalds latte and a large Mountain Dew. Then he collapsed. But according to reports, it was not the caffeine that killed the boy. It was his heart. There you have it.
There’s a lot more going on inside energy drinks than just caffeine, remember. Don’t blame it on the coffee.
 Is Bang FDA approved?
The FDA has not been effective in regulating energy drinks. This is the reason why energy drink manufacturers are able to load their products with caffeine. Manufacturers found a way around FDA regulations.
Manufacturers couldn’t sell their energy drinks as ‘beverages’ because they can’t go higher than the limit the FDA set on the caffeine content on beverages, around 80mg caffeine per 12 fl. oz, tops. This is why soft drinks don’t contain as much caffeine as energy drinks even if they wanted to.
Manufacturers couldn’t sell their energy drinks as beverages so they sold them as ‘dietary supplements’. This was a whole new ballgame. And manufacturers had the home court advantage on this one.
As a dietary supplement, all the manufacturers had to do was attest (to themselves) that each and every one of the ingredients they put in their energy drink was ‘generally regarded as safe’ (GRAS). They needed to apply for a GRAS petition and get an official approval of the FDA. Did they apply for a GRAS petition? Nah, no one did. What did the FDA do? Basically… nothing. Unless your product got linked to a case of ‘death by energy drink’ only then will the FDA investigate.
So, is Bang Energy Drink FDA approved? It looks like all the ingredients on their ingredients list, the manufacturer can attest to as GRAS. It looks like it, right?
 Will it make you fail a drug test?
None of the ingredients in Bang Energy Drink are on the list of prohibited or restricted substances. Also, none of the ingredients are listed among the 20 most likely substances that can result in a false positive during drug testing. Among these substances are active ingredients that are mostly found in medicines of all kinds, e.g. anti-depressant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-cough medicines and all. Drinking Bang doesn’t have any of them, and will not make you fail a drug test, for sure.
Energy drinks are here to stay. People buy them, because they are addicted to them. People buy them, because it gives them the boost of energy and mental alertness they need.
Whatever health issues have been blamed on energy drinks because of their high caffeine content is throwing stones on a fruit tree. People have to think and decide for themselves if caffeine or coffee is bad for their health, because for some caffeine is good and beneficial. And for a lot of people, especially athletes, energy drinks give them a boost of energy in their workout.
Feeling tired and droopy? Have a cup of coffee. Or better yet, have a can of Bang energy drink… dangerous or not.