First we learned what happened to our bodies one hour after drinking a can of Coca-Cola. Now new info reveals the effects of energy drinks on the human body in 10 minutes, 15-45 minutes, 30-50 minutes, 60 minutes, 5-6 hours, 12 hours and 12-24 hours after necking an energy drink like Red Bull.
Energy drinks deliver a caffeine or glucose-based energy boost and are enjoyed by millions worldwide. However energy drinks are high in sugar – some frighteningly so. The ‘added extras’, like taurine, are hocus-pocus and don’t really do anything other than make the drink more marketable. All fizzy drinks are acidic because they are carbonated, and drinks manufacturers usually add extra acid to give it a ‘zing’.
In the first ten minutes, The caffeine starts to be absorbed into your bloodstream after drinking a caffeinated drink, caffeine passes from the intestines into the blood and then into the brain and around the body which responds by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure.
Red Bull has a pH of 3.3 – the same as vinegar. Combined with sugar, they are perfect for eroding the enamel on teeth, and causing a lifetime of dental problems. Moderate coffee consumption has been linked to longer life, although this is almost certainly not the case for energy drinks. And while caffeine makes us feel more alert and awake, it doesn’t make us smarter. In fact, some research shows that caffeine actually impairs our ability to think creatively. Coffee and tea are a far better way to go. Although everything in moderation, of course!
Between 15 to 45 minutes: At some point during the first 15-45 minutes depending how fast you drink it the levels of caffeine will peak, you’ll feel alert and find your concentration is improved, this is due to caffeine being a stimulant drug. This is when it’s recommended to drink one if you are driving and feel you need to be more alert.
It is a stimulant drug that works by clogging up the ‘tiredness signals’ in the brain. A chemical in the brain, called adenosine, plays an important role in how tired we feel – it tends to build up throughout the day, causing us to get sleepy in the evening. Caffeine is a crafty drug that temporarily blocks adenosine pathways, giving you a boost while allowing ‘feel good’ molecules in the brain (such as dopamine) to be released more readily. You feel more alert and you feel better about yourself!’
Between 30-50 minutes: After you finish your drink and your body has now fully absorbed the caffeine , your liver will often then react by absorbing more sugar. It’s during this time that your body has also absorbed most of the sugar initially in the drink as well.
By 50 minutes your body has fully absorbed the caffeine but your liver also starts taking in more sugar. When the one-hour mark hit you will experience a sugar crash. Ordinarily you would expect all the caffeine to be absorbed by about 45 minutes after drinking, although it could be longer if drunk as part of a meal.
Caffeine can make low blood sugars worse in diabetics, for example. Interestingly, caffeine seems to be good for the liver and coffee consumption has been linked to lower rates of liver disease and liver cancer. The same hasn’t been shown for energy drinks, however.’
Anything over 60 minutes: An hour in and you’ll likely be getting the dreaded ‘sugar crash’ , this often is a mix of the sugar levels in your bloodstream dropping as well as the effects of the caffeine dying down.
Eating a meal makes us feel tired for other reasons, and we do get a comedown from caffeine, which can start around this time. We can also feel a bit of a slump when the ‘happy hormones’ circulating in our brain start to wear off. After the caffeine has worn off, you are likely to be feeling tired and may experience low moods. This constant yo-yoing of energy and sugar does not lead to productive and sustained work, exercise, or whatever you are using the energy drink for. You very soon will find yourself reaching for another energy drink, starting the process of hiding your body’s cries for rest and nutrition all over again
Within 5 to 6 hours your body reduces the content of caffeine in the bloodstream by half. 12 hours is the time it takes for all of the caffeine to be removed from the body. Roughly five to six hours is the half-life of caffeine. This means that it takes this many hours for your body to reduce the caffeine content in your bloodstream by 50 per cent. For women who take an oral contraceptive this time is doubled.
Importantly, children and teenagers have a significantly longer half-life, meaning caffeine will remain in their blood stream for longer and at higher levels than for adults. This is why caffeinated drinks can cause behavioural problems and anxiety issues in children..
Within 12 to 24 hours: For regular drinkers you’ll find that between 12and 24 hours is the time for when you’ll start to feel withdrawal symptoms i.e. the urge for some caffeine, other affects of this include headaches, irritability and constipation. Your body needs seven to 12 days to become tolerant to caffeine and soon you will get used to it
Within 7 to 12 days: Studies have shown that this is the time frame that your body will become tolerant of your daily caffeine dosage, one study found those who took a caffeine pill while others had a placebo, showed identical moods, alert levels and energy after 18 days, those who had the high dosage of caffeine had got used to the caffeine fix.
There has been research all over the world into the effects of energy drinks, in America, admissions to emergency departments which were energy drink related doubled from 2007-2014. Health guidelines for caffeine are 400mg per day and so having a can of this every day shouldn’t pass this. Energy drink companies often compare their drinks to coffee with many coffee shops offering high caffeine drinks. Understandably ‘tiredness can be a big killer: about 500 deaths a year worldwide are caused by driving while sleepy. In moderation, caffeine can help you stay awake if you are driving late at night or in the afternoon slump after lunch. ‘But rather than create the ‘habit’ of trying to get pumped up with a can of Red Bull, it would be far better to pull over, get a cup of coffee and take ten minutes to rest.
The question is why do we need to rely on these energy drinks? Our lives are so busy, our diets are nutrient poor, and we are sleeping less. All of this can mean we are not allowing our bodies to function properly, and end up relying on energy drinks. ‘So having a can of cola or energy drink now and then won’t do much harm. It is when it is drunk in excess and in replacement of other more nutritious drinks or food that you get problems.
So we end with the advice to everyone being learn to live a healthy lifestyle, stay active, manage your stress, have a nutritious pure diet as much as possible and view things like fizzy drinks and energy drinks as treats – not to be had with every single meal.’