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New Report: Energy drinks caffeine levels revealed

Energy drinks aren’t required to reveal how much caffeine they contain, so how do you know what you’re getting? Or whether you’re downing a safe amount? Just this week we learned that five deaths may be linked to Monster Energy, a popular drink high in caffeine. Now, a new Consumer Reports (CR) study shows just how much caffeine is in 27 top-selling energy drinks and shots.

CR experts tested energy drinks they purchased online or at stores in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. They found caffeine levels ranged anywhere from 6-242 milligrams per serving. For reference, an 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine.

Related: Energy shots – should you drink up before you workout?

Of the products that list the amount of caffeine, CR found five of the 16 – Arizona Energy, Clif Shot Turbo Energy Gel, Nestlé Jamba, Sambazon Organic Amazon Energy, and Venom Energy — had levels higher than 20 percent above what was on their labels on average. And one sample of Archer Farms Energy Drink Juice Infused had about 70 percent less caffeine than the labeled amount. For the other drinks that list the amount of caffeine, the actual levels were within 20 percent of what they claimed.

Here are CR’s findings in order of caffeine content, lowest to highest. Ties are in alphabetical order.

CR says an occasional energy drink is probably fine for most people. Data suggest most healthy adults can safely have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day; pregnant women, up to 200 milligrams; and children, up to 45-85 milligrams depending on their weight.

The report will be published in the December issue of Consumer Reports and online at ConsumerReports.org.

Photo credit: Consumer Reports

3 Comments

  1. Jody - Fit at 54 October 25, 2012
  2. Dr. J October 25, 2012
  3. evilcyber October 25, 2012