For the Love of God, Check Your Energy Drink Labels

·3 min read
Photo:  Olena Yakobchuk (Shutterstock)
Photo: Olena Yakobchuk (Shutterstock)

Energy drinks are sneaky little bastards. They’re delicious—dare I say *chuggable*—but they also contain mind-boggling amounts of caffeine. I learned this firsthand at 14, when I downed a 16-ounce NOS and set out to TP the neighbor’s lawn. Half an hour later, I had abandoned my mission and sat puking into my parents’ hydrangea bush. I’m not alone in my naïveté—a Redditor recently shared a horror story after guzzling a can of Redline Cognitive Candy, which contains a whopping 300 milligrams of caffeine. Readers, learn from our mistakes: Always check the energy drink label.

The energy drink horror story comes courtesy of Redditor spongelet, who shared his tale of woe on the site’s TIFU (Today I F*cked Up) Subreddit. The unfortunate Redditor described himself as “no stranger” to energy drinks, citing his lifelong caffeine addiction that began in high school with MTN DEW. Given his high caffeine tolerance, he failed to check the label before chasing a protein cookie with the can of Cognitive Candy. He writes:

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“Within 30-60 minutes of finishing, I felt nauseous. Hmm. Maybe that cookie isn’t sitting well. I wrote it off and had plain white rice with plenty of water for lunch. It got worse. I started trembling and broke out in a cold sweat. I tried to dry my hands and just kept sweating. It was disgusting. I sat at the computer for hours flapping my hands every five minutes like a pathetic, flightless dinosaur bird with tiny wings, trying to dry my hands off.”

In all, the Redditor “endured over eight hours of queasy trembling, sweating, and flapping” before he thought to blame the drink. At that point, he went online and found that Redline energy drinks are currently the “second-most potent” energy drinks available to U.S. consumers. The Redditor then found a 2012 class action lawsuit against Redline, which alleged that “persons who have consumed the Product have reported a range of adverse side effects, including, but not limited to, chills, excessive sweating, vomiting, convulsions, chest pains and rapid heartbeat.”

How much caffeine is in energy drinks?

Here’s the deal: Not all energy drinks are created equal. The caffeine content varies widely by brand, which is why you have to be careful—regardless of your caffeine tolerance. Per Caffeine Informer, a Red Bull has 80 mg. That’s a bit less than the average cup of coffee, which Healthline says contains around 95 mg. Caffeine Informer clocks my go-to Starbucks order, a grande caffe latte, at 150 mg, while a Monster energy drink has 160 mg.

Redline Cognitive Candy has 300 mg, per the product label. That’s 3.75 Red Bulls downed over the course of 20 minutes. No wonder that poor Redditor had steam coming out of his ears. Let this be a lesson to ye: Check those energy drink labels, even if you think you’re accustomed to the stuff.