Effects of Energy Drinks on Cognitive Performance

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The main points that the author addresses in this popular article, all energy drinks are naturally caffeinated beverages but not all naturally caffeinated beverages are considered to be the energy drinks such as tea and coffee. The author also points that some soft drinks such as coca cola contains caffeine but are not energy drinks. The reader needs to understand that energy drinks are kind of beverages that contain stimulant drugs and usually have caffeine. They are distributed to provide physical and mental stimulation. Though the energy drinks are different from energy food, they are marketed as energy. Most of the energy drinks contain sweeteners such as sugar, amino acid, taurine, and extractions of herbal but they may not be carbonated (Levy, 2016). A reader should understand that energy drinks are different from sports drinks. Sports drinks are mainly used to boost the performance of the sports. The energy drinks are part of the bigger category of energy products such as gels and bars.

According to Levy (2016), there is no safety concern raised on adults for taking caffeine up to 400mg per day which is equivalent to 5 cups of coffee (80 mg each) or 4 standard cans (310ml) of energy drinks. Therefore, caffeine intake of up to 400mg a day is safe for a typical healthy adult person. A research done shows that the presence of caffeine in the energy drinks has the effect on cognitive performance such as reaction speed and increased attention. That is why the marketing for energy drinks which always features the endurance and muscle strength. However, this energy drinks article shows some weaknesses in presenting science-based information to the reader.  Energy drinks have a wider variety of ingredients but there is no scientific evidence to show if they provide any effects besides caffeine and sugar. It's not known if the improvement of cognitive performance is due to caffeine or other herbal ingredients because of the limited literature review.  The article fails to explain the different context that the energy drinks should be consumed and the effect on mental health particularly to the psychiatrically ill.

The question I have about this topic is how coffee and tea are not considered as energy drinks yet they have natural caffeine?  If most of the effect of energy drinks on cognitive performance such as reaction speed is due to caffeine, why then all naturally caffeinated beverages are not considered as energy drinks? The information contained in this article useful for scientific study related to energy drinks is the claims that health can be enhanced using supplements in otherwise normal people. Energy drinks has the effect on cognitive ability thus always advertised in a way suggests that other ingredients in the drinks provides further benefits (Levy, 2016). Also, the drinks are described by various marketing organizations as the beverages that give "wings" and claims that it is scientifically formulated.

Part 2: Effects of energy drinks on Cognitive performance


High consumption of caffeine found in energy drinks is associated with health risks such as heart rate and blood pressure. However, energy drinks can improve the cognitive and mental performance if it's typically laden with taurine, caffeine, guarana, and ginseng. There is limited evidence that proves energy drinks improves mental and physical performance. It is not also known if the improvement is as the result of caffeine or mixing ingredients found in the drinks due to the limitation of literature reviews (Heneman, 2017).


The researcher decided to examine and enhance the understanding of the effect of energy drinks on cognitive performance by using an experimental type of research. The participants were fourteen students from MBS University (10 males and 4 females).  They were partitioned into groups based on the factor influencing the variable being measured and hence the stratified type of sampling. A control group received placebo (non-caffeinated drinks) and the experimental group received energy drinks. The two groups of the students were supposed to complete speed, rate, distance and time of descent and climb rate questions.

The variable measured was the scores that the participants obtained from the applied math test. The scores were compared between the experimental group that received energy drinks and the control group that received placebo beverages. How the cognitive performance is affected by the type of beverages taken by the students would be the dependent variable.

The scientific article used the standard deviation, t-test and mean for the table below. The researcher assumed the variances for the two samples, the control, and experimental groups are equal.



Control group

Experimental group











The table was to show whether there was a significant difference in cognitive performance between the control group and the experimental group on the applied math test questions. Equal variances were used for two different groups with a t-test to determine any statistical significance. The MBS university students that received the energy drinks scored slightly lower with an average of M=76.73 and SD=18.79 than the students that received placebo drinks (non-caffeinated beverages) who scored an average of M=80.95 and SD=19.99. The reader should note that the maximum score for the applied questions was 100 produced by Microsoft Excel.

There was no significant difference in the student's cognitive performance to answer the math test questions when drunk the energy drinks. Therefore, the study sought to contribute to the comprehension of the consequence of energy drinks on mental ability. The performance of the experimental group of the students who used energy drinks was affected compared to the control group of the participants. The study showed that the score for the experimental group was slightly lower than the score of the control group. The results were completely contrary to the expectations since the energy drinks did not have a clear effect on the performance of the applied math tests. The data was at the 0.05 significant levels hence not statistically significant. Therefore, energy drinks have no effect on cognitive performance.

The possible potential bias in this article is that the applied math test questions may not have been the reliable measure of cognitive performance. Generally, the number of participants was small and only limited to MBS University students for data collection.  The finding may have differed if the study was carried out with a larger sample from different universities. The experiment was limited only to one test of applied math otherwise tests from the different field could have given different results.

Further researches should be considered to develop a better understanding of whether energy drinks affect the cognitive performances, especially to the students. However, according to the scientific research article pertaining directly to this energy drinks article, the reader should understand that energy drinks have no effect on mental performances. Therefore, the increasing consumption of energy drinks among the students and the athletes to improve their mental and physical performances is not scientifically true. Also, the reader should know that the features associated with marketing of energy drinks are not scientifically proved. A lot of ingredients used in energy drinks may not be tested correctly. The problem may be as the result of little control on these drinks from the U.S food and drug administration. There are no laws on the labels of the product. Therefore, the products may not have the correct amount of caffeine.

The companies that process energy drinks don't help.  The advertisement they make that energy drinks strengthens the muscles and stimulate mental ability can be dishonest and forceful. There are some companies says that energy drinks make someone popular. For example, Red Bull says that their drinks can make a rock star to have "wings" and so on which makes energy drinks look stylish, safe and real. According to the study, we found that the group of the students that received energy drinks got lower average scores than the students who received non-caffeinated beverages in the applied math test. This means that high use of energy drinks for physical and mental stimulation is the perception that athletes and young people need to give careful consideration before relying on them. However, future research should focus on the functions of guidance to the cognitive ability.


Heneman, D. G. (2017).  Health Effects of Energy drinks. Some facts about Energy Drinks. Retrieved April 15, 2018, from http://www.docstoc.com/docs/10343321/health-effect-of-energy-drinks

Levy, J. (2016).  Energy Drinks: Potential Cognitive Performance. Retrieved April 15, 2018, from http://healthpsych.psy.vanderbilt.edu/2016/Energydrinks.htm

October 05, 2023



Mental Health

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