Enery drink consumption does not improve endurance performance

A trend in sports nutrition is the consumption of energy drinks, thanks to its perceived ergogenic effects. Most contain caffeine, taurine, carbohydrates, amino acids, and vitamins. What’s not so very known however is the effect of energy drinks on muscle endurance.

When testing if energy drinks are effective, the amount of caffeine is often manipulated. One study examined the efficacy of energy drinks on exercise performance, tested with a 5-km time-trail. Two groups ingested two different energy shots with differing levels of caffeine, (placebo 0 mg caffeine). The result showed no difference in performance or rate of perceived exertion compared to the placebo. (1)

A double-blinded randomized study compared Red Bull containing caffeine to another drink with only caffeine and found no significant influence of either one on performance, measured by time to complete a 25-mile bike road race. (2)

Examining the muscular endurance in experience lifters, the participants consumed sugar-free Red Bull before performing bench press set to failure. However, the results match with several others who have also found that energy drinks containing caffeine have no effect on endurance. (3) When exercise duration falls below 20 min, energy drink consumption does not appear to enhance performance. (4, 5)

While caffeine in high doses seems to improve endurance performance, the amount in energy drinks is often insufficient to reach the minimum dose required. Hence, it’s unclear if energy drinks are an optimal choice when wanting to improve performance (6).


1. Schubert M. Nutrients. 2013;5(6):2062-2075.
2. Phillips M, et al. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2014;28(5):1443-1453.
3. Eckerson J, et al. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013;27(8):2248-2254.
4. Spriet L. International journal of sports nutrition. 1995;5(1050-1606):84-99.
5. Mora-Rodriguez R. Nutrition Reviews. 2014;72:108-120.
6. Bridge C. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2006;24(4):433-439.

Post provided by @maria_ekblom, a member of #teamEBT. Licensed physiotherapist and personal trainer.

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