To many of us, energy drinks are our lifeblood. Whether it’d be to stay up all night in preparation for a test, or, in my case, to compensate for fatigue after a sporting event, I’ve always been an avid consumer of the Red Bull brand. I know the harmful effects of drinking energy drinks, but I just cannot go through the week without a can of Red Bull. Just for health reasons, I tried quitting for two weeks. But I couldn’t even last a week without a Redbull. From then, I realized the severity of my addiction for energy drinks.
Looking for ways to reduce my intake for Red bull, I tried out other drinks in order to forget my addiction to energy drinks. So, here are some of the drinks/food that I have tried in order to reduce my dosage of caffeine.
A cup of pure black coffee can be the starting step of quitting Red Bull. Coffee is considered as the Red Bull in the morning due to its high dosage of caffeine When comparing to a can of Red Bull, 250ml of coffee consists of 80 milligrams of caffeine; however, coffee does not have sugar or other dangerous chemicals such as Inositol (a chemical that boosts the mood of the brain). Therefore, coffee can easily become a healthy choice for avid Red Bull drinkers. Personally, I don’t prefer coffee because of its sharp taste (mainly Americano). Furthermore, softer coffee drinks such as Caramel Macchiato or Hazelnut latte doesn’t give me enough boost as it was only sugary. (Instant coffee has the least amount of caffeine while Brewed Coffee and Espresso has the most).
Inside Red bull, there are 100 milligrams of Taurine which is an amino acid that acts as an antioxidant, stimulating the muscles to offer better performances (to simply put it, Taurine gives you protein). There are no current research on the effects of Taurine, but the Food and Drug Administration concluded that there were no negative effects of Taurine from the death of caffeine overdose. In order to find a similar function as Taurine in Red Bull, Protein shakes seem to do the job. Many athletes drink protein shakes or water with amino acid powder in order to supplement their protein levels and rehabilitate their muscles. Therefore, if you drink energy drinks after a fatiguing sports practice, protein shakes can be an excellent replacement. I usually drink protein shakes after a sport rather than a need for caffeine during studying.
Green & Black Tea:
About 250 mL of green tea consists of 40 milligrams of caffeine which is half the amount of Red Bull. Although tea may a hard alternative to replace Red Bull, theoretically, if you drink 500 mL of green tea, you will have the similar boosting effects. Green teas are natural antioxidants that reduce the formation of cells aging and increases dopamine which has anti-anxiety effects. Rather than the jittery feeling of Red Bull, Green tea calms your mind down while improving brain function and cognitive ability. Despite its proven benefits, I personally do not prefer tea because of its weak taste. Many people around have recommended tea, but I just couldn’t replace red bull with green tea.
Despite its massive sugar intake, Coca Cola and Pepsi consists of 30-40 milligrams of caffeine which can be a better alternative than Red Bull for energy. I have seen people addicted to Coca Cola but truthfully, its effect is less harmful than of Red Bulls. However, for healthy purposes, carbonated drinks with less sugar will be preferred as the dosage of caffeine is similar to the original drinks.
Caffeine Gums (Run Gums, GU Energy Chews):
Sometimes drinking Red Bull can be too much with its large sugar intake; therefore, with similar caffeine levels, caffeinated gums seem to be the perfect replacement of energy drinks although it is hard to reduce its intake of caffeine. Although it is not common to see in Korean convenience stores, you can easily order it from the Internet. Due to its small dose of sugar, the caffeine gum tends to have a bitter taste as soon as the sweetness is dissolved. Often times, caffeine gums can be the perfect replacement for Red Bull. I have only tried this once, and my expectations lived up as it had the similar effects of Red Bull. Personally, I strongly suggest this in order to avoid the massive sugar intake. However, after few minutes of intensive chewing, I easily lost the sugary taste.
Ultimately, will these alternatives stop me from chugging a Red Bull almost every day? Probably not. But at the same time, I think that addressing the health risks, and knowing what I’m putting into my body is an important lesson. These alternatives can at least be a help to reduce my Red Bull addiction. For now, I’ll have to perpetuate the trope of Korean high school students with mild caffeine addictions.
Featured Image: Liquor.com
-Mark Park (’20)