Monster Drinks’ Caffeine Gives Energy, But Is Starbucks Coffee More Dangerous?

Patrick Frye - Author

Nov. 3 2016, Updated 6:52 a.m. ET

Monster drinks’ caffeine is one of the biggest boasts of the famous energy drink. While some people claim so-called caffeine toxicity can be a killer, it turns out that, when Monster drinks are compared to Starbucks coffee, it doesn’t seem that dangerous at all.

In the past, some studies have claimed Monster energy drinks may cause higher death rates in children and young adults from elevated blood pressure, brain seizures, and severe cardiac events. Because of this, California law doesn’t allow the marketing of highly-caffeinated energy drinks to children.

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But are Monster drinks as bad as some claim? A 24-ounce can of Monster contains 240 milligrams of caffeine, and the company has a warning label that clearly states the product isn’t for children. They also don’t recommend drinking more than 48 ounces of energy drinks in a day.

If you have Monster compared to coffee, a 16-ounce cup of coffee from Starbucks called the Grande has 330 milligrams, while a a Short sized coffee has only 180 milligrams in eight ounces. But the Venti has an amazing 415 milligrams of caffeine. As a further comparison, consuming two Monster drinks is the rough equivalent of 20 8-ounce cans of soda (apart from Mountain Dew).

According to ABC, Dr. Christopher Holstege, director of toxicology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, says the Monster caffeine is relatively not dangerous. They point out that “a 41-year-old woman lived after consuming 50 grams of caffeine, up to 10 times more than what’s considered a lethal dose, according to a 2003 Journal of Toxicology article.”

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But it’s not like there isn’t any potential danger at all. In 2011, the Drug Abuse Warning Network claimed 20,783 emergency room visits in America were related to energy drink consumption. In 2012, the FDA was investigating 13 deaths that were preliminarily linked to the dietary supplement 5-hour Energy, which has 100 milligrams of caffeine per ounce (that explains the very small bottle size). In 2013, 18 public health experts sent a letter to the FDA warning about the uncertainty related to children drinking energy drinks:

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“To the contrary, the best available scientific evidence demonstrates a robust correlation between the caffeine levels in energy drinks and adverse health and safety consequences, particularly among children, adolescents.”

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To give you an idea how controversial this subject can be, Monster drinks lawsuits cost the company millions of dollars each year in legal fees. Do you think the caffeine amount in Monster energy drinks are safe?


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