Food & Drink

Are Energy Drinks Setting You Up for Heart Problems?

Energy drinks are great for pushing you through mountains of work, or staving off sleep for multiple days, but (perhaps unsurprisingly) they aren't the best for your heart. A study presented at the American College of Cardiology conference last weekend shows that energy drinks can raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels, potentially prepping you for cardiovascular problems down the line.

The researchers gathered 25 healthy volunteers between the ages of 19 and 40 for this experiment. They gave everyone a canned energy drink one day, and a placebo beverage on a separate day. Both times the scientists measured the subjects' blood pressure and heart rate before and after the drink. Across the board, blood pressure rose 3% after drinking the energy drink versus the placebo. But the increase was especially scary in people who didn't consume much caffeine. Their blood pressure spike was more than double what the caffeine-hoarding people posted after guzzling the same energy drink.

LiveScience notes another study from last year which showed energy drinks had a worse effect on blood pressure than a cup of coffee with the same amount of caffeine, so pretty damning news all around for the taurine crowd.

Kristin Hunt is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and lives in fear of most energy drinks. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.