Despite such speedy-sounding names as "Full Throttle," "Amp" and "Rush," energy drinks pack a punch that is generally no stronger than coffee, according to a new report.
A comparison of 12 popular energy drinks, published in the September issue of Consumer Reports, found that the caffeine in 8 ounces of various brands ranged from 50 to145 milligrams (mg), though most were in the 75- to 80-mg range.
Results were rounded to the nearest 5 mg.
By comparison, the caffeine in an 8-oz cup of brewed coffee can range from 65 to120 mg, with an average of 85 mg, according to the National Coffee Association.
The least-caffeinated energy drink Consumer Reports tested was the fruit punch-flavored offering by Target Corp.'s private label Archer Farms, with 50 mg. At the high end was the lemon-lime flavored Celsius with 145 mg.
Market-leading Red Bull had 80 mg of caffeine. Sobe No Fear, owned by PepsiCo Inc., had 85 mg of caffeine. Amp had 75 mg of caffeine; Rush and Coca-Cola Co.'s Full Throttle both had 80 mg.
Jamie Kopf Hirsh, associate editor at Consumer Reports and the report's author, said it was "good news" that energy drinks were not much more caffeinated than coffee, but said consumers should still be cautious.
Even though 8 ounces is the standard serving size for measuring, most containers have more than that, and most consumers drink more than that.
"You don't have to be alarmed by this, you just have to account for it in your daily caffeine intake," Hirsh said, adding that energy drinks, with their graphic video-game-like logos that appeal to young men, could be "coffee for the new generation."