How much sugar is in energy drinks?

Energy drinks are more popular in the UK than ever, particularly among young people. But many underestimate how much sugar they contain, says a survey by leading health charity, the Oral Health Foundation.

The survey, which interviewed more than 2,000 members of the public, suggests almost two in three people misjudge how much sugar is in some of the country’s most popular energy drinks.

For instance, a regular can of Red Bull (355ml) has more than nine teaspoons of sugar – that’s more than the total recommended daily allowance for an adult, says the Oral Health Foundation. And some other energy drinks contain even more.

Earlier research by the charity suggests many people are becoming increasingly dependent on energy drinks, with 26 per cent of Brits saying them need one to wake up in the morning and 23 per cent admitting energy drinks help them get through the day.

“One in three British adults now regularly consumes energy drinks, with many feeling as they need them to function throughout the day,” says Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation.

“Most energy drinks have obscenely high levels of sugar and are extremely acidic. A dependence on energy drinks can very quickly lead to severe oral health problems such as tooth decay and dental erosion, as well as contribute to any number of other health conditions and diseases.

“Energy drinks add an unnecessary risk to the UK’s health and over-consumption is causing enormous, and in some cases, irreparable damage to oral health.”

Sugar levels

So how much sugar is in your favourite energy drink? Here are a few examples (one teaspoon is around four grams):

Red Bull, small (250ml): 27.5g

Red Bull, medium (355ml): 39g

Red Bull, large (473ml): 52g

Lucozade Energy (380ml): 17.1g

Rockstar (500ml): 24g

Monster Energy (500ml): 55g

“As consumers, we are now faced more choices than ever before, and this is especially true when it comes to taking care of our diet,” adds Dr Carter.

“It is so important that we are aware of nutrition and sugar content and are able to make smart and positive choices about the food and drink we buy, not only for ourselves but our family and children too. Not only do energy drinks have exceedingly high levels of sugar, they also have no nutritional value, so there really is no need to consume them.”

If you’re lacking in energy, have a chat with your local Careway pharmacist to find out if you could make some lifestyle changes to give yourself a boost. Your pharmacist can also advise you about taking care of your oral health, and can recommend the products you need to keep your teeth and gums in great shape.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.