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Dangers of Caffeine: Why Energy Drinks Could Be Jeopardizing Your Life

Heavily-caffeinated drinks might not be worth all that energy. Learn what's safe so you can stay healthy.

You’d probably be lying if you said you never threw back an extra cup of coffee or a 5-hour Energy drink in the middle of an afternoon slump. We all use caffeine in a number of ways: to keep us awake at work, to get us pumped at the gym or to hype us up for a night out (Red Bull and vodka, anyone?). But is it worth your life?

According to the Center for Food Safety Adverse Event Reporting System, there have been 18 reported deaths potentially linked to the consumption of 5-Hour Energy and Monster. The federal government and the New York Attorney General’s Office have just launched an official investigation.

While we all can probably assume that our second shot of 5-Hour Energy is a bad idea, the issue with many energy drinks, coffee and teas is that it can be hard for you to tell how much caffeine you’re drinking.

[see: 50 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Energy]

[see: 8 Ways to Beat the Afternoon Crash]

We also know very little about the substance. Did you know that it takes 45 minutes just to feel the effects of caffeine and about five to seven hours to eliminate only half your intake?

To keep it safe, health experts recommend a maximum daily dose of 260 mg. To see what this means for you, check out the caffeine in some of these common drinks:

  • Starbucks Coffee (16 fl oz): 320 mg caffeine
  • 5-hour energy (1.93 fl oz): 207 mg caffeine
  • Dunkin Donuts regular (16 fl oz): 203 mg caffeine
  • Starbucks Latte (16 fl oz): 150 mg caffeine
  • Coffee, brewed (8 fl oz): 133 mg caffeine
  • Red Bull Energy Shot (2 fl oz): 80 mg caffeine
  • Red Bull (8 fl oz): 80 mg caffeine
  • Tea (8 fl oz): 53 mg caffeine

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