Energy drinks are often suggested as a way to get “jacked-up” for a workout.  It’s obvious that adding stimulants (such as those present in energy drinks) can enhance the intensity of a workout, however, very few studies have looked at what happens with a person’s metabolism once they consume an energy drink, especially with respect to exercise.  The University of Nebraska did a study comparing three common energy drinks, along with a placebo, to see the effects on a person’s metabolism.  During the study metabolism was looked at from two perspectives, resting, and during exercise.

 

The study found that while a person’s metabolism was increased significantly one hour after drinking any of the energy drinks if they were at rest, but there was no significant increase during submaximal exercise (“15 minutes of treadmill exercise at 50% of V02max”).  This suggests that using an energy drink to increase your metabolism during workouts is not really effective, and that you may even be impeding your goals if the energy drink has a lot of sugar and overall calories.  Now it should be mentioned that while the increase in metabolism during rest was significant, it was only between 2-3%, and was only looked at one-hour post-drink.  Most likely a person’s metabolism would have returned to normal with-in another hour or two, so this study suggests that drinking an average energy drink can cause you to burn 2-3% more calories for a few hours.  It should also be mentioned that the study only took submaximal exercise (~50% intensity) into account and only for a short period of time (15 minutes), it would be interesting to see a study comparing energy drinks during maximal or long term exercise to see if the findings of this study hold true there as well.

While energy drinks can increase the intensity of workouts, they do very little to directly increase one’s metabolism, and with the sugar and calorie content of some energy drinks, they may actually impede weightloss and metabolism-based goals!

Nutritional Information of Energy Drinks

Effects of Energy Drinks on Metabolism at Rest

Source: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol4/iss1/8/