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Why Do Energy Drinks Give Me Heartburn? (Unpopular Opinion)

Energy drinks are meant to boost your energy, keep you alert, and increase your focus. Most people these days consume them, and they become more and more popular each day. 

But, as I’m sure you’ve heard, energy drinks come with warnings from doctors and other experts, who say they’re not very good for your health. 

For example, you can get severe heartburn if you consume too much. But how exactly do energy drinks cause heartburn?

Why do energy drinks cause heartburn?

Energy drinks are loaded with preservatives, sugar, and caffeine – all of which contribute to heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms. Because of that, they’re not very healthy and may lead to other health issues. What’s more, due to the high caffeine content, drinking energy drinks can cause heart palpitations and high blood pressure. So, people prone to these issues should avoid them entirely.

Are energy drinks acidic?

Most energy drinks have a pH level between 2.52-3.81. Not only is this very low, but these drinks also have a very acid-forming effect on your body. As a result, people who experience severe acid reflux or GERD shouldn’t consume energy drinks at all as they can really irritate and inflame their digestive systems.

Due to their high acid content, energy drinks might increase your risk of cavities as well as tooth and gum diseases.

Studies found that energy drinks have extremely high erosive potential, so they can remove enamel from your teeth and make them more prone to damage and chipping. That’s another reason drinking energy drinks should be avoided.

How do energy drinks cause heartburn?

How do energy drinks cause heartburn?
How do energy drinks cause heartburn?

The major reason why energy drinks give your heartburn is that they contain a lot of caffeine. One small can of energy drink contains up to or even more than 76.5 mg of caffeine.

To compare it, one cup of instant coffee without milk or sugar contains only about 46.5 mg of caffeine, depending on the type of roast.

All caffeinated beverages increase stomach acid production, which may then reflux up your esophagus and lead to heartburn and other symptoms.

Caffeine also decreases lower esophageal sphincter pressure, which means that there’s nothing keeping the stomach contents and gastric acid down. This can result in heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms, as gastric acid might rise up and irritate your esophagus and throat.

Because of that, people who are prone to acid reflux and GERD symptoms should avoid caffeinated drinks and foods as much as possible.

A single can of energy drink also contains around 10% of your daily need for sodium. This is a lot for such a small portion, especially considering that sodium has negative effects on your health.

A diet high in sodium can lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke, among other issues.

What’s more, in people who suffer from acid reflux, consuming a lot of high-sodium foods increases the frequency and severity of heartburn and other symptoms. So, energy drinks might give you heartburn, especially if you consume them too often.

Energy drinks are also high in sugar unless you choose sugar-free varieties.

Are energy drinks acidic?
Are energy drinks acidic?

Sugar, especially simple sugars, is closely linked with increased production of gastric acid, which leads to heartburn and other acid reflux issues. Because of that, consuming too many energy drinks can significantly worsen your acid reflux and GERD symptoms.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.

Can energy drinks be good for you?

Even though energy drinks are generally bad for your health, they do contain some vitamins. Most energy drinks contain an abundance of B vitamins, including niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, vitamin B12, and riboflavin.

All of these micronutrients help boost your brain function by converting food into energy faster, which makes you more energized and focused. B vitamins are also responsible for blood production, the immune system, and other vital health functions.

A lot of energy drink brands have added ginseng. This herbal supplement contains strong antioxidants, which help boost your immune system.

One of the main reasons it’s added to energy drinks is that it benefits brain function and cognitive health. It may also fight tiredness and fatigue and increase energy levels, which is something we all want from energy drinks.

Can energy drinks be good for you?
Can energy drinks be good for you?

While it’s best to consume natural ginseng, it’s good to know that some energy drinks contain this supplement.

The most common reason people drink energy drinks is to function when they’re tired. Energy drinks are really good at waking you up and keeping you awake for longer periods of time.

That’s why many people use them when they’re studying or driving at night, even when they’re sleep-deprived or exhausted.

While drinking energy drinks isn’t a long-term solution, it can help you be productive for a couple more hours.

One thing to keep in mind about energy drinks is to avoid mixing them with alcohol. Even though it’s very popular among young adults and students, it can have detrimental consequences.

This is because the caffeine in energy drinks can overshadow the depressive and tiring effects of alcohol and make you feel as if you’re less intoxicated than you actually are. Feeling this way can lead people to make poor choices, such as drunk driving.

Are sugar-free energy drinks better for people with heartburn?

Sugar-free energy drinks contain around the same amount of caffeine as their sugary counterparts. So, there’s very little difference in how your digestive system reacts to this kind in terms of caffeine.

Sugar-free energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners to substitute for the lost sugar. These sweeteners are still acidic, so they might not be suitable for people prone to heartburn.

On the other hand, since they don’t contain sugar, they’re lower in calories and sugary carbs that tend to intensify acid reflux symptoms.

Are sugar-free energy drinks better for people with heartburn?
Are sugar-free energy drinks better for people with heartburn?

So, if you absolutely can’t live without an occasional energy drink, try switching to sugar-free versions to see if your digestive system tolerates them better. 

Due to their high caffeine content, energy drinks are very acidic. Because of that, they may make your acid reflux symptoms, such as heartburn, even worse.

So, it’s a good idea to limit how often you consume energy drinks, especially as they aren’t particularly healthy in general.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.