Purpose of review
In the field of caffeine research, interest in and concern for energy drink consumption have grown. Most caffeine-related research studies published in 2013 focused on energy drink consumption. This article reviews this literature.
Prevalence of energy drink consumption varies by measure and age group. Lack of a standardized definition of use inhibits comparison across studies. Studies reviewed show that energy drink consumption is generally low, but the minority who drink the most may be consuming at unsafe levels. Energy drinks are popular among adolescents and young adults. They boost energy and alertness in some conditions, but may have adverse hemodynamic effects. Harmful consequences, including involvement in risky driving, riding with an intoxicated driver and being taken advantage of sexually, were reported significantly more often by adolescents and young adults who combined energy drinks with alcohol compared with those who did not.
This review of recent literature focused on prevalence, motivation, and consequences of energy drink use. Clear findings emerged only on the dangers of mixing alcohol and energy drinks. The lack of a standardized measure made the comparison across studies difficult. Future research should extend and clarify these findings using standardized measures of use.