Red Bull vs Coffee: A Caffeinated Comparison

can of red bull
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Why do people tend to have coffee first thing in the morning? According to experts, the caffeine content helps kick start your day.

The caffeine attaches to the adenosine receptor resulting in the nerve cells speeding up. This results in increased neuron firing. However, coffee isn’t the only drink that can satisfy your caffeine rush.

Red Bull is another strong competitor that also keeps you energized for long periods. But, if both have similar effects, which one should you choose and why? Let’s find out.

The Popularity of Red Bull

This energy drink is widely available in most parts of the world. With its iconic slogan “Red Bull gives you wings,” you can probably guess the types of wings you’ll acquire.

More often than not, people take Red Bull for its convenience and not for its taste. It is incredible for those who want a workout booster and also for people who are too tired but still have work left for the day.

You will be surprised to know that there were more than 6.8 billion cans of Red Bull sold in 2018. This proves how popular the drink is and why people love it.

Traditional Cup of Joe

Compared to Red Bull, which is fairly popular around the world, coffee has a cult like following. As per a 2018 report, Americans consumed more than 146 billion cups of coffee, making them the leading nation of coffee consumers in the world. 

Coffee is not just an energy booster. People drink coffee because they like it; not because they have to drink it. Moreover, drinking coffee is a culture in various nations. Many people can’t even think of starting their day without it.

Caffeine Content

The amount of caffeine you consume is highly dependent on the quantity of coffee you have. People prefer to have their coffee in various ways.

According to the USDA an average 8 oz cup contains 95 mg. However, if you consider the caffeine content in an 8.4 oz Red Bull can, it has 77 milligrams. So in terms of caffeine content, coffee wins.

Additional Stimulants

While a cup of coffee is 98% water and 2% yield of extracted beans, Red Bull is more than just carbonated water and caffeine. It contains other stimulants that can compliment the caffeine.

1. Taurine

Taurine Molecule

One of the organic compounds in Red Bull is Taurine. This is a naturally occurring stimulant like caffeine. But, it is absent in coffee.

Taurine takes care of several things in the body like anti-oxidation, calcium signaling, cardiovascular function, and various other systems. However, it is produced in low quantities. But, when you have Red Bull, your body gets an instant Taurine boost that improves the cardiovascular functioning, which allows for a quick burst of energy.

2. Sugar

red bull sugar content

Most people like to sweeten their coffee with sugar or an artificial sweetener. However if we compare this additional sweetener to a Red Bull, the sugar content is quite low.

An 8.4 fl. oz. can of Red Bull contains 27g of sugar. This is equal to almost 6 teaspoons of sugar. If you follow a diet plan that only recommends you to consume 2000 calories a day, a can of Red Bull will suffice for more than half that amount.

Sugar is known to help pick up energy levels. That’s why people also have cookies when they need a kick of energy. An average-sized cookie contains as much as 9 grams of sugar. So, a can of Red Bull contains triple that amount. Together with caffeine, they make an incredible combination, and it is easy to see why people reach for a can of Red Bull when they’re down and out.

Which is the Healthier Alternative?

Both coffee and Red Bull have their pros and cons, but when it comes to your health, you need to consider a few factors:

Antioxidants

Although Red Bull contains a few antioxidant properties, coffee has thousands. It’s not surprising why America is one of the largest coffee consumers in the world.

While most people will recommend having coffee for its long term benefits, only a few will agree that a can of Red Bull every day is good for your health. Most importantly, coffee reduces the risks of various diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Type 2 diabetes, and many more.

Calories

This entirely depends on how you take your coffee and even Red Bull for that matter. Coffee when consumed by itself is only 5 calories. Red Bull can also be purchased as the sugar free version with 10 calories.

Once you add sugar, milk, and cream in the coffee, it tends to balance out with regular Red Bull on the calorie count. So, if you don’t want to start your day by consuming calories, it is best to have black coffee. However, many people find black coffee bitter. Ideally, you should add a small teaspoon of sugar and low-fat milk if you don’t want to increase your calorie intake.

Energy Booster

One of the significant differences between coffee and Red Bull is your purpose for drinking them. Are you looking for a workout booster or something that will boost your metabolism? Red Bull is often a go-to for athletes because it can boost your performance during workouts.

So, if you are going to the gym but feel tired, a can of Red Bull can provide the energy you need. On the other hand, coffee improves your metabolism by avoiding unnecessary calorie intake while still providing you with caffeine.

Conclusion

Coffee should be your first choice if you want a healthier alternative that you can consume every day. It provides more health benefits than a can of Red Bull. But, it’s not harmful to have a can of Red Bull every now and then. Just don’t make it a habit of drinking every day.

References:

Red bull image credit Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Heather Johnson.

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