Some of the frequently asked questions on energy drinks

Is there a difference in caffeine content between different container sizes of energy drinks?

A typical 250 ml energy drink contains 80 mg of caffeine. The maximum amount of caffeine an energy drink can contain is 400 mg/L with no more than 180 mg caffeine per serving. You can determine the caffeine content of your drink through the Supplemented Food Facts table.

What are the commitments to responsible manufacturing?

All energy drink manufacturers in Canada must comply with the Food and Drug Regulations.  

All energy drink labels in Canada must have a Supplemented Food Facts table. This table provides nutrition information similar to a regular Nutrition Facts table and the amounts of supplemented ingredients like caffeine, taurine, herbs and nutrients added to the energy drink. 

In addition, CBA members also voluntarily adhere to the Energy Drink Marketing Code and commit to refraining from marketing to children or selling energy drinks in schools for grades K-12. 

Is the caffeine in energy drinks natural or synthetic?

The caffeine found in energy drinks is typically synthetic. There are natural sources of caffeine in energy drinks such as guaranine (better known as caffeine).


It is important to remember that caffeine is caffeine, regardless of its source. Whether it comes from coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks or otherwise, the chemical composition of caffeine is the same.

How do I know if an energy drink is right for me?

Energy drink labels contain a wealth of information for consumers. Energy drinks must disclose the total quantity of caffeine – from all sources – on a per can or per bottle basis. For multi-serving containers, the total quantity of caffeine is disclosed on a per serving basis.

Energy drinks must declare they are “Not recommended for those under 14 years old, pregnant or breastfeeding women or individuals sensitive to caffeine”. If the product contains >79 mg caffeine per serving the product must also declare “Do not [eat/drink] more than X serving(s) per day”, where X is a number of servings that provides an amount of caffeine, based on the amount declared on the label, that does not exceed 400 mg. 

How much caffeine is in energy drinks compared to brewed coffee and cold brew?

A small cup (237 ml) of brewed coffee contains approximately 135 mg of caffeine.

You would probably have to drink about three small sized cups of brewed coffee to reach 400 mg of caffeine.

While the package size can be different by brand of energy drink, leading energy drink brands have about 80 mg of caffeine per typical-sized (250mL) can. 

Cold brew coffee tends to contain more caffeine than coffee made with hot or warm water, and more caffeine than most mainstream energy drinks. This is due to the extended steeping time during processing which results in higher caffeine concentrations, which can often be multiple times that of a mainstream energy drink.

What changes have been made to energy drink labels?

Under the new regulations, Canadians can expect to see a Supplemented Foods Facts table instead of a Nutrition Facts table. Compared to the Nutrition Facts table, a Supplemented Food Facts table has the same core nutrients and the same % daily value footnote but also has a section on supplemented ingredients. 

What is a Caution Identifier and Caution Box with Cautionary Statements?

A cautionary statement is needed depending on the type and/or amount of supplemental ingredients in the product.

If you follow the cautionary statements on the supplemented food label, you won’t be getting too much of the supplemental ingredients.  

If a cautionary statement is required, the product will also have a Supplemented Food Caution Identifier symbol on the front of the label. This is to draw attention to the cautionary statement and encourage you to read it to make sure the product is right for you.

What is taurine?

Taurine — a common ingredient used in energy drinks — is an amino acid that is found naturally in the human body, as well as in common food items such as seafood and poultry. Health regulators have determined that taurine does not interact negatively with, or enhance the effects of, caffeine in relation to the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, or hydration status in the body at the levels typically included in energy drinks.

How many energy drinks can you safely consume?

Health Canada scientists have reviewed several studies about caffeine and its potential health effects. Based on this review, they recommend maximum daily caffeine intakes depending on your age and circumstances.

For adults (aged 18 years and over) it is recommended that adults don’t exceed 400 mg of caffeine. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in three small (237 ml) cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola, or 5 energy drinks.

Under the Supplemented Foods regulations, energy drinks providing more than 79 mg caffeine per serving must provide a statement indicating the maximum number of servings of the product that can be consumed daily, in order to not exceed 400 mg of caffeine. 

Are energy drinks safe for adolescents?

Health Canada concluded in its 2013 risk assessment of caffeinated energy drinks found that, for adolescents (12 to 18 years of age) the caffeine content of 250 ml to 500 ml of a typical energy drink (80 – 160 mg of caffeine) would be unlikely to pose an acute health hazard when consumed safely, taking into account the recommended maximum daily levels as listed above.
For more information, visit the Health Canada caffeine website.