Some of the frequently asked questions on energy drinks

Is there a difference between energy drinks in 500ml vs 250ml cans?

Just the size of the drinks. In a typical 500ml energy drink, there is 160 mg of caffeine, while a 250 ml energy drink contains 80mg of caffeine. Both sizes have a concentration of 0.32 mg of caffeine per ml. This is about half the caffeine in a similar-sized cup of coffeehouse coffee, which typically has about 330 mg of caffeine per 500 ml.

What are the commitments to responsible manufacturing?

Energy drink manufacturers are committed to responsible manufacturing, marketing, and labelling their products.


Under the new Health Canada Supplemented Foods Regulation, all energy drinks contain informative labels regarding the caffeine content as well as a Supplemented Food Facts Table. 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 between 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. Leading energy drinks voluntarily 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.


Leading energy drinks also voluntarily include advisory statements such as “Not (intended/recommended) for children, pregnant or nursing women (and/or persons/those) sensitive to caffeine.”

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

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

You would probably have to drink about three regular-sized cups of coffee to reach 400 mg of caffeine per day. 


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 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 cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola, or 5 energy drinks.

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.