Fact Check: Can energy drinks prove fatal?

It is rare to overdose on energy drinks but chances of caffeine toxicity are still present.

By Sunanda Naik  Published on  1 Nov 2023 8:28 AM GMT
Fact Check: Can energy drinks prove fatal?

Hyderabad: A video of a man warning people not to consume Sting, an energy drink popularly consumed in India, is going viral on social media. According to him, the energy drink took his 13-year-old nephew’s life.

In the viral video, you can see a man stating that his 13-year-old nephew lost his life by consuming energy drinks.
'Energy drinks contain high and unregulated amounts of caffeine. Normally, children and adolescents aged 12 to 18 years old, should not drink more than 100mg of caffeine a day, which is equivalent to a cup of coffee', says News Medical Net.

Fact Check

NewsMeter found the claim to have a missing context.

According to FHE Health, “Yes, it is possible to overdose on energy drinks. However, overdose fatalities from energy drinks are rare. When someone does die from drinking too many energy drinks, it usually is due to severe heart arrhythmia attributed to the stimulant effects of caffeine.”

The article also mentions that some reports are finding nearly 20% of children under 12 years old consume energy drinks. Teenagers are vulnerable and prone to instances of energy drink overdoses. It is more likely to have such overdose emergency cases and fatalities in teenagers than in other groups consuming energy drinks.

What are the ingredients in an energy drink?

Caffeine - The first concerning ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine. Energy drinks usually contain 300 to 400 mg of caffeine. When we compare this to a cup of coffee it usually contains 80-100 mg of caffeine. So basically, consuming energy drinks is like consuming 4 to 5 cups of coffee in one go. Several signs of caffeine overdose include nausea and vomiting, throbbing headache, tachycardia, business anxiety, and rapid respiration. Caffeine toxicity or overdose can cause cardiac arrhythmia, blood sugar spike, and hypokalaemia.


Energy drinks contain large amounts of sugar. If consumed in large amounts for a long period, it could be concerning.


Taurine is an amino acid with a few important roles in your body including supporting immune health and nervous system function. The article states that there have been no definitive research results supporting this claim. But, there is some evidence that, when combined with small amounts of caffeine, sugar, or other stimulating chemicals, taurine appears to enhance neuromodulatory activity that may help delay deterioration of neurons associated with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.’


Again, it is a tropical plant native to the Amazon in a basin that contains high levels of caffeine.

A study found that the high concentration of caffeine in energy drinks easily leads to severe cardiovascular events in young and older individuals who have underlying cardiovascular disease.

According to Medical News Today, “A life-threatening caffeine overdose is rare. However, it is more likely to happen if a person consumes a lot of energy drinks or takes caffeine supplements that contain very high levels of this stimulant. Children and adolescents have a lower tolerance for caffeine and a higher risk of overdose than other people.”

A few other side effects of energy drinks include an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. It may also increase type 2 diabetes risk, damage to teeth, kidney damage, and possible toxicity.

Are sugar-free energy drinks healthier?

Even though it could be less in calories and sugar it contains the same amount of caffeine in it so it doesn't make much difference.

We further contacted our expert Nutritionist, Sujatha Stephen RD, Cheif Nutritionist, Yashoda Hospitals to debunk the claim:

She said, 'Yes, they are loaded with sugar and caffeine which can increase palpitation and eventually cause weight end up in obesity which can cause heart stroke.

On asking whether it is safe to drink occasionally, she said, 'No recommendation, as these days we have seen many cases of sudden heart attack in youngsters because of these energy drinks like Red Bull and Sting, etc. These cases are rare, not zero.

The underline here is, that energy drinks if consumed in moderation and occasionally are not as toxic as it is projected. If you are consuming 2 to 3 cans every day or consuming 10 to 20 cans at once then it calls for a concerning health emergency.

Remember, moderation is the key.

Claim Review:Energy drinks are fatal.
Claimed By:Social media user
Claim Reviewed By:NewsMeter
Claim Source:Facebook
Claim Fact Check:Misleading
Next Story