A journal of running, healthy food, mountains, bikes and technology by Julia Revitt

I’m a bit of a fan of Red Bull energy drinks and their Simply Cola drink. This may come as a surprise from someone who advocates good nutrition but they really can have their place in a healthy diets.

Let’s start with Red Bull cola. This is a totally natural drink which doesn’t contain any preservatives or any artificial flavourings or colourings. It does contain quite a lot of sugar (31g in the 355ml can) although not as much as a can of Coca Cola (39g in the same size can). I share a can of Red Bull cola on a Saturday when we let our hair down and eat ‘lap tea’ (ie, not at the table). It’s delicious and although you can recognise it as a cola drink it’s nothing like a can of Coca Cola. You can taste the ingredients and it compliments rather than over powers food. So, my advice is to drink it sparingly as a treat and drop any other cola drinks you may have been consuming.

Red Bull energy drinks are everywhere – you cannot have failed to notice them. They have recently added 3 flavours to the standard drink – lemon, cranberry and blueberry. The smaller size 250ml can has 80mg of caffeine which is roughly the same as a strong cup of coffee (a Starbucks tall latte has 75mg). I can’t drink that much caffeine too often so I limit my intake of Red Bull energy drinks to when I need them. I’ll have one before a race or an exam to give me a physical and mental edge. I wouldn’t be able to drink it daily for the same reason I don’t drink coffee daily – see my previous article on what caffeine does to me! The new flavours are great if you don’t particularly like the original flavour or fancy something different, I especially like the cranberry flavour as it gives some sharpness to the drink. Red Bull energy drinks (like their cola drink) do contain a lot of sugar though (27g in the 250ml can) which is another reason not to drink them daily.

So both these drinks are fine in moderation. Don’t super size up to the next can size as you just don’t need to. Bear in mind the sugar and caffeine in the drinks and avoid drinking them when your daily consumption of either is already high. Enjoy them as a treat!