Energy drinks no more effective than a cup of coffee

With ingredients such as guarana and ginseng, energy drinks have been heralded for their mind and body-boosting qualities, but according to new research, the only useful ingredient in beverages such as Redbull is caffeine.

The study found that while energy drinks often contain ingredients such as taurine, guarana and ginseng, there is an "overwhelming lack of evidence to substantiate claims that these ingredients boost performance," the Daily Mail reported.

It has been suggested that these drinks enhance physical and cognitive performance.

But the new research casts doubt over this, suggesting the main benefit is probably down to a generous dose of caffeine.

The researchers went through dozens of articles that examined the effects of energy ingredients alone and/or in combination with caffeine.

With the exception of some weak evidence for glucose and guarana extract, there was little evidence substantiating claims that components of energy drinks, other than caffeine, contribute to the enhancement of physical or cognitive performance.

Earlier this year, a study found that energy drinks have up to 14 times more caffeine than other soft drinks.

Furthermore, doctors warned that children given energy drinks could pile on the pounds because they are not active enough to burn off the extra calories.

A hidden problem with energy drinks is caffeine, which can reach toxic levels up to 14 times greater than in other soft drinks. The stimulant has been linked to seizures, diabetes, heart problems and behavioural disorders.

The study is published in the Nutrition Reviews journal.