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Is 5-Hour Energy Bad for You? Energy Drinks on Keto

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

5-Hour Energy is a popular, sugar-free energy shot that claims to contain important vitamins and minerals and provide you with five hours of energy without a crash.

With such positive claims, you may be wondering, is 5-Hour energy bad for you? The answer is yes.

Energy shots and energy drinks provide the body with artificial energy. Energy drinks claim to improve energy levels, cognitive function, and exercise performance, but they can actually do the opposite!

Find out about the dangers of 5-Hour Energy shots and how to choose a healthier alternative.

energy drinks in convenience stores

What’s in 5-Hour Energy?

The 5-Hour Energy blend is composed of high levels of caffeine, synthetic vitamins, and amino acids to stimulate your nervous system. 

Here are some of the ingredients found in a 2-ounce serving of 5-Hour Energy: 

  • Splenda

  • Synthetic B vitamins 

  • Tyrosine 

  • Phenylalanine

  • Taurine 

  • Enzymes

  • Caffeine

The caffeine content of 5-Hour Energy shots ranges from 215 milligrams to 242 milligrams, depending on whether it’s the extra strength version or the regular version. This is more than double the caffeine in a cup of coffee.

Is 5-Hour Energy bad for you?

In short, yes. “Caffeine is not a fuel; it’s a stimulant,” explains Dr. Berg. It gives an artificial sense of energy but is really just revving up your adrenal glands and stimulating your nervous system. 

Artificial stimulation will eventually lead to burnout.

5-Hour Energy has been cited for 11 deaths, meaning 11 people had 5-Hour Energy in their system when they died. While it’s difficult to pinpoint 5-Hour Energy as the exact cause of death, it’s considered a potential cause.

If you have any known health conditions, consult with a healthcare professional to determine if energy drinks and supplements are safe for you. 

dangerous side effects

Side effects of 5-Hour Energy

There are several health risks and adverse reactions associated with 5-Hour Energy shots. Dizziness, anxiety, and even heart attacks have been reported.


If you have pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease, 5-Hour Energy could potentially raise your heart rate and blood pressure to dangerous levels. 

One study published by Northern Kentucky University discovered that 5-Hour Energy significantly increases blood pressure and anxiety levels for the five hours the shot claims to work for. 

It is hazardous for young adults to consume energy drinks like 5-Hour Energy because the extent of the consequences is unknown. 

In this case, documented in Pediatric Emergency Care, an adolescent experienced a seizure for the first time after consuming a 5-Hour Energy drink. 

Healthier energy drink alternatives

If you’re low on energy and find yourself reaching for a 5-Hour Energy or any other energy drinks, it’s important to figure out why you’re low on energy in the first place.

To have healthy energy levels, you have to prioritize sleep—especially the quality of your sleep. To do this, you must also improve the quality of your diet.

Consuming foods high in sugar and carbs can cause many energy issues. You can switch your body to fat-burning mode using a keto diet. This will provide your body with a natural, sustainable energy source called ketones. 

If you want to have an energy drink, avoid popular energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster, which are loaded with sugar. 

Instead, choose an electrolyte beverage that contains the most important electrolytes, including magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium. Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that help to energize your cells.

Adequate magnesium intake is incredibly important for healthy energy levels. Magnesium feeds your mitochondria—mitochondria act as the cell's energy factory. Without magnesium, you won’t have adequate energy. 

Potassium is important in maintaining the energy of your cells. It keeps them charged, kind of like a battery. 

When choosing an electrolyte drink, make sure that it doesn’t contain sugar or caffeine.

Energy shots

Key takeaways

Most energy beverages use a combination of sugar and caffeine to stimulate the body and create the illusion of energy. 

Although 5-Hour Energy is sugar-free, it utilizes a synthetic blend of caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and stimulating amino acids to trick the body into feeling energized. This can have detrimental effects on your health.

Try to pinpoint the root cause of your low energy levels. Prioritize sleep, a healthy diet, and incorporate electrolyte beverages if you need a pick-me-up. 

So, is 5-Hour Energy bad for you? Absolutely, avoid 5-Hour Energy shots!


1. Is 5-Hour Energy harmful?

Yes. If you have pre-existing health conditions like high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, or mood disorders, 5-Hour Energy may worsen your symptoms. It has even been reported to cause seizures and heart attacks in some cases.


2. What are the side effects of 5-Hour Energy?

5-Hour Energy has been associated with dizziness, anxiety, and even heart attacks. 5-Hour Energy can elevate your heart rate, elevate your blood pressure, and can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety.

3. Should you drink 5-Hour Energy every day?

No! It’s best to avoid 5-Hour Energy as well as other energy drinks and focus on the root cause of your low energy levels. By prioritizing sleep and proper diet, you can improve your energy levels naturally. 

4. Is 5-Hour Energy good for your body?

No. 5-Hour Energy doesn’t give you energy; it stimulates your nervous system and adrenal glands. This can trigger a stress response in your body and also cause burnout. Elevated blood pressure and elevated heart rate caused by 5-Hour Energy can also be problematic, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.  


5. Is 5-Hour Energy worse than a Monster energy drink?

5-Hour Energy contains more caffeine than Monster energy drink, but it is sugar-free. Both energy drinks should be avoided. 

6. Is 5-Hour Energy keto-friendly?

5-Hour Energy is sugar-free, so it’s technically keto-friendly, but it’s not something you’d want to include on a Healthy Keto diet. 

7. How much caffeine is in 5-Hour Energy?

There are two versions of the 5-Hour Energy shot: the regular energy drink and the extra-strength version. The regular 5-Hour Energy shot contains 215 milligrams of caffeine, and the extra-strength version contains 242 milligrams of caffeine. 

8. Will 5-Hour Energy keep me up at night?

Drinking 5-Hour Energy close to your bedtime is a bad idea. It will stimulate your nervous system, making it very difficult to sleep. This will repeat the cycle of energy issues and cause you to feel tired the next day. 

9. What kind of sugar is in 5-Hour Energy?

5-Hour Energy’s sweet taste comes from the artificial sweetener known as Splenda. Splenda is the brand name for sucralose.

10. What is a keto alternative to 5-Hour Energy?

If you’re following a Healthy Keto® diet, you will notice improved energy levels naturally. Sugar-free electrolyte drinks are typically keto-friendly and can provide the body with extra energy when needed. 

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