Three studies using healthy volunteers (n = 271) investigated the effects of caffeine, carbohydrates and carbonation in functional "energy" drinks (EDs) with the aim of determining their benefit in every-day life. The results showed caffeine to be the main ED constituent responsible for the effects found, with possible minor, relatively weak effects of carbohydrates. EDs were found to improve and/or maintain mood and performance during fatiguing and cognitively demanding tasks relative to placebo. In terms of absolute values, EDs maintained levels of arousal compared to a deterioration in arousal where placebo was consumed. These effects were found in caffeine-deprived participants, and so may be largely due to "withdrawal reversal". There were only minor differences in the effects of water vs. "sensory-matched" placebo, supporting previous findings indicating that the type of placebo does not alter the conclusions drawn about the effects of the full ED. Finally, carbonation had various effects on mood, some of which were present immediately following consumption, others were consistent with slower absorption of caffeine (and possibly carbohydrates) from carbonated drinks.