Energy drink and energy shot use in the military

Nutr Rev. 2014 Oct;72 Suppl 1:72-7. doi: 10.1111/nure.12139.


Use of energy drinks and energy shots among military personnel is controversial. High amounts of caffeine (the primary active ingredient in these products) may impact performance of military duties. The impact of caffeine overconsumption and potential subsequent side effects that might be experienced by service members with unique roles and responsibilities is a concern. Reported here are the prevalence of use, reasons for use, and side effects associated with consumption of energy drinks and energy shots among several populations of active duty personnel in the US military. A snowball survey was sent to over 10,000 active duty personnel. A total of 586 (∼6% response rate) individuals completed a 30-item electronic survey. Over half of respondents (53%) reported consuming an energy drink at least once in the past 30 days. One in five (19%) reported energy shot consumption in the prior 30 days. One in five (19%) also reported consuming an energy drink in combination with an alcoholic beverage. Age and gender were significantly associated with energy drink consumption. Young male respondents (18-29 years) reported the highest use of both energy drinks and energy shots. Among those reporting energy drink and energy shot use, the most common reasons for consumption were to improve mental alertness (61%) and to improve mental (29%) and physical (20%) endurance. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of users self-reported at least one side effect. The most commonly reported side effects included increased pulse rate/palpitations, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping. Use of energy products among military personnel is common and has the potential to impact warrior health and military readiness.

Keywords: caffeine; energy beverage; energy drink; energy shot; military.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Attention
  • Caffeine* / adverse effects
  • Data Collection
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data*
  • Energy Drinks / adverse effects
  • Energy Drinks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel*
  • Motivation
  • Physical Endurance
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep
  • Young Adult


  • Caffeine