Coffee vs. Red Bull: Which one should you choose?

Picture this: It's late and you're driving home from a work conference and you still have hours to go on the road. Craving caffeine, you pull into the nearest gas station to find something, anything, that will help you keep your eyes open. Both coffee and Red Bull are available, so you take a moment to think. Which one should you choose?

We can start with a breakdown of ingredients. Red Bull is an energy drink that comes in many sizes, flavors, and sugar-free options. According to Healthline, a standard 8.4 ounce can of a regular Red Bull contains 112 calories, one gram of protein, and 27 grams of sugar. The sugar-free version in the same size has 13 calories, one gram of protein, and added artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame K. The other choice breaks down more simply. A 240 mL cup of brewed black coffee is made from roasted coffee beans, contains two calories, and has traces of minerals and antioxidants.

Coffee may be the winner in certain cases

If you are basing your decision solely on whichever one will give a larger boost from caffeine, then coffee would be the winner.  Business Insider reports that a standard can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine which is less than a standard cup of coffee. Coffee would also be the winner if you made your choice on which drink was the most natural. Both regular Red Bull and the sugar-free version contain a long list of manufactured ingredients.

Also of note is the ongoing controversy surrounding energy drinks like Red Bull and their impact on one's health. Healthline cites a study that shows how Red Bull significantly increases blood pressure and heart rate, especially for those who don't regularly consume caffeine. Although the effects weren't long-term, drinking a can (or cans) of Red Bull can be dangerous if you have an underlying heart condition. In contrast, coffee has been linked to having positive effects on a person's health. Healthline claims that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, liver diseases, and depression.

It's really up to you, when choosing to purchase a coffee or a Red Bull. We're just glad you have the knowledge about how these drinks can affect your health, and most importantly, we want you to get home safely after being on the road for hours.