Coffee Vs Red Bull: Who Wins? [The Ultimate Comparison!]

If you’re into energy drinks, Red Bull needs no introduction. It is said that it can give you wings, but how does it compare to coffee? We all love coffee for its stimulating effects apart from a hundred other things. Can red bull compete or will coffee clip its wings off? Let’s find out.

What is the difference between Coffee and Red Bull? While both coffee and Red Bull are stimulants, coffee has more caffeine when compared to Red Bull. You can find anywhere from 100mg to 120mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee but with Red Bull, you only get around 80mg of caffeine. These two drinks also differ in calorie content, sugar content, and other aspects.

Coffee Vs Red Bull: What Do They Offer?

Let’s take a look at what coffee and the world’s most famous energy drink bring to the table.

Coffee is perfect. It comes with a good load of caffeine. A normal cup of black coffee can get you anywhere from 100 to 120 mg of caffeine.

In addition to the caffeine content, you also get a good amount of antioxidants and other goodies.

Black coffee doesn’t have any calories in it, but if you add milk to your coffee, then that changes. You also won’t have any sugar content in your coffee unless you add some.

When it comes to Red Bull, we have to discuss two variants.

  • Red Bull
  • Sugar-free Red Bull

Let’s deal with the regular one first.

The regular version of the energy drink comes with around 110 calories, 27 grams of sugar, and around 75 to 80mg of caffeine in it.

If you are careful about your calorie intake, then you should probably check out the sugar-free variant.

The sugar-free Red Bull comes with 13 calories, artificial sweeteners, and 75 to 80 mg of caffeine.

While the latter looks like the healthier option, it is not that simple.

Here’s a simple comparison of the other nutrients you can find in both variants.

NutrientsRed BullSugar-Free Red Bull
Magnesium12% of the DV2% of the DV
Thiamine9% of the DV5% of the DV
Riboflavin21% of the DV112% of the DV
Niacin160% of the DV134% of the DV
Vitamin B6331% of the DV 296% of the DV
Vitamin B12213% of the DV209% of the DV

DV – Daily Value

As you can see, the sugar-free energy drink does cut down on calories and sugar but also gives you much less magnesium, thiamine, niacin, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.

Another important thing to note is that Red Bull (both variants) comes with Taurine, an amino acid, that comes in handy when it comes to boosting exercise performance.

Calorie Comparison

If black coffee is your coffee of choice, then this round goes to coffee.

Black coffee comes with around 2 calories whereas regular Red Bull comes with 113 calories. The sugar-free version has 13 calories, but most prefer the original.

This comparison doesn’t mean that Red Bull is all bad.

If you have the habit of adding milk to your coffee, then it is going to have a lot more calories. A regular-sized latte comes with 190 calories!

Also, 113 calories is not a lot for an energy drink. If you’re super careful about your caloric intake, then you should go for the sugar-free variant, otherwise, you’re good.

Caffeine Content Comparison

Red Bull gives you wings.

There is no way you haven’t heard this slogan.

This is the section where we discuss if Red Bull really gives you wings.

And from the looks of it, coffee does a better job.

A regular coffee comes with 100 to 100mg of caffeine whereas a Red Bull comes with 75 to 80mg of caffeine.

Now, coffee doesn’t stop there. The caffeine content mentioned there is a regular black coffee (240ml).

You can have different types of coffee that can give you more caffeine content.

For example, a cold brew coffee will give you more caffeine as you will be having a lot more than 8oz. You can also have more caffeine if you are a fan of Red-eye and its brothers.

You can also have more than one Red Bull at a time, but that’s also going to increase your calorie consumption.

A normal human being can have up to 400mg of caffeine per day. Keeping that in mind, make sure you’re not consuming too much of either drink.

Sugar Content Comparison

Regular black coffee contains almost zero sugar but a can of Red Bull comes with 27 grams of sugar. It is equal to 6 teaspoons of sugar which is way too much for one drink.

If you are someone who likes sugary coffee drinks like the ones they serve in Starbucks, then this should not bother you.

Even some hardcore coffee drinkers add a spoonful of sugar to their coffee because it tastes better for them.

But if having sugar in your energy drink is a big no-no, then avoid Red Bull at all costs.

You can try the sugar-free variant, but it is made sweet with the help of an artificial sweetener and we’re not advocates of that either.

Health Pros and Cons

Drinking coffee and Red Bull comes with its share of pros and cons.

The easiest pro anyone could tell is the stimulating effect both drinks deliver.

Having 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day will give you adequate energy throughout the day. It can help fight cancer and can even reduce the risk of heart-related problems (see here).

The antioxidant effect that coffee brings to the table is celebrated all around the world.

But coffee can also increase your blood pressure. If you’re not used to taking caffeine regularly, it can even increase your heart rate significantly.

Now, let’s shift focus to Red Bull.

Red Bull gives you a blast of energy.

Thanks to the presence of caffeine and taurine, you will be able to notice enhanced exercise performance. You will also be mentally alert for a limited time.

Just like coffee, Red Bull also has some cons.

Red Bull can increase blood pressure and heart rate. More than anything, the drink comes with almost 6 teaspoons of sugar which is very high for just one drink.

Thanks to this much sugar content, you have the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes if you drink Red Bull regularly.

Like everything, Red Bull is great in moderation.

Coffee Or Red Bull For Staying Awake?

Coffee is better for keeping you awake as it comes with more caffeine when compared to Red Bull. A cup of coffee can have anywhere from 95 to 120 mg of caffeine whereas Red Bull has only 75 to 80 mg of caffeine.

We have already discussed the caffeine contents of both the drinks above.

Since staying awake depends on the stimulating effects of both drinks, we say that both can do a good job.

But it is clear that coffee will beat Red Bull and that’s not even a fight.

Coffee Or Red Bull For Studying?

Coffee is better than Red Bull for studying as it comes with more caffeine content. Coffee will keep you alert and will help you focus better for a longer time when compared to Red Bull.

We’ve seen students drinking two Red Bull drinks just to stay awake. While there is nothing wrong with that, over time, you could have a problem on your hands.

Keep in mind that a Red Bull comes with 27 grams of sugar. The recommended sugar intake for a man is 36 grams and for a woman is 27 grams.

If you drink 2 or more Red Bull at a given time, you are loading your body with added sugar and that’s not a great thing.

Even if you try the red bull sugar-free drink, you will only be doing more damage to your system.

Coffee And Red Bull At The Same Time

The idea of mixing coffee and Red Bull isn’t a bad one. We’re not sure if that’s a good idea too.

When you mix coffee and this red bull energy drink together, you will get a drink with more caffeine and taurine.

On the flip side, you also get a lot more sugar in your drink. That’s the only problem we have with this idea.

As long as you keep your daily caffeine consumption under the prescribed limit (<400mg/day), you should be fine.

Closing Thoughts

Time to put an end to this Red bull vs coffee thing.

Red Bull and coffee are pretty good at giving you energy. They both have their benefits and also their fair share of problems. If you’re looking to have a stimulating effect, then you can’t go wrong with either of the two.

But if we had to choose one, we’d go with coffee. With coffee, you don’t get an ungodly amount of sugar in your drink. You can also control the caffeine content in your coffee. So you can have less or more caffeine depending on your needs.

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