Caffeine usage and the military go together like peanut butter and jelly. After all, just look at those World War Two posters with the soldier smiling after a battle, enjoying a cup of coffee. However, in the 21st century, US soldiers are more likely to reach for an energy drink can than a cup of joe. One of the newest energy drinks to hit the force is “Bang,” a highly caffeinated beverage containing an astonishing 300 mg of caffeine, almost double the amount in a similarly sized can of Rip It or Monster.

Although the drink is now popular among the military, the makers of Bang — VPX Sports — originally concocted the beverage as a type of pre-workout/fat burning fusion drink. The company was founded more than 20 years ago as a supplement manufacturing firm committed to mimicking the same production standards pharmaceutical makers are held to. For their part, VPX clearly lists all of Bang’s ingredients — including the caffeine content, along with a warning.

While it’s true caffeine consumption has long been a tradition amongst service members, the amount of caffeine in one can of Bang has some Army health professionals concerned. I spoke with 1st Lieutenant Davis Spielbauer, a Physician Assistant assigned to HHT Troop, 2-108th Cavalry Squadron of the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), about the effects that such high levels of caffeine have on soldiers.

“The American Diabetic Association recommends people not exceed 400 mg of caffeine per day. The issue with these new drinks isn’t the fact that soldiers are drinking one, it’s when you have two or three, and that’s the first issue,” explains 1LT Spielbauer. “The second is some soldiers have underlying heart issues that can become exasperated. It’s a central nervous system stimulant, so caffeine gets your heart beating faster, brings your blood pressure up. If you are constantly staying over caffeinated, you can start seeing some adverse effects like tremors and muscle spasms.”