I need this so bad; I can’t fall asleep now. Gosh! Where is this Fearless energy drink? Is this what you tell yourself whenever you search through the house? Or probably, your eyes scan through the store to look for a brand of energy drink. In that case, you must be aware of the pros and cons of energy drinks.
I recently realized that some persons take energy drinks like they take juice without knowing how harmful it can be to their health if taken in such an unreasonable quantity. Even in the USA, most youths and adolescents take these drinks to keep them awake, especially during exam seasons. I know a friend who consumes energy drinks like water, which is detrimental to an individual’s health.
The first time I got to know about this was months ago while talking to my brother via video call and boom! I saw him gulping a bottle of Monster. I explained to him why he shouldn’t take too much of this new-found drink, and that was when he expressed his ignorance of the situation.
A friend of mine shared a similar experience with me hence the need to enlighten us on this topic.
Now, what exactly are energy drinks?
Energy drinks are “Any of various types of beverage that are considered a source of energy, especially a soft drink containing a high percentage of sugar and/or caffeine or other stimulants.” These stimulants provide the consumer with mental and physical stimulation. Energy drinks may or may not be carbonated. They contain a variety of ingredients such as amino acids, taurine, herbal extracts, sweeteners, etc. with the main ingredients being caffeine and sugar. Commonly known energy drinks are Red Bull, Monster Energy, Rockstar, 5-hr energy, NOS, Full Throttle, Xyience, Bang, Celsius, Zevia, Burn, and Amp Energy.
What about Caffeine?
Caffeine is a legal and natural stimulant that keeps alert and reduces tiredness of the brain and Central Nervous System when consumed. Usually, a high percentage of sugar or caffeine has been reported to increase heart rate.
Energy Drinks vs Sports Drinks
People often use energy drinks in place of sports drinks. It is essential to know that energy drinks are different from sports drinks, which are drinks that enhance sports performance. Sports drinks are flavored beverages that contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes, vitamins, and other nutrients, while energy drinks use caffeine as its primary source of oxygen. “Some energy drinks pack more than 500milligrams of caffeine, which is enough to cause caffeine toxicity.” On the other hand, sports drinks contain 24milligrams of caffeine per serving. Let’s be guided!
There is also a misconception among alcohol users that mixing alcohol with energy drinks helps neutralize the effects of alcohol. In 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducted a research and concluded that it is doubtful for caffeine to mask alcohol intoxication.
Energy Drink’s Mechanism of Action
Biologically, what happens when an individual consumes an energy drink is as follows— the amount of epinephrine (adrenaline) in the blood increases, which subsequently increases blood pressure. An increase in blood pressure then causes the heart to contract, which finally increases the individual’s heart rate. Imagine taking three bottles of an energy drink; you can guess the result.
Benefits of Energy Drinks
Now that we know something about its mechanism of action let’s dive into the benefits.
1. Increases the alertness of consumer
2. Elevates mood of the consumer
3. Improves consumer’s memory
4. Increase exercise performance
5. Faster caffeine delivery
Although these drinks are beneficial, taking them in excess can be very dangerous. Why is that Ruth? Well, let’s learn.
Dangers of Energy Drinks
The main reason why energy drinks are harmful when taken in high amounts is due to caffeine overdose. The overdose of caffeine then leads to several unwanted effects. Here are some known adverse effects of caffeine overdose:
1. Cardiovascular effect: increased heart rate, eventually leading to cardiac arrest (heart stoppage); cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions or suddenly stops beating.
2. Panic attack and anxiety.
4. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms like headaches, depression, insomnia, etc.
5. Increased urination.
6. Type-2 diabetes.
7. Still-birth in pregnant women, or low birth weight, and more.
So, Who Are the Ideal Users of Energy Drinks?
Unfortunately, there are no strict age restrictions when it comes to energy drinks. Some of the producing companies, however, advise children against the use of their products as it’s preferable for youths and adults usage. It is now the responsibility of parents and custodians to ensure that children don’t consume this highly caffeinated drink.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that energy drinks have no place in children’s and adolescents’ diets. An excessive amount of caffeine can affect the appropriate balance of carbohydrate, fat, and protein intakes needed for optimal growth development, body composition, and health. Health organizations even advise that children should not take more than 100mg caffeine per day while an adult shouldn’t go above 400mg.
Yes, we have the right to take energy drinks, but do they benefit us in the long run? I believe that the companies producing these products need to do a better job of enlightening the public on the effects of what they are selling.
As I conclude, make sure you have a good knowledge of any substance you put in your body. Also, do all things in moderation.