Do You Know What’s in Your Energy Drinks?
Let’s face it. Life can be stressful for many reasons. So, it’s no surprise that people buy energy drinks to help them deal with stressful days and sleepless nights. But what’s inside an energy drink, and how can it be bad for you?
Most energy drinks have high doses of two things that can cause some serious problems–caffeine and sugar. They also usually have large doses of B Vitamins, and other supplements which speed up your metabolism.
Caffeine is a problem because not everyone responds to caffeine the same. Some people are more sensitive to it, so they might have more serious side effects from drinking it. And, some people might have heart problems that are undiagnosed. So, when they take a large dose of caffeine, it could actually be fatal.
How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
Coffee drinks of today are being made with much higher doses of caffeine than traditional coffee. A cup of plain coffee generally has about 100 mg, whereas a 20 oz. cup of brewed Starbucks coffee can have up to 415 mg.
Energy drinks usually contain higher doses of caffeine than most coffees. An 8 oz bottle of Redline has 316 mg.
The problem with energy drinks is that they are sold in stores as supplements, so they are not regulated by the FDA. As a result, not all energy drinks provide a statement on the label about how much caffeine is in them.
Higher doses of caffeine mean the effects of it are increased—faster heart rate, jitters, nervousness, heart palpitations, raised blood pressure, dehydration and sleeplessness. There are also withdrawal headaches if you don’t continue the same level of caffeine. An overdose of caffeine can result in serious side effects like heart attack, seizures and death.
Having an energy drink once in a while is probably going to be ok for most people. But, if you have several drinks a day, or drink them continuously for weeks and months, the dangers are increased.
What About Sugar Levels?
Most people realize that sugar causes all kinds of problems. Not only can it lead to weight gain, but it also can contribute to a number of other diseases and overall poor health.
A recent medical study has identified sugar-sweetened drinks as the cause of 186,000 deaths worldwide. Researchers are calling for a global effort to eliminate drinks containing sugar because they are causing the rise in chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
What Happens When you Get Too Many B Vitamins?
Excessive B Vitamins, like those found in energy drinks can cause serious side effects too. An excess of B6 can result in liver and nerve damage. Too many B Vitamins can cause allergic reactions like diarrhea, can interfere with other medications, and can cause blood clots.
What About Mixing Energy Drinks and Alcohol?
There has been a lot of debate in recent years about why a person should not mix energy drinks and alcohol. When you combine an energy drink with alcohol, you are putting a stimulant with a depressant and it actually decreases your awareness of how drunk you are.
People who mix the two kinds of drinks are known to get drunker and be four times more likely to drive drunk.
Why Shouldn’t Children be Exposed to Energy Drinks?
Anyone under the age of 18 should not drink energy drinks, not only because of the high caffeine, sugar and B Vitamins, but because their smaller bodies can’t process the ingredients as well as adults, so the side effects are much worse on them. Almost half of all calls to poison control centers over the past few years have been because children younger than six came in contact with the drinks and suffered cardiovascular and neurological problems.
A report by Fox News last year said that as many as half of all teenagers and young adults use energy drinks on a regular basis.
Karen Bresnahan is a freelance writer, professional photographer and artist from Boise, Idaho. She has a BS degree in Communications from the University of Idaho and is the mother of three grown children. She has been published as a writer/photographer in the Valley News in Meridian, ID, and the Owyhee Avalanche newspaper in Homedale, ID.
Karen currently manages her own small business. She does photography as Idaho Natural Weddings, writes positive thoughts as KBLifelines and creates original artwork called Idaho Natural Desertscapes. Karen enjoys writing feature and news articles on interesting people and human interest topics and she aims to motivate, educate and inspire others through her writing and photography.
You can email her at [email protected] or connect with her on Twitter @idaho1111