4 Things to Know About Energy Drinks
The popularity of energy drinks is increasing dramatically, especially with young males age 18 to 34. Users report experiencing increased cognitive performance, more physical energy and enhanced mood after consuming them. On the other hand, the evidence points to numerous harmful physical and psychological effects of energy drinks.
1. Energy drinks include high amounts of sugar and caffeine
Energy drinks typically contain caffeine, B vitamins, a variety of herbal stimulants and high amounts of sugar. Included stimulants such as guarana, taurine and L-carnitine can temporarily increase alertness, attention and energy – along with increasing blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.
2. Most energy drinks are classified as dietary supplements
Why would they do that? When classified as a dietary supplement, energy drinks can bypass the FDA’s maximum caffeine limit for beverages. Most energy drinks contain 100 mg per 12-oz of caffeine or more, which is twice the maximum limit for beverages.
3. Energy drinks are marketed promising enhanced performance
Energy drinks are promoted as helping to provide energy and increased athletic performance. On the contrary, there is evidence that athletic performance requiring coordination and fine motor skills may actually be diminished by energy drinks.
4. Energy drinks carry associated health risks
The health risks associated with caffeine in energy drinks include arrhythmia, increased blood pressure, anxiety, headache, insomnia and nausea. Other risks include the combining of energy drinks with alcohol and opiates, binge drinking and risky behaviors. Thousands of emergency visits per year are a result of binge drinking energy drinks.
The likelihood of experiencing adverse effects increases when the quantity and frequency of energy drink consumption increases. Moderate or major adverse effects reported by the National Poison Data System include cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, hypertension and hyperthermia.
Stimulants to the brain and nervous system stress the body and impede performance.
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