Energy drinks are known to help boost energy levels substantially and keep the senses alert for longer periods than usual. For this reason, many individuals, mostly teenagers and young adults, take them frequently.
While energy drinks are often promoted as harmless drinks, in reality, they can be very harmful especially if you consume them too frequently.
In December 2011, Anais Fournier, a 14-year old girl from Maryland, USA, died after a 6-day coma. She fell into a cardiac arrest 3 hours after she downed a 24-ounce Monster energy drink – her second within a 24-hour period. It was disclosed that Anais died as a result of caffeine toxicity. The two energy drinks she took contained 480 milligrams of caffeine – almost 5 times the recommended daily caffeine limit from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Apart from Anais’s case, Monster energy drink has been implicated in four other deaths.
Although the health issues raised by energy drinks are not always, like in Anais’s case, life threatening, you shouldn’t overlook or ignore them. Of course, you may have been taking energy drinks regularly for ages. But you need to get this clear: they are not safe for your health! And you’ll soon know why. (But, I hope you read the “caffeine toxicity” part of Anais’s story).
1. Energy drinks contain too much caffeine
Energy drinks contain nutritional supplements like Taurine, a natural amino acid, Gingko Biloba, a memory enhancer, and Guarana seed, a natural stimulant. But in addition, most of them contain dangerously high levels of caffeine. For instance, as stated in the story above, a 24-ounce can of Monster energy drink contains 240 milligrams of caffeine – more than twice the amount permitted in a soft drink can!
Caffeine, aside being addictive, is a diuretic. And when consumed in large amounts, it could cause severe dehydration, nervousness, and irritability. These could be even worse when energy drinks are taken in combination with alcohol, as is the common practice.
2. Other ingredients are not safe either
Energy drink manufacturers are not under any obligation to disclose the source of the ingredients used in the product. So, you – and other consumers – have no way of knowing whether the supplements added in the drinks are natural or synthetic, contaminated, or irradiated.
While the natural forms of most energy drink ingredients, such as Taurine, are good for the body, their synthetic forms, which are used in most energy drinks have been known to cause health complications such as stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
3. Energy drinks provide short-lived energy and cause overworking
According to the Mayo Clinic, any energy boost given by energy drinks is often short-lived and comes at a steep price in terms of health. This is contrary to what manufacturers say about these products, as they claim, in many promo adverts, that these drinks can “give you energy all day long.”
Also, the “extra” energy given by these drinks can alter your perception of pain and fatigue, which means you might push yourself past your natural activity limits. And this can lead to severe health consequences such as chronic stress.
4. Energy drinks can actually trigger weight gain
Contrary to what most people think, energy drink can greatly interfere with one’s weight loss goals – no thanks to the high sugar content. Never be deceived when you see “0% sugar” on an energy drink container. Most manufacturers know that you’re conscious of your weight and that you won’t buy their products if you know their products actually contain sugar.
5. Energy drinks tend to increase alcohol consumption
Because energy drinks, when mixed with alcohol, have a way of masking its effects, they may lead to heavier drinking and higher exposure to alcohol related injuries and health complications.
6. Energy drinks cause many health complications
According to research studies, consuming energy drinks regularly for extended periods can result in a number of health complications such as increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, insomnia, agitation, seizures, and increased anxiety levels. The problems, as explained, are mainly caused by the ingredients energy drinks are made of.
So, until further research proves that energy drinks are safe, doctors and researchers recommend that you avoid them and drink the best energy drink, water, instead.