The Health Risks of Energy Drinks
Whether it’s famous athletes or camera-hoarding socialites, energy drinks are endorsed every day by celebrities all over the world. So what motivated you to buy your first energy drink? Was it the bright, colourful packaging? Your favourite footballer on the front of the bottle? Maybe it was the actual taste and the way it made you perform? Whatever your reasons, energy drinks have a variety of misconceptions, and the majority of health risks are ignored despite the research to the contrary.
The Real Health Risks
The standard intake of caffeine for someone going about their daily business is around 200-300 mg, which means just one energy drink (8 oz) could cap safety levels. Caffeine is associated with nervousness, increased heartbeat and irritability, so more than 500 mg a day is strictly not advised. According to the American Heart Association, there is a direct relation between energy drinks, irregular heartbeats and raised blood pressure, meaning that these drinks are strictly off the menu for sufferers of diabetes and hypertension.
There have also been reports of an increase in children under 14 years of age taking energy drinks. As their caffeine intake is a lot less than adults, just one can of energy drink could contain double the amount of sugar and additives that their bodies need to stay healthy. Hyperactivity from energy drinks is one of the main causes of injury in children – children under 16 should not have access to energy drinks.
Many of the products we digest on a daily basis contain safe levels of caffeine, including coffee, tea and even some soda drinks. However when it comes to energy drinks, the caffeine content is much, much higher. A report that was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition states that in some energy drinks, the caffeine content can be 3-5 times higher than the concentration of a can of cola.
Many people drink and eat products that contain caffeine because it improves alertness, reaction time and also perks up your mood. However the actual ‘energy’ that these drinks claim to provide the consumer with has yet to be proven or measured aside from the infusion of sugar into the blood stream. Anywhere between 30-60 minutes after consuming an energy drink, you’ll usually feel yourself crashing, feeling symptoms of light-headedness, dizziness and even headaches.
Energy Drinks Are Not Sports Drinks
Energy drinks provide stimulation, not actual energy. You may feel like you can run faster or train harder after drinking a can of Red Bull, but your body is only reacting to the caffeine, yerba mate, taurine or guarana stimulant in the drink. The effect won’t last long either. Sports drinks on the other hand contain electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium and sodium, however they usually provide less than half the amount of sugar that an energy drink contains.
Energy drinks are one of the main causes of tooth decay due to the amount of sugars they possess. Compared to sports drinks, the enamel weight loss from the tooth was significantly higher when drinking energy drinks – in some cases twice as higher!
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