Energy drinks first became popular in the 1990s. Today there are thousands of options to choose from. And if that’s not enough, several associated products such as snacks, bites, and energy shots are increasingly being introduced in the market.
Typically, kids and teens under the age of 18 are attracted to energy products. College and school students also tend to consume energy drinks in high amounts. Several companies offer these products for free or at a low cost as promotional campaigns outside gyms, health centers, outdoor and sporting events, colleges, universities and more. And because these drinks are flavored to a younger audience, youth and kids find the appeal attractive. But, energy drinks can cause several health conditions.
Understanding Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are beverages that are different from sports drinks or soft drinks. Soft drinks may or may not have caffeine. And even if they do contain caffeine they probably may have a very low amount. Sports drinks on the other hand contain vitamins, sugar and carbs. These can be ideal after an intense workout to help replenish fluids in your body.
Energy drinks contain caffeine and also vitamins as their main ingredients. These components tend to appear healthy as they are promoted with claims of enhancing performance and increasing focus. But energy drinks also contain several added stimulants. These are:
- Taurine. This is a supplement that is marketed as improving endurance and memory.
- Ginseng. This is an herb that can boost endurance, build muscles and reduce stress.
- Guarana. This is an herb that contains caffeine and is promoted as a weight loss ingredient. It is also purported to prevent tiredness and boost mental speed.
- Bitter orange. This is a herb that is used as a weight loss ingredient.
- Gingko. This is an herb that claims to prevent tiredness and increase focus.
- St. John’s wort. This is an herb that claims to improve mood and cut down stress.
- L-carnitine L-tartrate. This is a compound and supplement that claims to break down fat, increase speed, memory and energy.
- Yerba mate. This is an herb that claims to improve mood and prevent tiredness.
By themselves, the above-mentioned components are not harmful. However, when blended in a concoction, along with caffeine, it can result in severe health conditions.
The Problem With Energy Drinks
A huge concern regarding energy drinks is the lack of regulatory control from the FDA. That means, several ingredients in the list of an energy drink may not have been completely tested or verified for good health.
Besides, product labels do not come under any laws. Therefore, energy drink companies are not liable to mention the exact amount of caffeine in it. Also, advertising and marketing campaigns from energy drink companies can be influential and not entirely true. Several ads of popular energy drinks claim unbridled energy, heightened performance and improved mood from their products that attracts people to consume them. Hence, energy drinks appear safe and trendy.
In a soft drink beverage, typically, 30 mg of caffeine may be present. Coffee contains approximately 100 mg of caffeine per mug. Energy drinks on the other hand can contain anywhere from 100 to 250 mg of caffeine in one serving.
Health experts worry about the dangers lurking in energy drink consumption. Several side effects and reactions to energy drinks can compound to secondary health issues. Some of the reactions to energy drinks include:
- Chest pain or palpitations
- Lack of focus and dizziness
- Inability to fall asleep
- Weight gain or type II diabetes due to the high amount of sugar and calories present in the drinks.
- Diarrhea, stomach-aches or headaches caused by dehydration and poor diet.
- Dental problems
Constant and long-term consumption of energy drinks can also result in grave health conditions such as:
- Heart problems
- Addiction and withdrawal
In reality, children tend to be more susceptible to the effects of caffeine. It can hamper their growth and development greatly. Besides, individuals with asthma, breathing issues, heart conditions are also at greater risk from consuming energy drinks.
What You Can Do About It
The FDA has yet to set guidelines on truthful and standardized labels. In addition, energy drink products must also be controlled and tested regularly. But until these regulations come into effect, it’s important for you to take precautions and be aware of the risks and dangers lying in energy drinks.
For one, it can help to speak to children under 18 years of age about the health problems associated with consuming energy drinks.
Look to promoting a healthy diet with regular exercise and deep sleep. If you are already practicing this, you would have enough natural energy to see you through the day. And so, consuming energy drinks can be eliminated.
However, if the occasion arises at a social gathering, one energy drink could be okay. But consuming them all the time and frequently could severely impact your health.
Another dangerous trend associated with energy drinks is to mix them with alcoholic beverages. Energy drink cocktails with alcohol can make you feel less drunk than you actually are. And it can greatly affect your ability of making the right choices. The same is true if energy drinks are combined with certain medications or illegal drugs.
You may want to speak with your doctor if any family member has health issues arising from drinking energy drinks. For one, they will need to eliminate them completely from their diet. Secondly, they may also require treatment for symptoms and health conditions that may have risen from consuming the drinks. When speaking to your doctor, it can help to know how much caffeine you can safely have during the day and how many energy drinks is too many. Asking the right questions and seeking credible answers can go a long way in promoting overall good health and natural energy.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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