Energy Drinks – Are They Good for You?

energy cans
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A wise man once said “Too much of anything is not good for you!” and energy drinks are a prime example of this, as they are loaded with an abundance of sugar and caffeine.  According to some reports, although rare, these caffeine-high drinks can even cause death, so if you are looking to lose weight and/or have cardiac issues, stay away! For the others, read on.

Energy drinks have become the current trend for young adults. Several statistical reports and surveys suggest that a significant amount of our young population consumes these drinks on a regular basis. According to one survey, roughly 20 percent of the adult US population, aged below 40 consumes energy drinks on a daily basis.

In 2016, energy drinks worth $2.8 billion were sold, five percent more than the previous year. These figures clearly show the growing popularity of these beverages which are also sold as shots, sport drinks and energy mixes. This trend is based can be dangerous for some individuals, as it is not indicative of a healthy lifestyle, although many manufacturers of energy drinks would tend to differ. Here, we will discuss the detrimental effects that these ‘energy boosting’ beverages can have on your body.

Composition of Energy Drinks

Most of the energy drinks marketed (about 500 different brands) are sold  have some common ingredients. As per one database, these five common ingredients are found in almost every energy drink brand:

  • Caffeine
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B12
  • Taurine

Sugar and other permissible psychoactive substances are also used in the making of energy drinks. All of the energy drinks ingredients are not prohibited by the FDA, but collectively, they can become dangerous when consumed regularly.

Common Reason Given to Consume Energy Drinks

In their ads, brands boast about the energy-boosting ability of their drinks. The regular consumers of these beverages also mention some similar reasons to drink them.

  • It helps in staying awake longer.
  • Some people think energy drinks enhance their cognitive performance and improve their mental abilities.
  • Some energy drink aficionados are of the belief that their concentration spans stretched by consuming these beverages.
  • Peer pressure also plays important role in directing more people towards this unhealthy habit. When four out of five friends are drinking the same drink, it becomes difficult for the remaining one to keep his or her hands off it.
  • Many people also consume these drinks to survive tight schedules (e.g. cramming for a college final) in this competitive environment of our time.

Reasons to Stop Consuming Energy Drinks

Various substantial reasons can be given to the unhealthy consumption of energy drinks.

Sugar and More Sugar

Sugar on SpoonA regular 8.4 Oz can of an energy drink contains approximately about 12 teaspoons of sugar per can. Now that is a lot of sugar! Not only that, this sugar is highly processed and leads the body to store more adipose tissues.

Some energy drinks contain artificial or fake sugar known to have no caloric value and this fake sugar can increase the appetite of an individual. Regular consumers of energy drinks say that they feel hungrier more often, which leads to eating food more often, which then leads to weight gain.

Caffeine Booster – Maybe Too Much?

Chart of man and caffeine side effects
Some of these drinks contain well over the 400mg of caffeine that is considered the safe limit for most adults to consume. According to this chart, some of these are sky high in caffeine, while others come close to the 400mg limit or near it.

People with heart disease and even those who don’t have heart problems should be careful, as drinking anything in the 400mg level of caffeine or above can cause arrhythmia problems or worse.

Detrimental to Dental Health

It has been found that energy drinks have adverse effects on dental health. Besides sugar, there are other ingredients in energy drinks that increase its acidic content to exceedingly high levels, which is dangerous for the teeth enamel. Damaged teeth enamel can lead to a number of oral health complications.

Not a Good Tradeoff

Energy drinks are known to give an adrenaline rush for a couple of hours. It might help people with a slight increment in cognitive ability but this temporary uplift can result in increased levels of anxiety that could culminate in panic attacks. So having a momentary brain boost is not a good exchange to make.

Disrupts Your Sleep Cycle

Did you know that lack of sleep can be as dangerous as driving drunk? By staying awake for long hours from energy drinks, you can definitely fall into this category. Bad sleep patterns and insufficient sleep hours will counterbalance all the supposed positive impacts of energy drinks on your mental health.

Overabundance of Vitamins and Minerals is not Always Healthy

There is a reason vitamin and minerals are called micronutrients. For healthy functioning, the body needs them in very small amounts. So all the excess vitamin energy drinks that brands brag about are counterproductive for the body. For instance, an excess of Vitamin B complex, a part of nearly every energy drink can cause nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, numbness and hypertension. Several skin allergies can also be acquired with an excess consumption of vitamins.

If you want to have a wakeful mind, improved cognition and fell well, then adopt a lifestyle underlined with healthy eating habits, meditation and physical exercise, instead of utilizing energy drinks as your major form brain food.

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