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Why you shouldn’t drink energy drinks

Why you shouldn’t drink energy drinks
  • PublishedJuly 27, 2020

In this article, we are going to look at energy drinks and why you should not drink energy drinks. Recently, energy drinks have become more prominent. They have become the new coffee to athletes, office workers, and adolescent teens.

In the past, we used to hear of only red bull, but the energy drink market has evolved exponentially with a myriad of choices. But have you ever sat down and asked yourself what impacts do these energy drinks have on your body.

Before we look at why you should not drink energy drinks, let us first look at what these energy drinks are and the composition of most energy drinks on the market.

What are the energy drinks?

These are drinks or beverages that are promoted as products capable of enhancing mental alertness and physical performances. Most energy drinks promise to give you a mental and physical boost as well as revitalizing your get-up-and-go.

What is the nutrient composition of energy drinks?

Energy drinks mainly contain high levels of stimulant compounds.  These are normally caffeine and added sugar or natural sweeteners. Other supplements may include; B vitamins, carnitine, taurine, amino acids, and herbal extracts like ginseng and Yohimbe. It is unfortunately difficult to tell the amount of caffeine or sugar contained in a specific energy drink. 

For example, in a consumer report magazine of December 2012, 27 top-selling energy drinks and shots were tested for caffeine and they found out that; caffeine levels per serving ranged from about 6 milligrams to 242 milligrams per serving and some containers have more than one serving. 

Five of the 16 products that list a specific amount of caffeine had more than 20 percent above their labeled amount on average in the samples that were tested. And 11 of the 27 drinks never specified the amount of caffeine. 

Reasons why you should not take energy drinks

We have learned that energy drinks contain mostly caffeine and added sugar. However, we can’t tell the exact amount of sugar or caffeine present by merely looking at the drink or even reading the ingredient labels on the drink.

This means that one can easily go beyond the maximum tolerable amount of caffeine and sugar. Therefore, the reasons as to why you should not take energy drinks in this article are mainly attributed to the dangers of overconsumption of caffeine and added sugars. Below are the reasons why you should not drink energy drinks.

1. Headaches 

Since energy drinks contain mostly caffeine, Withdrawal from caffeine can lead to severe headaches. This is due to the rebound effect according to the 2017 research paper. Caffeine can stave off headaches and reducing intake can cause more frequent and painful headaches.

2. Stress Hormone Release

According to the study by The Mayo Clinic, it was established that a 240 mg version of Rockstar Energy Drink caused an increase in stress hormone release. The average norepinephrine level of the participants increased by 74% while the placebo only caused a 31% increase. 

3. Increased Anxiety 

Larger doses of caffeine can lead to anxiety. This is common for people with 2 different genetic variations in their adenosine receptors. 

5. Cardiac Arrest

While we cannot determine how much caffeine is in the energy drink and neither can we trust the labels, people with underlying heart conditions should stop the use of energy drinks as this can lead to cardiac arrest. 

6. Insomnia

Energy drinks boost energy, enhance mental alertness, and may keep you active or awake all day. When these are abused, you may miss sleep or develop other sleeping problems. this causes impaired functioning and concentration on tasks. 

7. Type 2 Diabetes

Energy drinks are high in added sugars. Consumption of energy drinks puts you at risk of type 2 diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, Men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day. While women should not exceed 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day.

8. Drug Interaction 

The ingredients in energy drinks like caffeine can interact with prescription medications if one happens to be on medication of any kind. This is common with medication for depression. 

9. Addiction

Addiction is a brain disease shown by compulsive substance use despite the associated side effects. with addiction to caffeine or energy drinks, the body becomes unfunctional or comes to a standstill when a particular energy drink is not available. 

10. Risky behavior 

According to the study published in the Journal of American College Health, it was established that teens are more likely to take on dangerous risks when high on caffeine which may cause serious legal actions and injury. 

11. Jitters 

Jitter is a feeling of extreme nervousness. Taking too many energy drinks may lead to nervousness due to caffeine overdose. With nervousness, the general performance of tasks declines. 

12. Vomiting 

With energy drinks, Drinking too much can upset the balance of acid in your stomach by relaxing the esophagus which can cause heartburn, irritation, and vomiting.

13. High Blood Pressure 

why we should not drink energy drinks

 

Caffeinated drinks can elevate a person’s blood pressure. A more recent study conducted by The Mayo Clinic found that Rockstar Energy Drink (240 mg version) significantly raised the blood pressure of study participants compared to the placebo drink. Overall, there was a 6.4% increase in average blood pressure.

14. Vitamin B3 Overdose 

Vitamin B3 is a component of most energy drinks at levels that cause no harm. However, if an individual takes other supplements containing the same component (vitamin B3)  an overdose may occur. This may lead to symptoms such as skin flushing, dizziness, rapid heart rate, vomiting, itching, gout, and diarrhea.

Mental Health Problems

According to the study conducted by the US Military, it was discovered that soldiers who drink 2+ energy drinks a day are more likely to exhibit mental health issues, aggression, and fatigue.

Examples of energy drinks with the most caffeine

Below is a list of the most caffeinated energy drinks. It is in order of caffeine concentration. The more concentrated, the greater and quicker the impact of caffeine on your system.

 

Drink caffeine mg/ fl. oz.
Redline Xtreme                              316mg                                   39.5        
SPIKE shooter                             300mg                                   35.7
Cocaine Energy Drink                             280mg                                   33.3
Redline Energy Drink                             250mg                                   31.3
Spike Energy Drink                             350mg                                   21.9

 

Can you flush caffeine out of your system?

Unfortunately, once caffeine enters your body system, nothing much you can do to flush it out. You only have to wait for it to naturally flush itself. However, in case of an overdose, there are a few steps you can take to minimize its side effects. These include;

  • Stop drinking as soon as you get symptoms like shakiness
  • Take a light walk to stop the jitters 
  • Practice meditation to calm your mind
  • Stay hydrated by drinking enough water through the day
  • Eat fiber-rich foods to slow the release of caffeine into your system
  • Take l-theanine. This reduces blood pressure as well as anxiety.

Other energy sources include;

Instead of taking energy drinks which probably will do more harm than good to your body, try the alternatives below to get natural and safer energy supply to your body.

  • Having plenty of sleep  
  • Regular body exercise 
  • Eat nutrient-dense natural foods like fruits and nuts.  
  • Don’t skip breakfast. The first meal of the day has a great impact on your energy levels.
  • Add lean protein to your diet  
  • Don’t overwork, always take a break between tasks. Instead of sitting on the computer for long, stand and stretch a bit to allow blood flow.
Bottom line

The benefits are overwhelmingly outweighed by the number of health concerns with energy drinks, mainly related to caffeine overdose, added sugar, and mixing them with alcohol.

If you intend to drink energy drinks, check the labels on the product to make sure they are caffeine-free and contain no added sugar.  

Before you sign out, find out what our article says about energy drinks and weight loss.

 


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