Are energy drinks a boost or bane?

Anxiety, diseases and a drop in task performance – these are some ways energy drinks harm.

Whether it’s working overtime or an all-night study session, we turn to energy drinks every now and then for a little boost. But are these drinks doing more harm than good?

Are energy drinks a boost or bane?

A study in Postgraduate Medicine found that energy drink consumption affects the cardiovascular and nervous systems. In 2012, more than 95 filings were received by the Food and Drug Administration surrounding energy drinks 5-Hour Energy and Monster Energy, The New York Times reported. Other reports alleged that the drinks caused 13 deaths in America.

Even so, they are affordable, easily available and often appeal to the younger demographic. The World Health Organisation found that 68 per cent of adolescents consume them and have since issued a warning letter spelling out the dangers of energy drinks.

Here are five side effects to be wary of:

1) Caffeine overload

Caffeine is a major ingredient in energy drinks – a typical 250ml can contains 70 to 80mg. While you may immediately feel more awake and energetic, this effect wears off within the hour of consumption. Worse still, you could end up feeling completely drained of energy!

A strong dose of caffeine from the overconsumption of energy drinks is directly linked to insomnia. Your body could also become immune to the effects of caffeine. This traps you in a vicious cycle as a stronger dose is needed next time.

2) Cardiac arrest

The amount of caffeine in energy drinks has been linked to cardiac arrest. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology showed that overconsumption in adolescents led to increased stress on the heart and a drop in cerebral blood flow.

3) Diabetes

Energy drinks are also heavily sweetened. A 250ml Monster Energy drink contains about 33g of sugar, while the same amount of Red Bull contains about 27g of sugar. To put things into context, these figures are equivalent to six to seven full spoons!

Are energy drinks a boost or bane?

4) High blood pressure

Caffeinated products such as energy drinks can pose a severe risk to those with an elevated blood pressure. Consuming a large amount of energy drinks in a short period of time can also lead to a stroke or other hypertension-related diseases.

5) Increased anxiety

Energy drinks have been linked to anxiety and could interfere with the performance of daily tasks. A study conducted by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research showed that young male consumers had an increased the risk of mental health problems.

All in all, harmful effects of an energy drink far outweighs its benefits. While these effects are largely tied to overconsumption, it is hard to set limits as they differ from individual to individual. Thus, it is wise to read the labels and keep consumption at a minimal.

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