Reports have associated energy drinks with adverse health effects, most commonly related to the cardiovascular system. Caffeine content is probably the main culprit, but sugars also play a part, and so could other ingredients — or their combination. As with all things, energy drinks can do harm but their actually doing so depends on many factors, such as the amount being consumed and the health state of the consumer.
Between 2007 and 2019, population surveys reported that a good chunk of the young population drink energy drinks. So what makes energy drinks so popular among the young? The simple desire for an energy boost is a major factor, of course: energy drinks have become the coffee of a new generation, thanks to successful marketing campaigns and the resultant peer pressure. Other factors include availability, cost, and taste. Negative health effects seem a common experience but a small deterrent.
Energy drinks are usually marketed with the lure of more energy or a mental or physical boost, no thanks to those days when all you want to do is sleep even though somehow you have to find the energy to keep going. Maybe you have an interview at the end of the day or promised friends you’d make it to a late-night party.
Here are dangers of energy drinks:
Energy Drinks Can Kill
Globally, it was reported by Food and Drug Administration that 13 deaths were caused by 5-Hour Energy shots alone. At that time, an additional 30 life-threatening situations like heart attacks and convulsions were reported. Additional overdoses from energy drinks have been reported, particularly in children and teens.
Energy Drinks Contain Unhealthy Doses Of Caffeine
This may seem obvious. Of course an energy drink is packed with caffeine — it’s why it does its job so well. What’s worrisome is just how much caffeine energy drinks contain. While a typical serving of coffee has up to 150 milligrams of caffeine, some energy drinks contain up to 500 milligrams. Since caffeine is most absorbable in a solid form, energy drink companies add chemicals to the drink to make it more absorbable to the body and to ensure the customer gets that extra kick of energy. This accounts for the immediate pick-me-up effect of energy drinks and also explains the cases of insomnia, nervousness, and headaches that are reported.
If you’re trying to lose weight or stay away from sweets, drinking an energy drink is the last thing you want to do. Some brands have up to 62 grams of sugar, which translates into roughly 15½ teaspoons of straight sugar. The crazy-high amounts of sugar make energy drinks chock-full of calories. Consider an energy drink as comparable in calorie content to a large bottle of soda.
You Can Become Addicted
Energy drinks seem harmless enough, but for some people, habitual caffeine consumption can lead to dependency. People who become addicted to energy drinks will experience classic withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches or fatigue. In addition to caffeine withdrawal, energy drink fanatics often experience caffeine intoxication, which includes feelings of nervousness, restlessness, and gastrointestinal disturbance while drinking the caffeine-heavy beverages.
They Can Cause Heart Problems
A study that looked at instances of cardiac problems after teens consumed energy drinks, found that energy drinks increase the risk of cardiac events, especially in teens with underlying heart conditions. This danger is increased further when mixed with exercise. The study determined that energy drinks should never be consumed before or after exercise or by people who have potential heart conditions.
They’re Dangerous When Combined With Medication
You probably already know mixing energy drinks and alcohol can be dangerous, but mixing energy drinks with medications should also be avoided. Some of the ingredients in common energy drinks can interact negatively with prescription medications, especially those taken for depression.