Friday, March 1, 2013

Energy Drinks Pack-a-Punch

With the hectic lifestyles most of us lead, we tend to need a pick-me-up every now and then so that we have enough energy to make it through the day. Energy drinks and energy shots have been around for years but have grown more and more popular with people of all ages, particularly teenagers and young adults. Companies such as Redbull, Monster, and AMP have built empires based off of the quick-fix energy drink supplements.

While many people consume energy drinks daily with no adverse effects, critics argue that there are too many supplements in the drinks and that they they pose a severe health risk. Most energy drinks contain various amounts of caffeine, taurine, guarana, ginseng, B-vitamins, and L-carnitine. The International Food Information Council Foundation (2013) states that “A 250 milliliter (mL) energy drink (about 8.5 ounces) can have anywhere from 50-160 mg of caffeine. Comparatively, an average 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 mg caffeine, and a 12-ounce soft drink has about 40 mg caffeine.” While opponents state that an energy drink is worse than a cup of coffee it should be noted that most people don’t have just one cup of coffee. Also, coffee does not contain near as much of a health benefit as energy drinks do. 

The most important thing to remember when it comes to consuming energy drinks, shots, or any kind of caffeine-rich substance is moderation. Energy drinks have been scientifically linked to improved performance in certain athletes and other sports enthusiasts. But the problem with the energy drinks is how often people consume the drinks. According to the IFICF, the safest amount of caffeine consumption is 300 mg per day. If someone has one energy drink per day and doesn’t consume any other caffeinated products then they are not putting themselves in harms way. However, someone who consumes large amounts of caffeine daily and also drinks energy drinks may be creating a dangerous situation that could potentially cause heart arrhythmia or worse.

So if you’re feeling down and need a boost in your day, an energy drink could be just the right supplement for you. But always remember, too much of a good thing may be dangerous; moderation is the key!   

1 comment:

  1. Are there health benefits to consuming energy drinks? What about the trend of mixing energy drinks (Red Bull) with Vodka? Researchers with the journal of "Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research" have discovered that 'people who use energy drinks as a mixer were about six times more likely to suffer heart palpitations compared to those who drank their alcohol straight or with sodas or juice'. The FDA may need to step in and begin regulating the so-called 'benefits' of energy drinks in order to keep the public safe.