Homeopathy Cheshire

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Are 'Energy Drinks' Bad News?

Many people including teenagers, students and workers rely on so called 'energy drinks' to make it through the day, believing that the drinks are a life saver when their energy levels start to drop.


So are these drinks really beneficial and safe like they claim, or are we actually consuming something that poses a far greater risk than just low energy?

There are many different brands of energy drinks but the one thing that many have in common is the high caffeine and high sugar content. Red Bull, Monster, Relentless, Kick and 5-hour energy are all names of popular energy drinks available in the UK and with the energy drinks market more than doubling since 2006, a lot of people are consuming them!

Caffeine is one of the main things which people turn to alleviate their daily energy slump, with around 80% of US adults consuming caffeine everyday (FDA, 2013). The pressures of modern living has increased stress levels which in turn has had a negative impact on sleep patterns. This has left many people, including children, to find ways of enhancing their energy levels with the 'energy in a can' seeming a quick fix to the problem. However recent research has shown just how damaging these drinks can be, especially in adolescents and one UK Government specialist, John Vincent, has branded them 'just another form of drugs'. Is this just scare mongering or the truth?

Well, with energy drinks containing between 75mg to 250mg of caffeine per serving depending on the brand and the recommended daily amount of caffeine being 200mg per day for adults and no more than 100mg per day for teenagers (Food standards agency, 2008), there is a strong likelihood that those who consume them could easily surpass their daily recommended allowance of caffeine, especially if they are also consuming other caffeine containing beverages such as tea and coffee. Hidden sources of caffeine include ingredients such as Guarana, so remember to check the label for this too. Remember that people's tolerance to caffeine varies, so even much smaller amounts then those advised can effect some people greatly.

So what does this mean? Well caffeine is a drug, an addictive one at that, which stimulates the central nervous system. It is actually the most widely used drug in the world (Crocq, 2003). The real danger that these drinks pose is to regular users of them, as well as children and adolescents who by drinking them often far exceed their safe daily caffeine allowance. This has been show in many studies to put people, especially adolescents and children, at far greater risk of seizures, anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, headaches, chest pain, heart palpitations and gastrointestinal upsets. Fatigue symptoms can even be a sign of overconsumption of caffeine, as regular intake and excess can cause adrenal fatigue which makes us feel lethargic and lacking in energy. This causes people to then consume yet more caffeine thinking it will boost their energy levels when in fact they are just causing more damage and tiredness. So ask yourself could your symptoms stem from consumption of energy drinks or excess caffeine?

And one last think to think on. Most energy drinks contain around 50-60 grams of sugar which is about 10-12 teaspoons of sugar per can. This is double the recommended daily amount of sugar. With all research showing that excess sugar consumption causes obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and increased risk of cancers do you really want to be getting your energy from 'energy drinks'?