With over a thousand different types of energy drinks now on the shelves there’s got to be something to the claim that they give you a boost of energy, right? Maybe not. Are energy drinks healthy? Do they actually give you the promised boost of stamina? Or is it all hype – bought into by thousands – to convince you to purchase the goods?
Scientific data is slim concerning the actual performance of energy drinks. Loaded with caffeine and sugar the drinks are often guzzled before playing sports or going to work, or mixed with alcohol at bars and clubs. Some nutritional experts claim that the combination and amount of caffeine and sugar can seriously dehydrate the body.
In some countries the energy drinks contain warnings like “should not be used as thirst quencher”, “should not be used to replace fluids after playing sports”, or “drinks should never be mixed with alcohol”. While the large amount of caffeine in the drinks can provide some people with an exuberant feeling they can also affect some people in a negative way, causing twitching and nervousness. The exuberant feeling is temporary and is not a replacement for energy stemming from carbohydrate intake.
Ireland’s Food Safety Promotion Board did some recent studies and their conclusions state that the high caffeine content of energy drinks can cause increased blood pressure and dehydration. Guarana and some other herbs found in these popular drinks produce similar effects as caffeine. Mixing high doses of caffeine with alcoholic beverages can also be very dangerous.
Alcohol alone can cause dehydration and adding the energy drink’s caffeine to the mix can cause even further dehydration. The more your body becomes dehydrated the higher the blood level of alcohol. And even though the alcohol is getting the person inebriated the caffeine makes them feel as though they are less drunk than they actually are. The person is more likely, therefore, to think it’s okay to drive or operate machinery.
Although many of these beverage makers do not feel that their drinks are suitable for children many of them do not label the drinks as such. And, without parental supervision, many of the consumers purchasing such drinks are, indeed, children.
If you’re a parent monitor what your child drinks particularly before and after participating in sports. Further studies need to be performed to determine the safeness of energy drinks. Until then drink them in moderation, never mix with alcohol and do not use these drinks to replenish fluids lost from perspiration.