Energy drinks are now included on substance abuse lists. These beverages are consumed to counteract insufficient sleep, stay awake longer and to increase energy levels.
An alarming number of high school, college and university students are partying with their “Rockstars” and other energy beverages. According to Experian Simmons Research, this annual three billion dollar industry has more than doubled in the past three years, mostly among the young.
In the autumn of 2015, a vast number of drug abuse and addiction experts sent the Food and Drug Administration in the United States a letter urging that mandatory warning labels and restrictions accompany the marketing of energy drinks. A study conducted at Johns Hopkins University has many concerned with the very high content of sugar and caffeine in these beverages. There are numerous individuals, the young in particular, abusing these drinks to force their bodies to go against what they need.
Dehydration, alcohol poisoning, accidents, and addiction to the massive quantities of sugar and caffeine are some of the concerns experts find worrisome. For those whose abuse of these drinks have become an addiction, there are serious health concerns. In 2011 there were three deaths linked between mixing vodka with an energy drink.
Caffeine Affects our Health
Caffeine has been proven to cause:
- Stomach pain.
- Fast or irregular heartbeat.
- Muscle trembling or twitching.
- Confusion or delirium.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Too much caffeine produces effects that are similar to the effects of stress on the body. Anxiety, nervousness, jittery and being irritable are only some side effects. Dr. James Lane, professor of medical psychology at Duke University states that cardiac output, muscle blood flow, hormones and blood pressure are some of the physical effects on the body.
Caffeine, along with the very high content of sugar and sodium, is very dangerous for those who are diabetic or who have high blood pressure.
A recent study conducted at Northwestern University documented that more than 250 calls to a poison control center in Chicago, (over a three year period), were related to medical complications from caffeine supplements, including energy drinks. This study showed that 12% of these people whose average age was 21, were hospitalized as a result of caffeine abuse.
How Much is Too Much?
The following are samples of energy drinks with their approximate caffeine content based on 16 oz.
- Full Throttle 144mg
- Rockstar 160mg
- Red Bull 160mg
- Monster 160mg
- Redline 500mg
It’s interesting to note that there are legal “power” rushes of caffeine. Redline’s high concentration energy drink that comes in a 2.5 oz container, puts 350mg of caffeine into the consumer. If one cup of Powershot is consumed, then about 800 times the caffeine content of one cup of coffee has been ingested.
By comparison, one cup of coffee contains about 135mg of caffeine and one cup of average black tea has 43 mg. The same quantity of green tea has 30mg of caffeine. An average can of cola has between 36 and 46mg of caffeine while diet cola’s average is 39 to 50mg of caffeine.
Health Canada states that a healthy adult should not consume more than 400-450mg of caffeine a day. A caffeine overdose can feel similar to flu-like symptoms.
Drink – But in Moderation
Like so many other things in life, moderation is the key to enjoyment. Energy drinks are fine once in awhile and some of these products do contain some healthy ingredients. Most experts will agree, no more than one a day, especially if other caffeine products (which include chocolates) are consumed in a day. Consume the drink so that regular sleep routines are not disturbed. It is also very advisable not to use energy drinks as mixers with alcohol.