Energy Drinks, Health Risks Behind Them

Monday, October 22, 2018 - 09:37

Energy drinks are marketed at active and sporty young people but numerous studies have suggested energy drinks can have negative health implications and the World Health Organization hailed energy drinks a "danger to public health."

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, energy drinks are more dangerous to your heart than drinks with just caffeine alone. They– loaded with caffeine and sugar – far from healthy, are implicated in overstimulation of the nervous system as well as obesity.

The caffeine content represents the biggest health issue. Based on a study in BMJ Open last year, the average caffeine content was about 30mg per 100ml.

Caffeine can be toxic in rare cases, but it is hard to reach a lethal dose of about 10g by drinking either energy drinks or coffee. The bigger concern has been the stimulant effect, which can produce jitteriness and palpitations. Teachers have complained of children unable to settle down and focus in school.

Energy drinks also contain a lot of sugar – 27g in 250ml. The 2017 BMJ Open study found the average sugar content was high – “more than the entire maximum daily recommendation for sugar intake in the UK for an adult (30g).”

“This study illustrates the huge contribution of energy drinks to sugar intake, which is linked to the development of obesity and various types of cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes and rotting our children’s teeth,” said Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, who is chair of the campaigning group Action on Sugar, when the study was published.

Drinking just one 16-ounce energy drink can increase your blood pressure and stress hormone levels, according to a study by Mayo Clinic researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Although those changes are short term, they could increase a person's long-term risk of developing heart disease.

Consuming one can of an energy drink likely is safe for most healthy individuals who are not sensitive to caffeine. The World Health Organization recommended in 2014 that an upper limit for the amount of caffeine allowed in a single serving of these types of drinks be established along with regulations to enforce labeling restrictions and the sale of energy drinks to children and adolescents.

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