Are Energy Drinks Safe?
Why some drinks amount to living on the edge
The energy drink industry has spread like wildfire, which means energy drinks and the highs they offer are available to pretty much everyone regardless of their dangers and side effects. It’s not like you have to be of legal age to buy a bottle, like you do with cigarettes, alcohol or even lottery tickets. Even kids are getting their hands on them.
The truth is a lot of people just can’t keep up with the hectic pace of the 21st century. Downing an energy drink or two gives them an extra boost of energy to help them get through the work day. It also allows them to extend the night long past their regular bedtime. Drinking energy is a legal way to be a bit rebellious, without breaking any laws. Adventurous types like the high they get from them and, let’s face it, anyone can be an adventurous type with the quick, inexpensive, legal and mobile buzz that an energy drink offers.
There’s a slight element of danger in energy drinks that makes them a bit intriguing as well. After all, they contain controversial ingredients – namely guarana, taurine, caffeine, Cyanocobalamin, citric acid and ginseng. Even though these are basically harmless when taken in low dosages, studies have shown that these ingredients can do major damage to people who don’t know how to spell moderation. This means too many people are consuming energy drinks in excess, for the wrong reasons.
In addition, mix a few with alcohol and the high you’ll get will have you feeling downright unstoppable. The binge drinking associated with energy drink cocktails is twice as high because it gives you that untouchable high, without the side effects of fatigue and drowsiness you get with alcohol and plain juice or pop.
On top of that, our society is one of excess. This has many believing that if one energy drink can give them a good buzz, then drinking one after the other would be an ideal way to sustain a buzz all evening. This might make sense when you’re fuelled by a caffeine high, however even the manufacturers themselves warn against drinking more than two energy drinks a day. Unfortunately the dangerous mix of energy and alcohol will often leave you with no idea of how many drinks you’ve consumed. By then it’s a bit late for manufacturers’ warnings.
Studies done on energy drinks show that the common ingredients – such as sugar, sodium, and caffeine – are dangerous when taken in high dosages for diabetics and for people with high or low blood sugar. Even an average person consuming an energy drink that’s extremely high in sugar can feel like they’re trapped in a speeding, out-of-control elevator that’s crashing to the ground when a sudden drop in insulin levels kicks in. Think what it would do to a person with underlying heart conditions. The stimulating properties of energy drinks can also boost the heart rate and blood pressure, sometimes to the point of palpitations.
Even athletes misuse energy drinks before competition to help them gain an added edge. This can become a dangerous habit if your drink of choice contains a lot of sodium, sugar and caffeine, as these ingredients will affect the body as it tries to replenish itself with electrolytes that are lost during an intense workout. In fact, caffeine can have a diuretic and dehydrating effect on an athlete, when they desperately require water. Energy drinks aren’t very beneficial for athletes. Instead, those who are looking to go the extra mile should check out our Sports Drinks section.