Energy drinks: Do they help …or harm?
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Energy drinks are beverages that claim to improve energy. Their main ingredient is caffeine. They usually contain sugar, which adds calories. They also may contain guarana plant extract (which is like caffeine), taurine (an amino acid) and vitamins. How much do you know about the benefits and the risks of energy drinks?
Q: Are energy drinks safe for adults?
A: Energy drinks are usually safe for adults if you drink them in moderate amounts. The main ingredient is caffeine. Consuming less than 400 mg a day of caffeine is considered safe for adults. There is about 95 mg. of caffeine in 8 oz. of brewed coffee. A single energy drink can have as much as 500 mg of caffeine. Caffeine increases energy in adults and fights tiredness. But too much caffeine can make you feel nervous or grouchy. And it can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea and headaches.
Q: Is it okay to drink alcohol and energy drinks at the same time?
A: Drinking energy drinks and alcohol together may be unsafe. The caffeine in these drinks can make the effects of alcohol harder to notice. People may feel they are not as intoxicated as they really are. Mixing caffeine with alcohol may cause you to drink more. That's because the caffeine may keep you awake longer.
Q: Are energy drinks safe for children and teens?
A: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teens not drink energy drinks. One reason to avoid them is that the main ingredient is caffeine. It can cause problems in children and teens, including:
Higher blood pressure
Worsen existing problems, such as an abnormal heartbeat for those with a heart condition or high levels of blood sugar for those with diabetes
The best way for children and teens to improve energy is to eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep.
Q: What are some concerns about energy drinks?
A: There are several:
Too much caffeine.
Other ingredients are sometimes included, such as kola nut or guarana. There has been little research on how these ingredients may affect the body.
Energy drinks may be classified as dietary supplements, which are not as strictly regulated as foods. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the amount of caffeine in sodas, but not in energy drinks.
Energy drinks usually contain sugars, which add to the calories. This could lead to weight gain. The sugars can also lead to dental problems.
When your body gets used to a lot of caffeine and then you stop using it, you can get symptoms such as headaches, feeling tired, having trouble concentrating and feeling grouchy.
The caffeine in energy drinks may make it harder to sleep. Some people may feel they need less sleep, due to the stimulation they get from the caffeine. This can lead to not getting enough sleep, which can be harmful to your overall health.
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