ARE ENERGY DRINKS HARMFU Think that caffeinated energy drink is a healthy afternoon pick-me-up? Some experts disagree and are urging the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require companies to put health warning labels on their energy-boosting drinks. Apparently, the beverages’ high caffeine content may pose a serious consumer health risk, especially for kids and young adults. Read on to learn more. More caffeine per serving than coffee
A review paper in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence
indicates that a single serving of an energy drink can contain
upwards of 500 milligrams of caffeine – an amount
The experts, from Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine in Baltimore, are concerned because most energy
drinks don’t list caffeine levels on their labels. Some energy
drinks may have 50 milligrams while others have 10 times
that amount. Just think about the people, particularly kids,
High doses of caffeine can lead to caffeine intoxication,
which is characterized by heart racing, palpitations,
nervousness, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia,
gastrointestinal distress, tremors, hyperactivity,
psychomotor agitation (restlessness and pacing) and, in rare
High-caffeine energy drinks may be a gateway to drug abuse How about those Red Bull Vodkas? A 2007 survey indicated that 27
percent of the college students surveyed reported making energy drink
cocktails with alcohol at least once in the last month.
Researchers say that the danger in mixing energy drinks and alcohol is
that you are less likely to perceive your level of intoxication, putting
you at a greater risk of alcohol-related injury.
In addition, experts are concerned that the strong stimulant effect
provided by energy drinks may increase the risk of abusing
prescription stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate. A
2008 study showed energy drink consumption significantly predicted
subsequent nonmedical prescription stimulant use.
Energy drinks sales are booming
Despite the negative side effects of over-consuming caffeine, energy
drink sales continue to climb, with an estimated $5.4 billion in sales in
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are
concerned about the aggressive marketing of energy drinks to
adolescents and young adults. Young people tend to be naïve when it
comes to the negative impact of excess caffeine consumption – most
people are not even aware that caffeine intoxication is possible.
Energy drinks are considered supplements Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the FDA will be requiring health
warning labels any time soon. According to an article in Medscape Medical News, the FDA considers energy drinks to be supplements and
companies are not required by law to seek premarket approval.
So, the responsibility rests on you. Be aware of your energy drink
consumption and don’t rely on caffeinated beverages to keep you
going. Opt for adequate sleep, regular healthy meals and snacks, and
stay hydrated. And if you have kids, keep their energy drink
consumption in check – you don’t want them to end up with caffeine
intoxication or the young beginning of a caffeine addiction.
Superdrinks: High in antioxidants and health
Michele Thompson, MS, channel editor for www.SheKnows.com Health/Wellness and Food/Recipes channels, is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, and freelance writer specializing in food and fitness in Bozeman, Montana. You can reach her at [email protected].
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