In 2016, the energy drink business was a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S. It's even estimated to reach $61 billion by 2020. Most of these beverages are marketed directly to children and adolescents. If drinks are combined with other drugs and alcohol, their negative side effects can get even worse.
The health risks associated with energy drinks
The caffeine in energy drinks significantly affects many of your vital organs, especially the cardiac and nervous systems. Here are some of the health problems that are linked to the regular consumption of energy drinks.
Heart disorders – When you consume an energy drink your blood may become thicker, your blood vessels can stiffen, and your heart rate increases. These three changes can cause a heart attack or stroke in people who are already at risk for heart diseases. A study implies that certain energy drink ingredients such as taurine can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Taurine may also increase your risk of developing heart rhythm problems independent of caffeine content. Energy drinks are also linked to serious complications like including seizures, strokes, and sudden cardiac death.
Insomnia – Too much caffeine from energy drinks can cause insomnia or sleeplessness. If you've consumed more caffeine that is healthy for you, you may have trouble falling asleep even if your body needs to rest and recover. (Related: The dangers of energy drink consumption.)
Mental health – Energy drinks can cause changes in sleep patterns, mood swings, and periods of anxiety, especially in children and adolescents.
How can you avoid these health risks?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), energy drinks "may pose a danger to public health." Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that children shouldn't be allowed to consume these beverages, which have little to no nutritional value.
Adults also need to consider their risk for heart disease or stroke. Avoid energy drinks if you're already predisposed to these conditions.
Caffeine – Caffeine is the main ingredient in energy drinks. The average drink can contain at least 50 to 500 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, compared to 100 mg in a regular cup of coffee.
Sugars – Energy drinks have at least 21 to 34 grams (g) of sugar per eight ounces. These include glucose, high fructose corn syrup, or sucrose, all three of which are linked to obesity. Individuals who consume energy drinks are at risk for obesity and dental problems.
Taurine – Taurine is one of the most common amino acids (building blocks for proteins) in the body. It supports brain development and helps enhance athletic performance, but the amount of taurine in energy drinks is much higher than what is naturally found in foods like meat or seafood. There is no scientific proof that higher levels of taurine have any beneficial effect on the body.
You can read more articles about the harmful side effects of energy drinks and other sugary beverages at Products.news.