The ins and outs of energy drinks

ROBERT HUSKEY/ Daily Titan

ROBERT HUSKEY/ Daily Titan

Students, workers and anyone on the go are always in need of more energy during the day. We rely heavily on our morning coffee and quick boost of anything that will enhance our mental and physical awareness to endure a long work day or a late-night study session.

Energy drinks are defined as carbonated beverages that typically contain caffeine and other ingredients, like taurine and ginseng, intended to increase the drinker’s energy.

Taurine can help stimulate the development of the brain and regulate the body’s water levels. The amount of taurine found in energy drinks is greater than the appropriate daily consumption.

High doses of ginseng can be dangerous when taken with certain medicines, according to the American Cancer Society. There is a correlation between ginseng consumption and an increase in developing insomnia, headaches and hypertension.

Published in the journal Pediatrics, teens and adolescents are increasing energy drink consumption around the world. On U.S. college campuses, consumption of energy drinks is a common occurrence.

According to The Consumers Union Report, caffeine is the mostly used stimulant in the world. Each energy drink product contains a different caffeine amount. For example, a caffeine-free level Liquid X Energy Drink contains 0 percent caffeine; moderate-level caffeine beverage Red Bull has 80mg per 8.46 oz. can and high-level caffeine beverage: Slam Energy Drink contains 107mg per 2 oz. bottle.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the amount of caffeine added to energy drinks. In fact, most energy drinks have higher amounts of caffeine than coffee.

But what are the negative side effects of consuming energy drinks? Each person has a different limit for caffeine consumption. Among many negative side effects, studies have shown that there is a correlation between energy drinks and increased systolic blood pressure.

A seven-year research project conducted by the Australian Poisons Center concluded that energy drink side effects include chest pain, dizziness, agitation, insomnia, headache and respiratory distress.

Higher doses of caffeine can lead to increase blood pressure, diarrhea, nausea and withdrawal symptoms.

Most energy drinks contain a high in sugar content which can lead to obesity, tooth decay and the increase risk of type 2 diabetes. Energy drinks contain 21 to 34 grams per eight ounces of sucrose, glucose or high fructose corn syrup.

In a report in March 2013, the American Heart Association stated that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to more than 180,000 obesity-related deaths worldwide each year. The United States has the third-highest death rate from sugary drinks, after Mexico who had the highest and Bangladesh who took second.

In the United States, beverages containing high sugar content were linked to diabetes and obesity-related diseases.

Any beverage containing sugar leads to weight gain. Energy drink consumption has a negative correlation with body mass index (BMI).

Energy drinks create a temporary boost of energy that later results in a fatigue like feeling and should be consumed should be used in moderation. The caffeine content found in these beverages can cause dehydration.

An alternative to energy drinks is consuming nature’s best energy source: fruits and vegetables. Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon, recommends kale, raspberries, almond milk and greek yogurt. Such ingredients can be made into a beverage and substituted for an energy drink. Ways to boost your energy can include adequate sleep, exercise, a healthy diet and water.

Many energy drinks have negative side effects and should be used in moderation. Water is the best way to stay hydrated.

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