ENERGY Drinks!!!! Are they Safe?
What are energy drinks?
Energy drinks are drinks designed to increase stamina and improve physical performance. Some energy drinks are designed especially for elite athletes, but most are produced and marketed for the general community. An energy drink is a beverage that contains some form of legal stimulant and/or vitamins which are meant to give consumers a short term boost in energy.
What are their main ingredients?
The main ingredients in energy drinks are caffeine, taurine and glucuronolactone. Some new drinks on the market also contain opium poppy seed extract or ephedrine.
In general, these drinks have one thing in common: They all contain a lot of sugar and/or caffeine. These could be considered the “active ingredients.”
- Red Bull
- Full Throttle
Monster Energy Drinks: Nutrition Facts and Key Ingredients
The active ingredients in “Monster” energy drink are caffeine, taurine, ginseng, guarana, and B -Vitamins. Each 8 oz. serving contains:
- 100 calories
- 27 grams of carbohydrate (all from sugar)
- 100% DV Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12
- 8% DV of Sodium
- 1000 mg Taurine
- 200 mg of Panax Ginseng
- 2500 mg of the Monster Energy Blend (L-Carnitine, glucose, caffeine, guarana, insoitol, glucuronolactone, and maltodextrin)
Essentially, Monster Energy drinks are a blend of sugar, caffeine, and vitamin supplements that provide a boost of energy. It’s the 2500 mg of “Energy Blend’ that sets Monster Energy drinks apart from the rest; while it’s not clear how much of this is pure caffeine, you will experience a strong buzz that is probably equivalent to about 2-3 cups of coffee per serving.
Each 16 oz. can of Monster Energy drink contains two servings!
The main health risk associated with consuming these quantities of caffeine is the effect it has on heart rate and blood pressure. With large doses of caffeine, the heart rate can become so accelerated that it may lead to an irregular or quickened heart beat. This can last long after the initial effects of the drink. For people with heart conditions, this can be very dangerous. There have been several reported cases of people dying after drinking energy drinks and exercising heavily, but there is no proof that the drinks were the primary cause.
In addition, energy drinks can lead to dehydration. Caffeine and sugar may provide an energy boost to help perform a task, but they do not provide the necessary hydration. As a result, people drinking energy drinks will feel fine for a while without realizing they are becoming dehydrated. Even worse, they may sweat more burning off all the extra energy. Once the drink wears off, the effects of dehydration can be felt acutely. In extreme cases, dehydration can be fatal.
When you are considering consuming energy drinks:
- Make a mental note that while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is allowing companies to sell and market their energy drink products, there is still very little research that has been done on them.
- The long-term effects of energy drink ingredients, if any, are still not known meaning that drinking a lot of these drinks on a consistent basis may or may not harm you in ways that have yet to be researched.
- Energy drink labels are frequently misleading or at least they are so ambiguous that when you buy them you simply believe what you want to believe. Remember that in most cases, the claims being made have not been proven.
- It remains unknown as to whether any medical conditions and related prescription medication will interact with energy drinks. If you try an energy drink and react poorly to it, consult a physician.