Energy drinks are theoretically designed to re-energize your body and increase your focusing capacity during long days or during low points in your day. Current research on these energy drinks reveals data that may be contradictory or inconclusive. In this paper, address the following:
What do energy drinks do to the body?
How much is too much?
Should the use of energy drinks be regulated?
Should children be allowed to drink energy drinks? Pregnant women? The elderly?
Apart from the soft drink beverage industry, energy drink has gained popularity in the recent past. Energy Drinks are a relatively new class of beverages that are caffeinated and sold with a pitched message of improving energy, enhancing athletic performance, concentration, endurance, and weight management. Energy drinks ingredients include “taurine, niacin, pyridoxine, cyanocobalamin (B12), riboflavin (B2), ginseng extract, glucuronolactone, inositol (B8), guarana. Guarana is made up of (caffeine, theobromine, and offline), ephedra, yohimbine, ginkgo biloba, kola nut, theophylline, sugars, vitamins, herbs, and l-carnitine” (Molnar & Somberg, 2015, p. 1457). Averagely, the concentration of caffeine in all energy drinks is usually higher than those found in soft drinks. In most cases, the target market for energy drinks is mainly the young people. To that effect, the number of individuals consuming ED has significantly increased. Globally, Austria leads in the consumption followed by the United Kingdom. It has been established that an individual on average consumes approximately 8.3 liters of ED annually (Higgins, Yarlagadda & Yang (2015).
Some studies have established that consumption of ED is associated with some health effects. One of the adverse impacts of ED is interference with the heart and enhancing blood pressure. Practically, in less than a quarter an hour of consuming an energy drink, caffeine is absorbed in the bloodstream, resulting in increased heart rate and blood pressure (Fletcher, Lacey, Aaron, Kolasa, Occiano & Shah, 2017). In addition to high blood pressure, the consumption of ED has been associated with higher intervals of the time between heartbeats. When the interval is long, it results in arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart rhythm. According to Higgins, Tuttle & Higgins (2010), this may result in cardiac arrest leading to death. Another problem associated with consumption of ED is addiction. Empirical evidence shows that people become addicted to caffeine and energy drink. Usually, the ED being a stimulant when used for long makes the user dependent on it. As a result, there are possibilities that one might not function properly unless they consume ED. On the same note, uncontrolled consumption and addiction might lead to financial stress since an individual will be spending more funds on buying ED (Fletcher et al., 2017).
Insomnia and type 2 diabetes has been linked to consumption of ED. Regarding the ingredients, ED has been found to have equally high sugar content just like soft drinks such as sodas. The high sugar levels together with caffeine lead to increased weight and insulin sensitivity leading to type 2 diabetes (Higgins, Tuttle & Higgins, 2010). Similarly, energy drinks have been shown to interfere with sleep. Individuals who consume ED to enhance their work efficiency in most cases end up lacking adequate sleep. Usually, sleep is a natural way of ensuring that the human body rests. Eventually, due to insomnia, an individual might exhibit impaired functioning in their daily activities, mainly when ED is not boosting them (Higgins, Yarlagadda & Yang 2015).
With the above negative effects of ED, the questions that arise are how much is too much? Although no single study is conclusive on the safe limits of ED (caffeine) consumption, available data asserts that a healthy adult can take up to 400mg per day. According to Molnar & Somberg (2015), caution is given to pregnant women not to consume more than 200mg per day. Usually, excessive consumption of ED during pregnancy has been shown to result in adversative reproductive outcomes. This is exemplified by the fact that higher level of caffeine results in a prolonged gestational period, pregnancy-induced hypertension, low birth weight, and miscarriage among others. Unfortunately, there are no available data to suggest that there are any safe levels ED to be consumed by children. Looking at the adverse effects associated with ED despite the fact that it enhances energy and alertness, it might not be advisable for the elderly to consume ED as this might worsen their heart condition. However, for those with the healthy condition, it’s recommended that they take at most 200mg of caffeine (Molnar & Somberg, 2015).
Concerning regulation, Higgins, Yarlagadda & Yang (2015), observed that it would be wise to provide the general public with vital information about ED. For instance, the government ought to compel the companies to not only share the ingredients used in manufacturing the ED but also provide health and other related impacts of excessive consumption of ED. More importantly, the sale of ED ought to be restricted to adults to save the children from their adverse effects.
In conclusion, it is apparent that the consumption of energy drink has significantly gone up. Due to caffeine and other ingredients in energy drinks, there are various negative effects of ED to humans. For instance, ED consumption has been linked to cardiac arrest, insomnia and type 2 diabetes among others. Children and adolescents are not supposed to consume ED since there is no study that has established safe amounts for consumption for this group. However, adults can consume 400mg per day while pregnant women can safely take not more than 200mg a day. There is a need for ED to be regulated in order to save lives, especially of children and youths.
Fletcher, E., Lacey, S., Aaron, M., Kolasa, M., Occiano, A. & Shah, S. (2017). Randomized controlled trial of high-volume energy drink versus caffeine consumption on ECG and hemodynamic parameters. J Am Heart Assoc., 26:6(5). pii: e004448. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.004448.
Higgins, J., Tuttle, T. & Higgins, C. (2010). Energy beverages: Content and safety. Mayo Clin. Proc. 85, 1033–1041.
Higgins, J., Yarlagadda, S. & Yang, B. (2015). Cardiovascular complications of energy drinks. Beverages, 1(2), 104-126.
Molnar, J. & Somberg, C. (2015). Evaluation of the effects of different energy drinks and coffee on endothelial function. Am J Cardiol. 116(9): 1457-60.
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