The Facts about Energy Drinks

In the past 10 years there has been a significant increase in the consumption of energy drinks, particularly by young people. There has also been considerable debate about the contents of energy drinks and whether consumption of them is safe.

This blog provides information on caffeinated energy drinks and their effects for you to consider before you drink any.

What are energy drinks?

Energy drinks are beverages that contain varying amounts of caffeine, taurine, guarana, amino acids, vitamins and sugar. Energy drinks are promoted as being beneficial in increasing stamina, and improving physical performance, endurance and concentration.

What are the ingredients of energy drinks?

Energy drinks typically contain a mixture of:

  • caffeine—a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system to speed up the messages to and from the brain. Caffeine is the main active ingredient in energy drinks
  • guarana—an extract from a plant that contains about twice the amount of caffeine as coffee beans
  • theobromine—from the cacao plant. It has a similar effect to caffeine and is found in chocolate and many other foods
  • theophylline—a drug used for the treatment of respiratory diseases and asthma, marketed under a variety of brand names. It is structurally similar to caffeine. It is also naturally found in tea at very small levels
  • taurine—occurs naturally in food, especially in seafood and meat, and is necessary for normal skeletal muscle functioning
  • ginseng—a substance that comes from a variety of plants and is believed to have medicinal properties, but has been found to interact with a number of prescription and herbal drugs.

Effects of energy drinks

Short-term effects

  • feeling more alert and active
  • need to urinate more frequently
  • rise in body temperature
  • increased heart rate
  • stimulation of the brain and nervous system.

Higher doses

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Serious injury or death from caffeine overdose can occur.

Some of the adverse health effects associated with excessive energy drink consumption are:

  • insomnia
  • nervousness
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • rapid heart rate
  • heart-palpitations.

 

Children and young people

There is no reported evidence that energy drinks are of any nutritional value. Research has found that children and young people who consume energy drinks may suffer sleep problems, bed-wetting and anxiety.

With small children, caffeine poisoning can occur through much smaller doses.

We hope you found this blog useful.