Opinion

Benefits of energy drinks not worth risk

I

t may seem like a panacea for your late night studying – the advertised powerful energy boost used by all hard working people alike – its ease of consumption found innocently at convenience stores.

However, these energy drinks are no innocuous substance. Not only are these drinks unregulated health hazards, but their effectiveness may be embellished. As some say, they may very well be our generation’s cigarettes.

The insidious advertisements containing such enticing buzzwords as guarana, yerba mate and ginseng, which boost cognitive and physical performance, may be exaggerated. Recent research has shown that the only effective ingredient for improved energy performance is the high dose of caffeine. The doses in energy drinks often exist in dangerously high levels.

We have all heard about the adverse health effects of energy drinks in the news. From the changes in blood flow and pressure to irregularities in heart rate, recent reports have gone as far as attributing various energy drinks such as Monster and 5-hour Energy to various deaths.

How are all these products still on the consumer market?

The fact that these energy drinks are sold as dietary supplements exempts them from FDA regulations and limitations. This is especially a concern regarding the caffeine levels in the drinks. Soft drinks are limited to 71 milligrams of caffeine for a regular 12-ounce can. A comparable energy drink can contain up to 500 milligrams of caffeine per serving, a ridiculous 40 times more caffeine.

Those of you who imbibe these energy drinks and feel as if you are immune from the aforementioned risks, have flawed judgment. Lung cancer from smoking develops over a course of several years. In general, many health conditions develop over time as a result of compounding your daily unhealthy lifestyles.

Energy drinks deceivingly present a myopic benefit with your late-night study sessions at 2 a.m. Have you ever considered or thought about the natural energy and productivity boosts of having a good night of sleep?

If you really crave that energy and performance boost, these energy drinks are not the way to go for the sake of your health.

After you put it all in perspective, it really isn’t worth it.

 

Raymond La is a sophomore majoring in microbiology.

April 21, 2013

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Raymond La


3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Benefits of energy drinks not worth risk”

  1. LaQuita Washington says:

    Energy drinks are definitely not worth the risk of having heart issues or other health complications. If you need a gentle boost, switch to drinking healthier alternatives. Solixir is an all-natural functional drink brand that provides gentle energy and is made with 100% all natural ingredients and botanicals and contains no added sugar, compared to a 12-ounce Monster energy drink which contains 41 grams of sugar. Solixir can be found at your local Whole Foods Market and The Vitamin Shoppe.

  2. Raymond says:

    The FDA has been strongly urged recently to regulate levels of caffeine in energy drinks, which contain caffeine ranging from 150 milligrams up to 500 milligrams per serving, a considerable amount more than coffee. When you state that energy drinks are regulated by the FDA, the FDA has indeed released warnings about specific supplements contained in some energy drinks. For example, the FDA released a harsh warning against the stimulant DMAA. The fact that studies by doctors have found correlations between energy drinks and increased health concerns cannot be ignored. Also, the website that you ask to visit is actually a website created by beverage companies. Of course they would dispute scientific claims. For additional reading, please check out some reputable news sources below.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-19/top-doctors-tell-fda-to-limit-caffeine-in-energy-drinks.html
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/business/doctors-urge-fda-to-restrict-caffeine-in-energy-drinks.html?_r=0

  3. maureen_aba says:

    The fact is that energy drinks, their ingredients and labeling are regulated by FDA— even those that are labeled as a dietary supplement using a Supplement Facts panel, instead of a conventional food using a Nutrition Facts panel. Also, most energy drinks contain significantly less caffeine than a similarly-sized coffeehouse coffee. In fact, many contain about half. A 16 fluid ounce energy drink typically contains between 160 and 240 milligrams of caffeine, while the same size coffeehouse coffee contains around 300 to 330 milligrams (Check out http://www.LetsClearItUp.org for more information.)

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