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


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