Your Body on Energy Drinks
Energy drinks have become really popular in the past two decades and the effects on your health are under study.
RedBull is perhaps the most famous and is consumed around the world to stimulate the brain in those who, for one reason or another, undergo intense physical effort and diverse stressful situations.
With their motto “RedBull gives you wings”, the company has convinced millions of consumers around the world that their drink is a way to recharge from the heavy mental and physical exertion that is the result of long days at work, studying at school for an exam, etc.
The drink effectively works to prolong energy when the body needs it. However, in recent years, scientific studies have shown that just one can can cause changes in functions across the body.
Drinking energy drinks daily can lead to the development of various cardiovascular problems.
Why are energy drinks harmful to your health?
Energy drinks are soft drinks that combine substances like caffeine, amino acids (like taurine), carbohydrates (like glucoronolactone, a derivative of glucose), vitamins, and in some cases, medicinal plant extracts, like ginseng or guarana.
Just one can of these drinks contains elevated quantities of caffeine, equivalent to 4 cups of coffee, two espressos, 4 cans of cola or 6 cups of tea: approximately 300 mg.
A healthy individual can ingest between 100 and 300 mg of caffeine a day, up to a maximum of 400 mg. Experts agree that this dosage does not present a health risk when not combined with other substances like alcohol.
This combination or drinking in excess can cause dangerous side effects like:
- Heart palpitations or high blood pressure
- Lack of motor coordination
In addition, one of the main problems lies in combining caffeine with other substances which can be really dangerous. For example, the aspartame content is known to be carcinogenic.
These drinks also tend be addictive, leading the consumer to never feel satisfied with just one can and causing them to drink more to satisfy their cravings.
Some countries have banned the sale of RedBull and other energy drinks
An estimated 3.5 million cans of RedBull were distributed in 143 countries around the world.
However, evidence that confirms the negative health effects of these beverages has worried the authorities of different countries. Today, these drinks are prohibited in Norway, Denmark and Uruguay.
In Kuwait, energy drinks were prohibited for minors under age 16 after two members of the national squash team died of heart attacks after ingesting these drinks.
What are the dangers of energy drinks?
The risks associated with these types of drinks appear when they’re consumed in excess or combined with other substances like alcohol.
Further study is needed to determine just how dangerous these drinks are, but for now there are a few warnings for consumers to consider concerning their possible effects:
- They shouldn’t be ingested after intense physical exercise as their energizing properties increase the heart rate and can cause a massive heart attack.
- They do not hydrate. The diuretic effect of the caffeine actually increases the risk of dehydration in these cases.
- Due to the high content of compounds that thin the blood, excessive consumption can cause a cerebral hemorrhage because the heart works less to pump the blood, but increases the force with which it does it.
- Mixing RedBull and other energy drinks with alcohol can be lethal because it directly attacks the liver.
- Drinking a can a day increases your risk of developing irreversible nervous disorders.
- Those who are pregnant, have cardiovascular problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, sensitivity to caffeine and clotting disorders should avoid them completely.