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Energy Drinks: A Boost in the Wrong Direction?

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Sara Bellum
March 11, 2010

Energy drinks—You see them at X Games events, basketball arenas, and rock concerts. You can even “fan” some of them on Facebook. What these brands don’t tell you, and what science is now showing us, is that their drinks can really be unhealthy.

Energy drinks often pack in extra vitamins, along with caffeine, which delivers the eye-opening jolt of energy, and is supposed to boost your brain power. People, even teens, seek that extra kick from energy drinks to stay alert longer or perform better sometimes. But do these drinks really boost your brain?

The makers of these drinks claim their drinks deliver energy, but in fact, what they deliver are monster-doses of caffeine and other supplements that rev up your system. Although they may deliver a temporary jolt of energy, they also boost your heart rate, making you feel jittery and on-edge-and too much caffeine can cause stomach aches. Plus, having an energy drink every day might fool you into thinking you can’t function without it.

Teens are busy. School, sports, a part-time job, and never-ending homework…finally sleep, then having to get up while it’s still dark out to do it all over again. No wonder energy drinks are appealing!

But do they deliver what they promise? And is drinking such high doses worth the possible health risks? Probably not. Better to get more sleep and exercise so you don’t have to depend on chemicals for your energy.

Comments

Too much of something is always bad. Life and health always entail balance.

We all know that vitamins are very important to our health. We find a lot of media

attention in this direction because the vitamin supplement industry is a multi-million

dollar industry.

However, are vitamin supplements really effective? IMO, it is possible to maintain proper

just by ensuring proper food and healthy habits. Let our body do what it is designed to

do and it should stay fit.

PeterW

do all energy drinks have caffeine? could the companies use another chemical that helps stimulant your brain?

do some companies sustitute caffeine for other chemicals in their energy drinks?

i need too know everything that caffeine cand o too your brain. any help?

@geeeeeeek Eating or drinking a large amount of caffeine can make you feel jittery, nervous, or energetic. That’s because caffeine—like any stimulant—changes the way your brain works. A little bit of caffeine can cause a person to feel more awake, but can also make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Caffeine can also cause headaches and dizziness. Oh, btw, caffeine is addictive - once you start drinking coffee regularly, you may feel headachy, anxious or jittery if you cut back on how much you consume or try to cut it out altogether.

i think its wrong for kids to have caffeine

it is very wrong

for the sake off health and function get off all these. I had to go through treatment for insomnia and seek help online like these dudes

[commercial link removed, per guidelines]

Not at all drinking Bull after cleaning out

Thanks for the info. Keep it up

[commercial link removed, per guidelines]

No where in your article do you explain how energy drinks are bad for health. You merely stated how people are dependent on it but people are dependent on many other foods and drinks that are far unhealthier than an energy drink. What is wrong with having one a day? What is "unhealthy" about obtaining Vitamin Bs and a shot of caffeine? Even if the actual drink does not scientifically boost my brain nor my daily functions my mindset that it works will. Just like drinking coffee or tea, energy drinks enhance MY mind and body and thats all that really matters when it comes down to paying money for them.

I'm doing a project on caffeine in school, and i need to know if it has any nicknames?
Is it mind altering?
Could it be prescribed for a medical use?
physically addictive?
psychology addictive?
Can you build up a tolerance?
Thanks for the help if you answer(:

@ProjectCaffeine: For starters, you might find some of the answers you are looking for here in NIDA's Brain Power curriculum materials - http://www.drugabuse.gov/JSP/MOD4/page3.html. There is a lot more information and resources available when you search "caffeine" on NIDA's main Web site: www.drugabuse.gov. Good luck with your project!

Yes it may enhance YOUR mind and body depending on your age, but for young kids ages 9-22 its not good for them, It gives them a high and then a low, and they feel they need it to do well in school, and then when they can't fall asleep because of there high on energy drinks and caffeine they turn to a depressant which makes them tired or sleepy, then in the morning there still low from there depressant so they feel they need to make good grades and need energy so they drink a caffeine filled drinks like monster or coffee, not saying they aren't delicious and you shouldn't drink them AT ALL, but you should drink them in moderation. In the end of this rocky roller coaster of the child highs and lows they create a tolerance for caffeine where it takes a higher dose of caffeine to make them feel that boost of energy they're looking for, 1 monster turns to 2, 2 turns to 4 and so on and so fourth.

:)

This article doesn't explain how caffeine is bad. All you've told me is that i might get a stomach ache. Other than that no "health risks" have been explained or even outlined.

even though i read this i still drink them, my fav. being Amp. but i have noticed that i have been drinking less because of this article.

I would think the main health concerns were about the excessive amounts of sugar and acid you consume in one hit. They're generally packaged in massive volumes stating more than one serving. Caffiene and sugar are the main components contributing to energy. However if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, energy that is not used will be stored as fat. Plus if you are having one a day, think about how much damage you are doing your teeth! Even if a drink states that it is sugar-free, the acid is still contributing to tooth decay. [deprecatory language deleted]

people drink enery drinks for the caffeine! everybody know too much is a bad thing but the truth is that energy drinks are a great and fast way to get some much needed energy.

i drink 8 cans yesterday and today i crashed in maths my body was used to all the caffeine and i had no energy then i got a mouth and then i was fine i got relly worried i like a drug what will i do if i cant get offf it

honey please don't drink these drinks. they're bad for you! :PPPPPP

The USADA calls energy drinks "stimulant" drinks. Who needs them? The majority of these so-called energy drinks contain ingredients most people can't understand. When was the last time you tried to read or even look up the ingredients in the labels contained in energy drinks or even dietary supplements? The whole approach most of the the manufactures of such products is marketing with hype and not too may facts.
If you need energy one would want to know (it would appear) how and were energy is produced.
The majority of the buyers of energy drinks and supplements have no idea how energy is produced in our bodies, nor has any company attempted to educate their buyers, because they simply don’t care. I do.
Let us talk about the Mitochondria. What are mitochondria? These are the tiny "power plants" of our bodies. We are made up of about a hundred trillion cells - skin cells, muscle cells, nerve cells, brain cells, lung, kidney and stomach cells, etc. Every one of those cells needs energy to perform its individual functions and that energy comes from the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the tiny "power plants" that create a chemical form of energy known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). We use ATP to fuel all functions of our bodies from moving to thinking to breathing. The mitochondria make ATP from our food by a chemical process similar to internal combustion in your car engine, instead of using gas and oxygen to release energy, we use food and oxygen.
The cells that require the most energy to do their job, like the muscle cells, heart cells and liver cells have the most mitochondria - up to 2000 or more per cell! Cells that don't do much, like a fat cell that just sits there storing fat, have only a hundred or so mitochondria.
To lose weight, you need lots of mitochondria to burn lots of calories. People with the most mitochondria have the highest metabolism. If you want to know how many mitochondria you have you could simply calculate your muscle mass - the more muscle, more more mitochondria. The more fat, the fewer. You can do this by measuring your body composition.
You can increase the number of mitochondria in your muscle cells (and improve your metabolism) with exercise. We recommend a combination of strength training 2 days a week with aerobic conditioning including some interval training 3-4 days per week. This is the best way to supercharge your metabolism.
There is a new product, so marked as dietary supplement, to be introduced to the public that spells out what are the ingredients in simple words and what it does and what you can expect. [Product reference deleted per guidelines] and with a proper diet supports the cell’s fastest, most effective absorption of natural nutrients in each dose and sustains the body’s mitochondria generation of usable energy, key to producing ATP, the energy-rich fuel the body needs to achieve peak athletic strength, performance, and endurance, with rapid recovery.

How long until my comment above is finally posted? I have put a lot of thought in my posting for I have grave concerns that the dangers of so called "energy"drinks such as any hour energy ones and those that try to imply you will have energy like a monster are misleading. Reading the labels takes a course in chemistry.

eww

I think that tis is a problem and it needs to be fixed by giving kids lessons on this stuff

You missed the fact that if energy drinks are consumed on an empty stomach, it may result in death.

these energy drinks are killing are teens like wildfire !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This article hits the nail on the head. Getting good sleep is the right approach. We live in a society of media multi-tasking and time crunching which leave little time for good sleep. There are drinks out there now that are the opposite to energy drinks which promote getting a good night sleep [commercial link removed, per guidelines] which is designed to reduce stress so you can fall asleep. Check them out, they have a totally different concept.
my friend and i started working out doing P90X about 2 months ago we are 14, and we found that having a little bit of an energy drink really helps get us motivated. could someone please give us some incite on the pros and cons and how much we should have.

@jon Hi Jon,

Having "a little bit" of an energy drink (as you said) shouldn't be a problem--but definitely keep it to one. Depending on the brand, energy drinks can have anywhere from one to five (!) times the amount of caffeine in a standard cup of coffee, plus other stimulating substances.

I agree their bad so I don't drink them. Also they contain bull urine which made me think, they're selling people urine!

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