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Health Effects of Energy Drinks

Updated on September 9, 2010

When you are tired or feeling drowsy an easy solution most Americans seek is to grab an energy drink, but most people are unaware of the health effects these drinks can cause. Energy drinks have taken the beverage industry by storm becoming more and more popular with the younger generation. These drinks are being consumed like water, and in order to protect your health it is important to understand how energy drinks work and exactly what harm they can do.

Caffeine:  Everyone has heard of caffeine and is aware that it keeps you up and gives you a little kick, but exactly how much caffeine does an energy drink have?  The standard energy drink contains 280 milligrams of caffeine leading to a spike in the heart rate and  a decrease in hydration.  It basically provides a stimulation in the central nervous system which leads to the elimination of drowsiness and alertness, eventually leading to the notorious crash.

Crash: Drinking an energy drink might feel like the solution to feeling tired or drowsy, but most people do not take the crash into account before the pop the lid off their favorite drink. You may be taking the energy drink the night before a test to study, but you will be less alert and awake for the test the next day. Your body is like a gas tank, and by consuming massive amounts of sugar and caffeine, you are putting your body into overdrive. This gives you a quick boost but ultimately leads to the depletion of your bodily resources defeating the purpose of drinking one in the first place.

Give and take: The relationship with these drinks is a give and take one. In order to give you the boost you seek, the drink must take away from you later. You will find yourself more drowsy proceeding you when the caffeine wears off.

What you are drinking:  Energy drinks come in all shapes and sizes so the ingredients vary from brand to brand, and it is important that you know what these ingredients are and the risk they cause to your body.

Taurine:  Taurine is a chemical found in the notorious Red Bull drink and is classified in the acid category.  This ingredient is obtained through bull bile and offsets certain chemicals in your body which causes the energy boost linked to the beverage.

Ginseng: A more natural alternative to Taurine, Ginseng is a plant based herb native to China and Korea. The Ginseng root contains a chemical component called ginsenosides which creates the alertness, but is know to be followed by drowsiness.

The truth of the matter is that these drinks are very unhealthy. Strange and overused ingredients are pored into making these drinks; over working your body and increasing your heart rate. Before you grab your next energy drink think of the health effects and crash that goes with it, and instead of hurting your body get more sleep, natures energy drink.


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    • profile image

      Rea 5 years ago

      I'm trying to stop heart conditions run on both sides of my family!!!

    • profile image

      Contrice 7 years ago

      XS is by far the best energy drink I have ever had. It is 0 sugar, 8-10 calories a can and comes in a variety of flavors.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Thanks for an enlightening hub on energy drinks. I recently wrote a hub about a new kind of drink called Bula that is a chill-out drink and has valerian, kava and rose hips in it. It is nutritious. You can read more about it if you like. I have tasted it and it tastes like pomegranates. Anyways, I agree that you need to watch the ingredients they put in these new drinks. Thanks.

    • JacquiD profile image

      JacquiD 7 years ago

      Loved this article!

      "You may be taking the energy drink the night before a test to study, but you will be less alert and awake for the test the next day."

      -Also, your brain needs time to process the information you just studied, which is does during sleep! So you'll retain more by sleeping after studying.

      Taurine is an amino acid (chemically, 2-(amino)ethanesulfonic acid), one of the 20 essential aminos. Actually, cysteine is the essential, but taurine is a derivative of it. So you get it in meat, soybeans, quinoa, etc. But again, you're right that too much of a good thing can be bad! Your body wasn't built for the amount in those drinks.

      Ok, I'm done being a nutrition geek :-p

      Awesome article!