Be wary of energy drinks
Published 12:53 am Saturday, October 24, 2009
Dear editor, the Times,
It is not uncommon. Many young people, even adults, will do it, get through a round of studying for midterm exams or an extensive project due the next day at work by consuming high-energy drinks loaded with caffeine. In the view of many health and nutrition experts, this would be irresponsible.
Chances are most teenagers and young adults are unaware of just how big a jolt they get from consuming this drink.
Caffeine – not how much there is in the product – is all that is listed on the label. Talk about understatement: Some of these high-energy drinks contain as much as 500 milligrams of caffeine – roughly the equivalent of three to five cups of coffee.
Compare that with the preferred study aid of many college students a generation ago, caffeine tablets, which typically contain between 100 and 200 milligrams of caffeine.
Exposure to especially high levels of caffeine causes some significant and unpleasant side effects that are far removed from what many young people seek from these beverages. Effects include nervousness and an inability to focus which is a far cry from the heightened concentration levels many consumers hope to get from these products.
Add to that insomnia and increased urination. Users also have reported increased laxative action, nausea, and greater susceptibility to heat stress. Among competitive athletes, the high doses of caffeine from these drinks may even result in urine drug test failure.
Also like the supplement industry, the high-energy drink sector is growing by leaps and bounds, currently worth about $5.4 billion and growing by 55 percent annually.
Alabama Cooperative Extension Office