Are Energy Drinks Bad For You?

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The minute you hit that inevitable mid-day slump, the thought of a quick jolt of caffeine shapes up to be just the right thing to keep you chugging through your day. Energy drinks have become an increasingly popular way for people to ensure they remain focused and energetic throughout their busy lives. Despite energy drinks becoming the go-to beverage for elevating your mind and body, there has always been a hidden cost to these ubiquitous refreshers. 

The desire to have a boost of energy is all too understandable in today’s age, and thanks to wildly successful marketing campaigns, low costs, and desirable flavors, energy drinks have become the new coffee. You’ve likely heard at some point in your life that energy drinks are bad for your health, and such a warning is understandable. However, before we unpack that statement, let’s break down some of the ingredients that are commonly found in energy drinks. 

Each energy drink brand has a unique formula of ingredients, but common ingredients include taurine, B vitamins, ginseng, guarana, caffeine, and sugar or artificial sweetener. The majority of these ingredients are relatively harmless, contributing to overall increased focus, alertness, and providing antioxidants. 

However, two ingredients stand out amongst the rest: caffeine and sugar. Both of the ingredients make up the most desirable aspects of an energy drink, but consequently, they also can contribute to the most serious adverse effects of drinking them. 

Caffeine is the main reason people slurp down energy drinks in the first place. Serving as the main stimulant, most energy drinks are packed with stuff, with the average drink containing 150 mg per 16 fl. Oz. Some brands stuff up to 300mg of caffeine per 16 fl oz, pushing the daily limit for the amount that is considered safe. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to a host of nasty side effects, including disrupted sleep, anxiety, and heart palpitations. 

Sugar is the other major component in energy drinks that can sometimes give them a bad rap. The consumption of sugary drinks can have a major impact on your overall caloric intake, which in turn can contribute to obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and fatty liver disease. While many energy drinks have turned to sugar-free blends, there are still plenty of brands out there that contain 40mg+ of sugar per can. 

So are energy drinks bad for you?

Knowing the potential side effects of consuming high amounts of caffeine and sugar together, energy drinks can definitely have a negative effect on your health. Caffeine can be taxing on your heart, as it constricts the blood vessels causing it to increase its workload. If continually maxed out, it can lead to arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, and even cardiac arrest. This danger is only amplified when consuming energy drinks with alcohol. 

While there are a handful of risks involved with consuming energy drinks, it mainly comes down to what’s in them and how much is being consumed. Overall, the occasional energy drink is not going to do much harm. By having a keen understanding of your body and overall health as well as the ingredients of any energy drink you consume, reaching for a can to give you a quick boost can be relatively harmless. 

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