The Dangers of Energy Drinks
Coffee contains about twice as much caffeine as soda, and most of the energy drinks contain at least as much caffeine as coffee. One of the energy drinks contains as much caffeine as five cups of coffee, or the equivalent of two and a half Vivarin, No-Doz or Dexatrim. (The name of this drink is being omitted so kids won’t search it out.) To put this into perspective, the Olympic Committee will disquality an athlete that has had more than three cups of coffee.
And, that is only the amount of caffeine listed as a separate ingredient. The top drink also includes green tea, which contains additional caffeine. Some of these drinks also add guarana, ginseng, and/or mate – which are stimulants. One brand of energy drink contains 140 mg of caffeine, and it also contains 600 mg of ginseng and an unknown amount of guarana.
The FDA does not require disclosure of the amounts of caffeine, guarana, ginseng, or mate on energy drinks. But, this information is available on internet sites. The labels do not contain enough information for an adult to make an informed decision. But, kids most likely don’t read labels at all. So it is up to parents to research the drinks their kids are ingesting, or put limits on what their kids are allowed to drink. Adults may be used to drinking one or two cups of coffee in one sitting, but kids are not; and kids have smaller bodies than adults, so stimulants affect them more. A child is also not likely to limit themselves as adults do.
- Too much caffeine and/or other stimulants found in energy drinks can cause dangerous symptoms.
- These can include some or all of: diarrhea, sleeplessness, heart palpitations, dehydration, panic attack, and suicide.
- Dehydration, for instance, can cause death, especially when it is mixed with exercise and/or heat.
- Kids can “bounce off the walls” without energy drinks.
- And, kids can be moody enough without the withdrawal symptoms that come after the stimulants wear off.
- If parents don’t worry about the dangers of energy drinks for their kids’ sakes, they should at least worry about them for the sake of their own sanity.
Most people know that caffeine is stimulant. Many do not realize that guarana, ginseng and mate are also. Stimulants can be beneficial when used correctly.
Another stimulant, ephedra, was taken off the market because a few people died after taking it. Some of the fatalities occurred when it was taken before extreme physical activity, or rigorous activity in extreme heat. When used correctly, it does work wonders for allergies and asthma.
After the ephedra scare, companies started adding “no ephedra” to their labels.
- The Monster drink contains guarana, ginseng and caffeine.
- Kids love to drink it for its energy boost. Snapple has at least eight drinks that contain all three ingredients.
- The problem with “energy” drinks and many pills (mainly for weight loss) is twofold: that they contain one of these in an excessive amount, or a combination of these ingredients; and that many of the labels do not specify that they are stimulants.
- Some even imply that their product contains no stimulants because it is “ephedra free.”
- It is important to read labels on everything nowadays. It is equally important to know what the ingredient names mean.