Menu

Energy drinks: The good, the bad and the ugly

Energy drinks such as Red Bull, AMP, Monster and 5 hour energy are major trends among young adults lately.

One big question arises from these power producing drinks: How healthy are they?

“Caffeine is used socially in drinks such as coffee, tea and colas by a majority of the adult population in the United States; it also is popular worldwide,” said Nicole M. Van Hoey, PharmD, in her article Caffeine: Short- and long-term effects on the body.

“Although most use in this manner is moderate (such as one to two cups of coffee per day) and likely within safe health boundaries, higher intake and continual moderate use have distinct adverse effects on the health of numerous body systems, including cardiac, gastrointestinal and renal organs,” she said.

Hoey explains in her article that the central nervous system is stimulated when caffeine enters the body. This causes an increased level of dopamine, epinephrine and adrenaline in the body and leads to an increase in alertness, concentration and mood.

Extensive research on energy drinks, performed by scientists, has proven certain positives and negatives to the caffeine rich beverages. Some positives from drinking these refreshments with caffeine include an increase in memory, attentiveness and better moods. Negatives, however, include an unsafe raise in blood pressure, sugar intake and shaking. Some will even experience chest pain and dizziness.

“I tend not to think of the negative things when I drink an energy drink,” explains Jose Morales, journalism student, who is just starting out as an energy drink consumer to help him stay energized during school.

Some students feel the opposite effect.

“I drank 5 hour energy once and it tasted horrible. It made me feel sleepy rather than awake,” said Oskar Flores, CIT security.

A reliable source of information on energy drinks and other caffeine-rich substances can be found at www.energyfiend.com, a site dedicated to the public knowledge of energy drinks.