Energy drinks

Are energy drinks safe?

There are a variety of energy drinks in today’s market and they don’t all have the same ingredients, but the majority of the top selling drinks contain one key ingredient: Caffeine. Michigan State University Extension says that the main effect of caffeine is to help one feel more alert or awake.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions consumers that a product that is marketed as an “energy shot” or “energy drink” is not an alternative to rest or sleep and warns that while caffeine may make one feel more awake or alert, it is one’s judgment and reaction time that can be impaired by not having enough sleep or rest. The FDA cautions to consult with your health care provider to ensure that you don’t have an underlying or undiagnosed medical condition that can get worse as a result of using these products. Other ingredients that may be found in these drinks can be guarana, a caffeine-containing plant, taurine, an amino acid that can act as a stimulant and in more than energy drinks, is that of added sugars, which adds extra calories in the diet.

The effect of energy drinks is to increase focus or stimulate alertness, which it is successful at doing. However, as for the safety of energy drinks (according to the FDA), there have been no direct causes or effects to the deaths reported. Caution should still be used when it comes to who consumes the beverage and how it is used. The American Academy of Pediatrics, however, warns that kids should not consume energy drinks. How the FDA investigates negative effects and deaths reported as a result of consuming these drinks, can be found in an article reported in the a NBC new report.

The University of Florida Extension has a table that shows and explains the ingredients of four of the top energy drinks:

Energy drink

Caffeine content milligrams/can

Other ingredients

 Red Bull®

8.3 ounces

80

 Taurine, glucuronolactone, B vitamins

Monster Energy Drink®

8 ounces

80

 Taurine, ginseng, carnitine, glucuronolactone, guarana, B vitamins

Rockstar™

8 ounces

80

 Taurine, guarana, ginkgo biloba, carnitine, B vitamins

Full Throttle™

8 ounces

100

 B vitamins

Ingredients in other caffeine-containing drinks may be found at http://www.talkaboutcoffee.com/how_much_is_too_much2.html

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