Many people rely on coffee and other caffeinated beverages to power through their days. You, yourself, may be one of those people who utter the phrase, “But first, coffee,” or jokingly tell others not to speak to you until you’ve had your morning java.
As an extension of the over reliance of coffee, many people also get an energy boost from energy drinks like Redbull or Monster. Some may use them as a way to power through final exams or get over that 2pm slump. But what are we really putting into our bodies when we load up on these drinks? And can these drinks actually cause us harm or long-term damage?
Firstly, many drinks contain an obscene amount of sugar. Monster drinks, for example, are loaded with 27 grams of sugar. That’s already 2 grams more than the daily-recommended allowance for women of 25 grams and not far off from the 37 grams recommended for men. Drink two Monsters a day and you’re at double your recommended intake. If you drink just one daily, it should replace all of your other sugar in your diet, which would mean cutting out fruits and other healthy alternatives that offer natural sweeteners just to ensure that you’re not putting yourself at needless risk for diabetes.
Now, let’s talk about the caffeine. The energy burst comes from both the exorbitant amount of sugar and the fact that all of these drinks are loaded to the hilt with caffeine. The FDA regulates soda to 65 milligrams per 12 ounces. However, the same serving of a Monster drink contains a whopping 86.4 milligrams. Red Bull clocks in at 110 milligrams per 12 ounces of the drink, which is almost twice the FDA regulated amount for soda. Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t regulate the caffeine in energy drinks, meaning they can pack in as much as they wish.
But why is too much caffeine a problem? Several physical side effects can occur from drinking too much of it. These can include chest pains, heart palpitations, fast heart rate, nausea and vomiting, to name a few.
Many energy drinks are also loaded with vitamins B6 and B12. While these vitamins are good for us, especially B12 as many are deficient, the old adage that sometimes too much of a good thing is pretty bad rings true. Some energy drinks have 100% the amount of vitamins necessary, which can lead to issues like insomnia, tingling of the hands and feet and degeneration of vital organs.
Doctors have found that those who have relied on energy drinks have suffered a myriad of health issues, including seizures.
It’s probably better to skip that energy drink and get your daily boost somewhere else.
Anna Scanlon is finishing up her PhD in History at the University of Leicester. She makes a living as a freelance writer for several websites, including New Life Outlook where she discusses her struggle with lupus SLE. She is the author of three YA books:Unravelled, The Remnants and Children of the Most High. Anna also runs the lifestyle and veganism blog and accompanyingYouTube channel Anna in Wonderland:
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