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Warnings About Popular Energy Drinks

By Daniel H. Rasolt

Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2009

(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- Energy drinks, such as Red Bull, have been increasing in popularity in recent years, especially amongst young individuals. The popularity extends across professional, athletic, and social environments, and has led recent study author Dr. Stéphanie Côté to state that  "energy drinks are the coffee of a new generation."

These energy drinks are consumed with significant health risks, however. Energy drinks are loaded with sugar and caffeine, a combination which increases the risk of developing numerous problems. Dr. Côté expresses that "in high quantities it can increase the risks of fatigue and dehydration," and the high levels of caffeine itself are known (through extensive past research) to increase the risk of hypertension, irregular heartbeats, headaches and insomnia. It's generally recommended to consume no more than two energy drinks per day.

The main concern and problem is that energy drinks are finding their way into many facets of young people's lives. For example, many college students are consuming energy drinks as a way to stay awake to study, and many athletes consume the drinks both before and during athletic competitions. As noted previously, in excess, these practices can lead to health problems and disrupted sleep patterns for students, as well as rapid dehydration for athletes.

In addition, energy drinks have become increasingly popular in social environments, as a mixer with alcohol (the popular vodka red bull drink is the most notable example). The high caffeine content works to alter the effects of the alcohol, producing a skewed perspective as to how drunk one really is. Says Dr. Côté, "usually when someone consumes too much alcohol, their head spins and they feel tired. Energy drinks cancel out these warning signs. The person feels good and therefore keeps drinking without realizing they are drunk." This can of course lead to bad decision making, such as believing one is sober enough to drive, or of course increases the risk of alcohol poisoning through heavy alcohol consumption.

Red Bull can sales alone exceed 1.5 billion per year in the United States, and the popularity of the drink continues to rise. It's recommended that more public efforts be made to notify young individuals to the dangers of drinking these beverages in excess.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Côté, Stéphanie. Desjardins, Sylvain-Jacques. University of Montreal news release. February 2009.

Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.

Copyright © 2009 Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

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