Energy Drinks: How Do They Affect Your Health?
Photo used under Creative Commons by Mike Mozart

Energy Drinks: How Do They Affect Your Health?

According to the health section in US News, sales of energy drinks and shots, like 5-hour Energy, are higher than ever. The energy drink market made over $12.5 billion in the years between 2008 and 2012 and are now soaring into the $20-$30 billion range. The easy targets for these companies are people just like you; the busy college kids. We are constantly staying up late to either hang out with our friends or to cram before tests. These drinks help us stay alert and awake, but do the pros actually outweigh the cons?

Energy Drinks are not very well regulated by the FDA, therefore the companies are able to advertise their drinks as dietary supplements. This allows them to not use nutrition facts on their products so we never know what we are actually putting into our bodies. This also lets them hide how much caffeine is actually in the beverages.

I have searched entire cans before for these facts, but I am always left with no information. The FDA limits the average soda to have less than 71 milligrams of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces, but since they are saying these drinks are dietary supplements, they can exceed this limit. Red Bull has 80 milligrams per 8 ounces, Monster and Rockstar have 160 milligrams per 16 ounces, and the list goes on and on.

A study was done at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Pennsylvania a few years back. They saw a few patients that had symptoms like chest pain, irregular heartbeats and some even had cardiac arrest incidents. They later discovered that these people regularly drank energy drinks. The average adult consumed around 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. If you drink an energy drink along, with a coffee from Starbucks, you are well over that limit.

WebMD stated that emergency room visits related to energy drinks doubled in the United States from 2007-2011. Most of these cases were young adults from ages 18-25. There have even been several deaths related to such high caffeine contents. Next time you are trying to pull an all-nighter, choose your drink wisely. If you are unable to locate the nutrition facts on a label, odds are that you should not drink it. It always better to opt for natural energy options such as better or longer sleeping habits, exercise, nutritional eating habits, etc.

About The Author

Summer Showalter, Staff Writer
Summer Showalter is a Junior Mass Communications major from Bethany, Oklahoma. She loves SNU and is excited to write for The Echo this semester. In her free time, she loves working out, hanging out with friends and family and dancing to 90’s rap songs. Her future plans are to become a broadcast journalist one day and travel the world.

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