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Energy Drinks: Good or Bad?

By eHealthIQ
Reviewed: January 09, 2014

Go to any store that carries beverages and you’re bound to find at least one or two types of energy drinks. They provide a fast “pick-me-up” for the tired and many people may believe them to be a healthier alternative to coffee or soda because most varieties also carry B vitamins, but energy drinks also come with considerable health drawbacks.

While it’s true many energy drinks don’t contain as much caffeine as a large coffee, caffeine is still an addictive substance. Too much of it can lead to heart trouble (though an extreme amount, 60 cans of Monster Assault for example, is required for actual cardiac arrest). Because of the combination of ingredients, there is also a possibility that energy drinks can make the heart contract harder, which can cause damage to people with preexisting heart conditions. Caffeine over-consumption and withdrawal both can cause anxiety, shakiness and extreme headaches. And with any addictive substance, the cost of consuming enough of the product to feed your addiction can rapidly build up.

The purpose of energy drinks, of course, is to keep you awake and alert; and they do succeed in this. The flip side of this effect, however, is that they can keep you from falling asleep when you need to sleep. Insomnia can lead to irritability and slowed brain and motor skill function, making it dangerous to drive or operate other large equipment.

The major drawback to energy drinks, as opposed to caffeinated coffee or tea, is that energy drinks also contain large amounts of sugar. Too much sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes and cavities. The combination may also cause nausea and vomiting, which leads to dehydration and, if it happens too often, tooth decay. Also, because they contain flavor additives as well as sugar and caffeine, there is a risk of interfering with medication. You should always double-check your medication instructions and restrictions with regards to diet.

Energy drinks are like any other food item in that using moderation is key. They are not inherently dangerous unless you take too many at once or have an allergy to one of the ingredients, but they are habit-forming. Staying well-rested and hydrated as much as possible is the best alternative if you’re looking to keep your energy high.

primary source: Caffeine Informer

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