Hidden dangers of energy drinks

Red bull, Monster, Amp and countless other energy drinks are extremely popular and a favorite drink for many teenagers. The commercial and manufacturers tell people that energy drinks give you a boost of energy, improve performance, stimulate your metabolism, and increase concentration, but what they don’t mention is the plethora of risks that drinking them can cause.

Energy drinks have become extremely popular since 2000. Between 30-50% of Americans drink energy drinks regularly and 65% of those people are between the ages of 13-35.

Researchers are finding that these drinks have dangerous and possibly fatal side effects if they are consumed in too large of an amount. In 2007 in the US alone there were 5,448 caffeine overdoses due mainly to energy drinks. Some of the side
effects of energy drinks are stomach and liver problems, panic attacks, anxiety, cardiac arrhythmia, and possible cardiac arrest. The side effects are due to the excessive amount of caffeine and sugar in the drinks.

In 2004, France banned Red Bull after a professional athlete died after drinking four of them after a game. Denmark also banned red bull but both bans were eventually revoked. Governments are not the only people that have banned energy drinks. A military academy in New Mexico banned all energy drinks from their campus due to the hospitalization of one of their young cadets due to overdosing on energy drinks.

Both Mr. Steve Sikma, the PE Fitness teacher, as well Ms. Mary Aufderheide, the Health teacher,  both believe that energy drinks are harmful.

“Caffeine is a diuretic, (it) dehydrates you,” Ms. Aufderheide said, adding that “athletes should not use (them) for that reason alone, not to mention all the other chemicals in them.”

Red Bull has more than 26 ingredients and that aren’t including the dies and artificial flavors.  Amp has 25 ingredients and Monster has 25 ingredients. The majority of these ingredients are artificial.

“Energy drinks provide a temporary boost and end in a crash later,” Mr. Sikma says “ I would much rather see people drinking water.”

According to both Mr. Sikma and Ms. Aufderheide, instead of having an energy drink choose water or Gatorade instead. Water or Gatorade will provide you with long lasting energy and help provide your body with the hydration that is necessary.

Austin Kuipers contributed to this report.


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