Monster, Red Bull - it’s tempting to grab a can of one of these caffeine, sugar, guarana and whatever-else-infused energy drinks when you need that buzz. And the fact that each of these drinks has a million-dollar marketing campaign behind it doesn’t help either. But before you crack open a can to kickstart your day, keep in mind that they aren’t exactly good for your health. In fact, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that energy drinks could have detrimental effects.
Here are five reasons why you should avoid them. The choice is yours.
They could cause heart abnormalities and neurological problems
Fahad Ali, an internal medicine resident at the Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, was treating more and more patients who complained of chest pains and irregular heartbeats. What puzzled him was that each of them had an otherwise healthy background. Ali ended up digging further into the subject matter, reviewing 43 studies on the adverse effects of energy drinks. What he found was that taurine and caffeine, when mixed together, amplify each other’s effects increasing the probability of heart abnormalities and neurological problems like seizures.
They mess with your sleep, and your confidence
A study in Spain gave a group of trained athletes 1.3mg of caffeine per pound of bodyweight 60 minutes before their workout. The next week, they conducted the same activity but this time without the caffeine. On the bright side, the athletes reported an increase of 13% in muscle power thanks to the caffeine. On the other hand, nearly 30% of the test subjects reported having trouble sleeping, while others claimed to feel more nervous after consuming the caffeine.
They are really sweet
When we talk about processed foods, there’s one word that comes up all too often - sugar. Sugar is everywhere and energy drinks are no exception. While Coca Cola contains around 39g of sugar, Red Bull isn’t far behind with 29g. Consuming too much sugar is never good as it accelerates tooth decay and puts you at risk of type-2 diabetes.
They can impair your cognitive abilities
While energy drinks can increase your capability to be alert, there is a tipping point. One study gave students half a can of Red Bull then conducted an activity to test their reaction times. They then gave another group an increased dosage to see if it would help them react faster than the first. Interestingly, this second group ended up having slower reaction times. Couple this with the fact that energy drinks such as Red Bull are often mixed with alcohol such as Jaegermeister and you can imagine how much your cognitive abilities could be impaired.
They could increase the chances of miscarriage
So far there has only been one report in the US linking miscarriage with an energy drink. Although this is far from proven, we do know that caffeine can cross the placenta. What isn’t known however is if this could cause a miscarriage. Given that the link between caffeine and miscarriage is unknown thus far, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Boost your energy levels the natural way
If you are really in need of a pick-me-up, there are better, more natural ways to get it. Small and simple lifestyle changes such as getting enough sleep and exercising more frequently are not only effective ways to boost your energy levels, but they are also absolutely free!