More and more scientists say “Beware of energy drinks ” – such voices seem more and more often due to the dangers energy drinks. Some countries, such as Denmark and Norway, have banned them already. In France, energy drinks have finally found their place on the market, but the information about whom they can harm must be visible on the label.
The name implies that their task is to give the body energy that is easily and quickly assimilated. It aims to improve the mental and physical condition of a person instantly. Meanwhile, according to specialists from the Institute of Food and Nutrition, it is not so. The human body derives energy from the burning of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats taken from food. In energy drinks, the only source of energy is glucose (from carbohydrates), also not in such amounts that it could have a significant impact on the stimulation of the body.
Energy drinks can stimulate your body because they have caffeine (in enormous quantities) and taurine, which is an amino acid. There are also synthetic vitamins, mainly from group B. However, this is not all. Depending on the manufacturer and type of energy drinks, these beverages may have many other stimulants, mainly of vegetable origin. The risks to health can be created not only by the substances themselves but by the proportions in which they were composed.
Some amateurs of these drinks believe that they can be a great source of B vitamins. However, this is not true. Vitamins contained in energy drinks absolutely cannot replace those found in natural food, besides they are poorly absorbable.
Researchers warn that energy drinks threaten not only health but also life. And you only need one can to get a heart attack – Australian scientists are alarming. This applies to older as well as quite young people. In many American schools, the sale and consumption of energy drinks were forbidden after students saw heart palpitations, nausea and other symptoms typical of a heart attack after ingestion. Some researchers, such as Dr. Kathleen Miller of the University of Buffalo, point out another worrying matter. She discovered a relationship between the consumption of energizers and the increasing level of youth aggression. In her opinion, a culprit is a caffeine, whose content in energy drinks many times exceeds what the body can take, sometimes it’ even 10 times more.
The threat is further increased by the trend among young people, mixing energizers with alcohol. Caffeine makes a person feel less drunk and gives a false feeling that everything is under control, while the person already has uncoordinated movements and distracted. And in such a state, you can commit a lot more nonsense. It is also disturbing that sometimes energy drinks are sold in the so-called tied sales or promotions – e.g., a bottle of alcohol and a can of an energizer. And the explosive mixture is ready.
Even people who have hearts like bells and do not complain about anything, should not drink these drinks too often. Healthy people can only reach for them in emergency situations, e.g., before an important exam or during a difficult journey. Children, adolescents, pregnant women, people suffering from heart disease, nervous system disorders, migraines, hyperthyroidism (this is just some of the contradictions) should beware of this type of beverages.
If you need to brighten your mind at once, it is better even to drink a cup of coffee, and when it does not serve, a glass of orange juice (orange juice has a stimulating effect on the brain and its cognitive functions). In such cases, you can also eat a piece of dark chocolate, sip a hard candy or even take a few deep breaths with the window open. It should be remembered that energy drinks should not be consumed at the same time not only with alcohol but also with other beverages having caffeine, e.g., coca cola.
And one more important thing. Do not mix energy drinks with isotonic drinks. Energy drinks don’t act as isotonic drinks and drinking them after a workout is not a good idea. Only isotonic drinks will provide your body with micronutrients, mainly potassium and magnesium, those that are washed out of the body during exercise along with sweat.
Why shouldn’t you drink drinks that combine alcohol and energy drinks? The results of research carried out by many scientists clearly show that the effects of mixing alcohol with energy drinks can be very dangerous, even more, serious than the effects of drinking alcohol itself – they increase the risk of alcohol overdose and can cause heart problems.
Mixing alcohol with energy drinks is dangerous because the latter has a lot of stimulant caffeine, which in combination with alcohol can cause dangerous health effects, even more, dangerous than alcohol itself. A can of energy drink has an average of 80 mg of caffeine, which is as much as a cup of coffee. Also, energy drinks also have other stimulants, such as ginseng, guarana extract or taurine, which additionally enhance the action of caffeine and prolong its activity.
According to Dr. Cecile Marczinski from the University of Northern Kentucky, this combination makes the drinker more aroused than after the alcohol itself. She made such applications after conducting research on 56 students, with an average age of 24 years. She divided them into four groups: the first to drink alcohol combined with energy drinks, the second alcohol alone, the third only energy drinks, and the fourth drink – placebo.
People who drank a blend of alcohol and energy drink felt less drunk than people who were given alcohol alone. Also, they were more than twice as aroused, and in this type of people the tendency to risky behaviors, for example driving a car, increases significantly.
The reason for this is caffeine, which neutralizes the sedative properties of alcohol, making the drinker feel less drunk than he actually is – explains Dr. Dennis. Thombs from UF College of Public Health and Health Professions.
In turn, Dr. Steven Lipshultz from the University of the Miami Miller School of Medicine adds that combining energy drinks with alcohol can lead to fatal alcohol overdose. How? As Dr. Lipshultz explains, alcohol after some time causes drowsiness and fatigue, resulting in cessation of drinking. People who additionally drink an energy drink do not feel tired, but due to the above-described action of caffeine, becomes agitated. Therefore, they do not stop drinking.
It has been proven that people who mix energy drinks with, for example, vodka, are six times more likely to deal with heart palpitations than those who drink pure alcohol or mix it with, for example, fruit juices. The combination of alcohol and energy drinks is the most dangerous for people who suffer from heart rhythm disorders and are not aware of the disease.
The result of a combination of alcohol and energy drinks can be a strong hangover – stronger than the one after drinking the alcohol itself. Why? Caffeine, like alcoholic beverages, leads to significant dehydration of the body. Therefore, drinking such a mixture in a larger amount leads to very strong dehydration of the body and, in consequence, to a very strong hangover.
Energy drinks are addictive like coffee and additionally promote alcohol addiction. According to scientists from the University of Maryland, people who often reach for the so-called Energizers also drink alcohol too often.