Popular energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster stock the shelves of local supermarkets, gas stations and liquor stores. It’s a 7 Billion dollar industry targeted generally towards children, and merchants can sell these drinks to children because there is no age restriction. What’s alarming is the amount of sugar and caffeine contained within each bottle. Upon consumption, serious health consequences could occur, and some could be potentially life-threatening. Surprised? Shocked?
First, let’s look at the main ingredient: caffeine. Consider this for a moment. A Dr. Pepper has 41 mg of caffeine, while a Rockstar is four times that amount — it has 160 mg. Caffeine is a fantastic way to stay alert and focused, but too much can lead to health concerns. These may include an increased heart rate and high blood pressure while the body dehydrates. If someone consumes a second Rockstar, or goes above 200 mg caffeine, headaches and nausea are common side effects. Sleepiness and heart palpitations are even lightly to occur if this dangerous drink is not monitored.
A firm reason why these drinks should be monitored by the FDA is because individuals mix them with alcohol. According to a study on alcoholic energy drinks, conducted by Cecile Marczinski at Northern Kentucky University, mixing alcohol and liquor defeats your body from understanding the warning signs of too much caffeine. The patients Marczinski studied reported being less sleepy after drinking alcoholic energy drinks. However, this holds a potential danger because those who drink may go over their limit. They may also think they are alert enough to drive home and this is not always the case.
The other dangerous ingredient in energy drinks is the sugar. There is 63 grams of sugar in one Rockstar energy drink, which is equal to two Snickers. Sugar acts as carbohydrates to the body, which are a quick fix to low energy. It can also turn on the individual, however, and can send them crashing down. Furthermore, when these dangerous ingredients are mixed with alcohol, it doesn’t take long to become a deadly combination. Some energy drinks have been known to lead to strokes, heart palpitations or death, according to a study from the University of Miami.
What’s outrageous is that the FDA considers these energy drinks health supplements, and the labels are misleading. In fact, according to The New York Times, warning labels should be placed on the cans to warn children and teenagers of the sugar and caffeine. Furthermore, the article goes on to suggest that health risks should be included on the can to warn consumers of what may happen.
Consider the fact that one energy drink is equal to 14 cups of regular brewed coffee. Now, who would consume that much coffee in one 24-period? This much caffeine has the ability to make the individual seem intoxicated. In fact, the intoxicated feeling may be associated with symptoms of of nervousness, anxiety, headaches and irregular sleep patterns.
Finally, in 2011, a quarter of energy drink poisonings involved children under 6 years old, according to MSNBC. If the labels were regulated by the FDA and controlled, this would be less frequent. However, the FDA has to determine what the responsible age is for consumption. Overall, there’s a shocking 2 million poisonings by energy drinks each year. Most, if not all, include symptoms which include chest pains, seizures and hallucinations and irritability. The most fatal consequence is death, which is possible. Beware of this lethal beverage — it may cost your life.