Energy Drinks: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By Robyn Turner

Energy drinks, they seem like a quick and , easy solution to pulling an all-nighter, but depending on the amount and how it is consumed, theyit can negatively impact your health depending on the amount consumed as well as how it is consumed.

The Ugly
The ugliest thing you could do with an energy drink is combine it with alcohol. Energy drinks mixed with alcohol are not permitted to be sold in Canada, and for a good reason. Energy drinks even sport the mandatory statement, “do not mix with alcohol,” because of Health Canada recommendations. This is due to the high level of caffeine that is found in energy drinks. It is also because caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant and they are not to be mixed! Research is currently determining the consequences of mixing caffeine and alcohol. One study found that those who combined the two beverages drank more alcohol then they would normally. That might sound great, but the negative after effects are the same or even worse, and often result in the involvement of health professionals and hospitals.

The Bad
Now the bad part about energy these drinks. Health Canada issues warnings to everybody when consuming caffeine. There have been because there have been reports of irregular heartbeat and nervousness as a result from drinking one of these highly caffinated beverages. The recommended intake of caffeine is a maximum ofup to 400 mg/day, which is the equivalent ofto three 8oz (237mL) cups of coffee, that which is three tall coffees from Starbucks or three coffees from the dining hall. In just one energy In these energy drinks, you can consume the maximum recommended level of caffeinejust as high of a dosage all in one go, which is where the concern arises. There are other negative consequences to drinking caffeine. For example, it such as it impairs calcium absorption. Calcium is an important mineral for the body that helps our bone health, prevents certain diseases, and keeps our overall body functioning (if you are in Science or LFS you will learn about calcium and its vital importance in upper year courses).

The Good
The good part about caffeine is that it can increase alertness or the ability to concentrate, but that depends on your tolerance level. Some individuals can consume minimal caffeine and get headaches, insomnia, irritableness or nervousness.

Ultimately, if you are a regular consumer of caffeine, be mindful of the risks. Consider taking a caffeine supplement if you drink it excessively. Also, be aware that the caffeine in energy drinks comes from herbs, like guarana and yerba mate. This will show in the ingredients list, but the caffeine content will not be listed. This is a potential issue and that is the problem as you do not know how much you are consuming. Because of this, so it may out- weigh any potential benefits may be outweighed. Be careful when choosing what to drink. The tTake home message is to drink caffeine in moderation and to not mix it with alcohol.

Robyn Turner
East Tower Advisor, 15-17

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