Are Energy Drinks A Good Idea?
Neither Zaira Ahmad nor Sarene Alsharif would recommend
Energy Drinks under any circumstances. “The average Energy
Drink is highly caffeinated, larger than one serving size, high in
sugar, and costly. Energy Drinks tend to be packaged in cans and
may have up to 3 servings in them, depending on the brand. In
reality, since it is a single can, a person will drink the entire three
servings in one sitting,” Zaira Ahmad explains.
No more than 300-400 mg of caffeine is recommended for adults
per day. Yet, a common experience is getting too little sleep and
resorting to caffeine to stay alert the morning after, getting over-
caffeinated in the process, and then having trouble sleeping the
following night. It’s a vicious cycle. Many of us are familiar with
one too many caffeinated beverages leaving us with jitters and
feeling anxious, and in some cases even causing headaches and
elevating heart rates.
Despite these side effects, these over-caffeinated Energy Drinks
are often marketed to teens and young adults. “In general, this
age group may be negligent of their caffeine intake and consume
a combination of (various) caffeinated beverages in a day, includ-
ing coffee, tea, sodas, and Energy Drinks. This can make them
more susceptible to the side effects of too much caffeine. The
culture of overindulgence can be dangerous,” says Zaira Ahmad.
“The added sugars also play a part in the obesity epidemic in the
United States.”
“Consumption of high amounts of caffeine is known to disrupt
heart beats resulting in atrial fibrillations in some cases”, says
Sarene Alsharif.  “Water and a balanced diet typically provide
enough hydration and nutrition to keep people healthy.”
Death by Caffeine?
In 2012, the FDA investigated 13 deaths including one non-fatal
heart attack linked to Energy Drinks. The Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration reports that “emergency
room visits due to Energy Drinks have doubled over the last
four years from 10,000 in 2007 to 20,000 in 2011.” According
to CBSNews, “American Heart Association's 2013 Scientific
Sessions in New Orleans revealed that Energy Drinks may
increase blood pressure and change the heart's rhythm.”
“Children younger than 12 should eliminate caffeine in their diets
and pregnant and breastfeeding women should restrict it to 200
mg or less per day”, says Zaira Ahmad. Those with pre-existing
heart conditions are most at risk of complications associated
with having over-caffeinated drinks. “It may cause increased
blood pressure and irregular or racing heart beats. Anyone with
pre-existing gastrointestinal conditions may further irritate their
digestive systems with high caffeine intake. Individuals with
pre-existing conditions such as these should avoid caffeinated
beverages generally.”
“All in all, there is no immediate risk when caffeine or Energy
Drinks are consumed by a healthy adult in moderation and with
good sense. If a person is aware of their caffeine intake, refined
sugar intake, and past medical history there is really nothing
wrong with having one energy drink, once in a while. If they uti-
lized their good sense, however, they may find that the problem
isn't really a lack of energy that a drink can fix, but rather a need
to readjust their lifestyle to feel more energized in natural and
safer ways.”
About the writer:
Naazish YarKhan is a content strate-
gist and publicist. Her work has been featured by NPR, Huffington
Post, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Public Radio, Common Ground
News Service, Saudi Aramco Magazine and in over 50 outlets
internationally.
Consumption of high amounts of caffeine
is known to disrupt heart beats resulting in
atrial fibrillations in some cases”, says Sarene
Alsharif.  “Water and a balanced diet typically
provide enough hydration and nutrition to keep
people healthy.
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Summer 2013
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