Are Energy Drinks Bad for Your Health?

Consumption of energy drinks has exploded in recent years. However they can be bad for your health, especially mixed with alcohol.
Are Energy Drinks Bad for Your Health?

Last update: 13 December, 2020

One of the nutritional problems of young people today has to do with drinking energy drinks. This type of beverage can be dangerous because of its composition and its nutritional value. In fact, it exceeds the recommended limits. It’s clear that energy drinks are bad for your health, and we’ll show you why.

Sales for this type of product have exploded in recent years. On one hand, there’s powerful marketing behind it. On the other, it’s popular to drink with alcohol. It’s worrying to see how young people put their health at risk by regularly consuming these beverages.

Energy drinks contain excessive amounts of caffeine

Caffeine is an alkaloid that increases cognitive performance for a certain time. In moderate doses, it’s considered safe for your health. In fact, it can even be beneficial, since it can reduce the risk of developing certain neurodegenerative pathologies.

However, this substance can cause an overdose. In amounts of greater than 400 milligrams per day, harmful effects begin to happen in the body. Some of them are related to the functioning of the cardiovascular system. It’s common for too much caffeine to cause a tachycardia, or even greater problems.

Additionally, it’s even more worrying when you combine an alkaloid with alcohol, since they are two elements that have opposite effects. According to a study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology, mixing energy drinks with alcoholic drinks can distort the symptoms of alcohol intoxication, which can cause people to drink more. Also, the chances of suffering from acute heart problems increase.

A group of energy drinks.

You can build up a tolerance

We’ve talked about the problems of consuming too much caffeine, which would be greater than 40 milligrams a day or 250 milligrams in a single dose. However, you can build up a tolerance with this alkaloid. Some authors also classify it as moderately addictive, since once you stop using it, you can feel dizzy, get headaches and feel fatigued.

What’s clear is that getting used to consuming energy drinks increases the amount of caffeine needed to feel a normal effect. This can confuse the individual, who needs to take more of the substance to feel the same effects, with the risks that it entails. Fortunately, tolerance reverses after a week without consuming caffeine, but it’s something to be aware of.

The sugar dose in energy drinks is too high

In addition to the high amounts of caffeine in energy drinks, we must add the presence of large amounts of simple sugars. Regularly consuming these types of nutrients has been shown to be linked to being overweight. In addition, it also increases the risk of diabetes in the short term, along with other metabolic-type pathologies.

This detrimental effect of sugar becomes even greater when you drink it. Food usually contains some fiber or protein, which delays gastric emptying and the entry of glucose in the bloodstream.

However, with drinks, the opposite happens: blood sugar rises suddenly, which puts more stress on the pancreas.

An alcoholic beverage with an energy drink.

Energy drinks, harmful to health

Because of everything we mentioned, energy drinks are harmful for your health. They contain high amounts of caffeine and sugar, two harmful substances when consumed uncontrollably and in excess.

In addition, lots of people mix them with alcohol to reduce the effects of alcohol poisoning. However, this mixture represents a special danger, even more so for teenagers. Their cognitive and nervous systems are still forming and developing.

In short, it’s best to drastically limit the amount of energy drinks you consume. They may seem safe, but only for specific and special situations. Using them habitually and recreationally isn’t good to stay healthy. Caffeine should only be ingested in controlled doses, and preferably through coffee or tea.

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  • Verster JC., Benson S., Johnson SJ., Alfrod C., et al., Alcohol mixed with energy drink (AMED): a critical review and meta analysis. Hum Psychopharmacol, 2018.
  • Yoshida Y., Simoes EJ., Sugar sweetened beverage, obesity, and type 2 diabetes in children and adolescetns: policies, taxation, and programs. Curr Diab Rep, 2018.