,Spark Energy Drink
Energy drinks are becoming more and more popular especially with young adults. There is health risks associated with drinking energy drinks, especially if excessive amounts are consumed or mixed with alcohol.
The highly competitive market says their drinking products are ways of providing:
o Heightened mental alertness
o Increased athletic performance
o And many other grandiose pledges
All these claims have made people, especially the younger generation; flood the food stores for these trendy "high powered" elixirs.
Some manufacturers keep adding higher concentrations of caffeine to unsafe levels and even calling their drinks drug related names. Pumped up names manufacturers use are "Monster" or "Spark," to lure people in to drinking their brands. Consumers need to be aware that it is all a marketing strategy based around controversy instead of focusing on what the product is. There is a drink called "Cocaine." These are ways manufacturers entice consumers to buy a very expensive can of high-test caffeine.
What is actually in these energy drinks?
o Caffeine is the most active ingredient in all of these beverages
o Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine
o A single serving of Cocaine Energy Drink contains 280 mg of caffeine
o The amount of caffeine is also exclusive of the herb Guarana, which adds an additional 40 mg of caffeine, which brings a grand total of 320 mg of caffeine in one 8.4 ounce serving of the Cocaine brand
Many of the leading brands, but not all contain:
o High fructose corn syrup - Sugar
o Taurine - an amino acid that might be a mild inhibitory neurotransmitter used to level out the other stimulants
o Guarana - used to increase alertness and energy and contains caffeine
o Vitamins - to help in converting the sugar into energy
o Glucuronolactone - added to fight fatigue and provide a sense of well-being, however, no substantial studies have been done to determine long-term effects on the body
The average daily consumption of caffeine among adults is about 200 mg/day based upon statistics from 2001. That amount has undoubtedly increased significantly in the year 2008 at the time of this article writing. There are a lot of people consuming drinks with caffeine, so what is the worry about the caffeine in these energy drinks?
It seems that the ingredients are added in high doses. For example:
o Taurine is an amino acid found in most meat and dairy products. Dosages consumed from food sources can be around 35 mg. Red Bull contains 1,000 mg, although it is not listed on the can. No studies have been done to determine what kind of effect high levels of Taurine can have on the body, especially when mixed with additional substances such as caffeine. Researches suggest staying on the side of caution and not consuming such a high level of Taurine.
o Research suggest the high dosage levels of the ingredients other than caffeine and sugar may not be significant enough to have any kind of effect other than a placebo effect, however, concerns still linger with what may happen with long term use.
In addition, for those who ingest energy drinks loaded with caffeine without reducing their regular caffeine intake from other sources have a higher risk for developing what is called "caffeinism." This is caused by toxic levels of caffeine and the symptoms are:
o Irregular heartbeat
o Irregular respiration
o Frequent urination
There are other side effects that may include:
o Weakening of bones
o Pregnant women have a higher risk of miscarriage
Researchers suggest caffeinism occurs more often with people who consumer energy drinks because of the time and volume that the caffeine is ingested. Most people who drink hot coffee, do so slowly and over the course of several minutes (10 - 30), while energy drinks are usually drank much faster as well as consumption of more than those drinking regular hot coffee or other brews containing caffeine.
The real danger:
o Mixing energy drinks with alcohol
Since caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, mixing the two can be very dangerous. Reasons why are:
o The stimulant effects from the energy drink can mask how intoxicated you are becoming and prevent you from realizing how much alcohol you have consumed. Your blood alcohol concentrate can exceed legal and health-related levels, which makes for a very dangerous situation.
o If the stimulant keeps you from knowing how impaired you are from the alcohol depressant, you won't know just how impaired you are until the stimulant wears off, which can cause severe vomiting and is extremely dangerous if you are sleeping causing choking to death on your own vomit.
o Both alcohol and caffeine are very dehydrating to the body. Dehydration can hinder your body's ability to metabolize alcohol in your system, which will increase the toxicity and have a much greater hangover the next day, which is actually the least of your problems if you experiment with mixing energy drinks with alcohol.