If you walk down the drink aisle in any convenience store across the nation, you’ll be faced with dozens of choices when it comes to energy drinks. From cans to bottles, from 32 ounce behemoths to drinks the size of a single swallow, the choices are plentiful. If you’ve found yourself relying on these drinks to provide you with the energy that you need to get through the day, there are some things that you may want to be aware of before you buy your next can.
1.Food versus Supplement
According to the Food and Drug Administration, energy drinks are to be promoted as foods rather than dietary supplements. Three manufacturers are currently being investigated by the New York attorney general’s office for misrepresenting their product. PepsiCo, Monster Beverage and Living Essentials have been marketing their energy drinks as dietary supplements in a violation of federal law. Beverages manufactured by these companies include Monster and 5-hour Energy.
As part of the investigation, these companies are also being looked at for properly listing the ingredients contained in their beverages. There is concern that all of the ingredients in these drinks have not been included in current labels. There is also concern that additives like guarana and black tea extract are adding caffeine that is not disclosed on the nutritional label on the side of the can.
3.A Matter of Semantics
Epidemiologist Amelia M. Arria, director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, warns that energy comes from calories, not from caffeine. Rather than using the term “energy drink” to describe their products, Arria explains that the word “stimulant” would be more accurate. It’s easy to see why Arria would prefer that these drinks be called stimulants when you understand exactly how much caffeine they contain. The amount of caffeine in these drinks is as high as 500 milligrams, or about five times that of a five-ounce cup of coffee.
4.Dangers of Energy Drinks
While it’s not healthy for a person to consume high amounts of caffeine, the drinks are even more dangerous when combined with alcohol. Because caffeine acts as a stimulant to keep you awake, you are able to drink more alcohol, often not realizing how intoxicated you really are. Even without alcohol, high amounts of caffeine can lead to cardiovascular complications, especially in teenagers and young adults.
5.Natural Energy Boosters
Instead of turning to drinks to boost your energy, look for more natural ways to wake yourself up and keep you energized throughout the day. Eat foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, get plenty of natural sunshine and sleep for at least seven hours each night. Additionally, people who exercise regularly often find that they have more energy during the day. Simple changes in your diet and fitness plans can help you maintain your energy without the dangerous side-effects of energy drinks.
The investigation into energy drink manufacturers is on-going. Even if these companies are able to clear their names, it is generally accepted that too much caffeine can be harmful to most people. If you are using these drinks to give you a boost during the day, consider the possible effects to your health. With so many natural ways to raise your level of energy, it doesn’t make sense to risk your health for a quick fix.