It’s been a discussion that has been simmering under the surface for a little while now. But it has finally blown up, and now the debate about energy drinks has got real. There are many side effects of energy drinks, the same as any drink with a high caffeine or sugar content. With more and more children claiming to consume a couple of cans of energy drinks a day. Which seems a little excessive, even for us caffeine addicts. The government seems to agree. Last week they proposed to ban the sale and consumption of energy drinks for under 16 or 18-year-olds. The age limit hasn’t been decided yet.
Apparently, UK youngsters are the highest consumers of energy drinks in Europe! With many claiming to drink on average 3 cans a day. Some have even said they had 10! We drink a lot of coffee here, but we can’t even manage 10 cups a day. So, we have no idea how kids can down 10 cans of energy drinks a day. As the consumption of energy drinks have gone up so has the reports of the side effects of energy drinks. Excessive consumption of these drinks has been linked to obesity, tooth decay, headaches, stomach aches, sleep issues and hyperactivity. All bad side effects for adults let alone children!
With all of this bad press, we wanted to see how the side effects of energy drinks and their benefits, compares with a good old cup of joe!
Benefits Of Energy Drinks
- As the name suggests, energy drinks give you a good old energy boost, when you really need it.
- It’s fast acting! Energy drinks can near enough give you an instant hit of energy.
- Energy drinks contain some Vitamins and Minerals. Including Vitamin B, which can improve mood, and has been rumoured to fight cancer and heart disease.
- They usually contain B12, which helps to keep your red blood cells and nerves healthy.
- Energy drinks also contain B6, which helps the function of the body’s cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems.
- Suffering from arthritis? Energy drinks contain Niacin which helps relieve arthritis pains.
- Do you have allergies or skin disorders? High energy drinks contain Pantothenic Acid, which has been said to help, with these.
- Energy drinks contain Riboflavin, which can treat muscle cramps… no wonder it’s a popular drink choice of athletes.
Side Effects of Energy Drinks
- Energy Drinks can cause headaches or migraines. Not because of the high caffeine content. But because energy drinks give you really bad withdrawal symptoms and it happens quickly.
- These energy-boosting drinks can become very addictive.
- Too much caffeine causes insomnia. On average energy drinks contain 100mg of Caffeine but some are much higher. For example, a Redbull is rather conservative with around 80mg of caffeine but a Rage Inferno has 375mg of caffeine! There’s no way you are going to have a proper night sleep after a few cans of these a day.
- Energy drinks have been known to increase anxiety and make you jittery.
- As we know caffeine can raise blood pressure and so can energy drinks.
- One of the main ingredients in energy drinks is Niacin. Niacin has many benefits but it also has a few side effects. Which includes dizziness and rapid heart rate.
A side effect of energy drinks that we really wanted to point, is due to the high sugar content. They contain a lot. By a lot, we mean, A LOT! Some can even have as much as 8-10 teaspoons or more of the stuff. Rockstar Punched Energy and Tropical Guava Flavour contains 20 teaspoons in a 500ml can. Given the amount of sugar and the actual caffeine content, it will give you an awesome initial energy burst. But it doesn’t last long! A sudden “crash’ will come about, leaving you tired and lethargic, and craving another ‘hit’. You will then find yourself in an addictive circle of highs and lows. As you can guess the sugar content is connected to a lot of the side effects of energy drinks.
Benefits of Coffee
A cup of black coffee, around about an hour before a workout, can increase your performance by 11-12%.
- Looking to lose a few pounds? Coffee may help you do just that. It contains magnesium and potassium, that helps the body use insulin and regulates blood sugar levels. Which in turn reduces cravings for treats and snacks.
- Moderate caffeine intake can help improve your focus and mental alertness.
- It’s rumoured that coffee lowers the risk of premature death by 25% compared to those who don’t drink coffee at all.
- Studies have shown that coffee may decrease the risk of prostate cancer by 20% and endometrial cancer by 25%
- A reasonable consumption of coffee can reduce the risk of stroke.
- High caffeine levels in your blood can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
- Coffee can make you happier and helps fight depression as the caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and boosts serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. All of which improves your mood.
Side effects of Coffee
- Coffee can be toxic! Coffee that has a lot of impurities, can become toxic, causing sickness, headaches and a feeling of being unwell.
- Coffee can kill you, but only if you drink 80-100 cups or around 23 litres of the stuff, in a very short time period. Don’t worry you’ll never be that tired to need that many cups. As 23 litres is a lot of liquid and you’ll probably be sick before reaching this point.
- Too much coffee will cause insomnia and will make you restless.
- Coffee can cause high cholesterol but only if you have cholesterol issues in the first place. As coffee beans have cafesol and kahweol, which seem to raise LDL cholesterol levels. If you still want your coffee hit, have filtered coffee instead, as the filtering process traps most of the LDL.
- Coffee may increase bedwetting but only in kids!
All in all, it seems to us that a cup of coffee is much better for you than a can of energy drink. And that’s not just because we might be a little bias. The side effects of energy drinks don’t seem worth it, when you can get similar benefits from coffee, without having to drink a can of a high sugar energy drink.