Energy drinks have become very popular amongst today’s youth. America’s youth has easy access to these dangerous drinks and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at this time does not regulate the amount of caffeine that is allowed into these beverages (Cool, 2011). These drinks contain high levels of caffeine and other herbs that have ill effects on ones heart, along with high sodium and sugar levels that can adversely affect ones overall health.
The FDA on should regulate the allowable caffeine content in these drinks and energy drinks should be prohibited for children under the age of 18 years. The dangerous ingredients, ill side effects, and the deadly amounts of caffeine found in these drinks will be discussed in this paper. It is important that Americans become educated about the deadly drinks that are being marketed as safe, and pushed on our youth (Clair, 2013). There are similar ingredients found in all of the energy drinks on the market today.
Some of these are Caffeine, Guarana, Taurine, Sugar, Genseng, and Bitter orange (Rath, 2012). Caffeine has adverse effects on the body such as nausea, heart palpitations, headaches, sleeplessness, hypokalemia, rabdomylosis and atrial and ventricular tachycardia that can both be deadly (Rath, 2012). Guarana, while not as harmful, still has many adverse effects of its own, some of which are: nervousness, tachycardia, anxiety, chest pain and cardiac dysrhthmias (Moodie, 2009). No evidence at this point has shown Taurine to have any adverse effects on one’s health.
The high sugar content promotes obesity, diabetes and cavities. Ginseng has effects such as hypertension, tachycardia, heart palpitations, insomnia, vaginal bleeding and breast tenderness (Rath, 2012). Bitter orange has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, seizures, disrythmias, and migraine headaches. Almost every ingredient found in these drinks can have deadly side effects. Of the above mentioned ingredients, five of the six have similar effects on the body. All of these combined into one drink makes a deadly combination especially when used in excess.
There are other side effects that can be caused from energy drinks aside from the deadly cardiac effects that these drinks cause. Because caffeine is a stimulant and the other ingredients with the same effects on the body, these drinks cause high blood pressure, elevated heart rates, liver damage, and even death, just to name a few (Cool, 2011). There has also been a link to women experiencing late miscarriages as well as stillbirth and drinking energy drinks (Claire, 2013). Drinking energy drinks can also give a person a false sense of sobriety when mixed with alcohol.
This could lead to a person driving more intoxicated than they feel that they are, thus; increasing risk for alcohol related crashes (Moodie, 2009). Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in many products that we consume daily. In small amounts it can be safe and works as an energy booster in some cases. “Caffeine found in energy drinks can range from 80 to 300mg in an 8 ounce serving” (Rath, 2012, p. 72). The main problem with this is that most energy drinks are sold in cans sizes that range from 16 to 24 ounces.
This doubles or triples the amount of caffeine a person is consuming. The FDA limits the amounts of caffeine that soda companies are allowed to put into soda beverages to 71mg per 12 ounces (Cool, 2011). The same is not true for energy drinks, there is no limit placed on the amount of caffeine that companies such as Red Bull or Monster can place in their energy drinks. Teenagers and
Adults must wake up and realize that there is a poison in soda machines and grocery stores across America, and our children have easy access to it. Caffeine is an addictive drug that has been made readily available to our children in alarming amounts. The FDA must regulate the amount of caffeine and other dangerous ingredients allowed or ban the selling of these drinks to minors, in order to prevent ill health effects to our children. The public needs to be educated on the deadly side effects that these drinks cause and demand action by the FDA.