What is it about energy drinks that is so appealing, is it the caffeine, B vitamins, are they hydrating or dehydrating? Why are they so popular with our youth and athletes?
(Red Bull, Amp Enerrgy, Rockstar Energy, Monster Energy)
The sugar-free energy drinks are sweetened with aspartame and acesullfate sweeteners. Now there has been lots of debate about the merits and hazards of artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, evidence based data demonstrates headaches as a possible side effect of aspartame, as for weight gain, appetite, the jury is still out.
The key stimulant in energy drinks is caffeine (derived from coffee, tea, chocolate, kola, yerba mate and guarana, added to soda pop and energy drinks), the content in a 250 ml can is usually 80mg equivalent to one cup of coffee, Health Canada caffeine recommendations, maximuim caffeine intakes for children and women of childbearing age are: 45 mg/d 4-6 yrs, 62.5 mg/d 7-9 yrs. 85 mg/d 10-12 yrs, 2.5mg/kg/d for adolescents older than 13 yr and 300mg/d for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. For the average adult, 400mg/d is recommended except where there are health (ie., cardiac or mental health issues) or interactions with medications.
Energy drinks also contain B vitamins, taurine (amino acid) and herbs, all of which are available in a healthy diet.
Possible reactions to energy drinks include: nausea, vomiting &/or upset stomach, fast or irregular heartbeat, electrolyte imbalance- (these are not sports drinks balanced with electrolytes), nervousness, irritability &/or anxiety, insomnia, tremors or restlessness and pacing.
It can be dangerous to mix energy drinks with alcohol, (less aware of intoxicating effects of alcohol) and could lead to risky behaviours, violence and car accidents.
There may be dangerous interactions with medications, particularly for those with mental health issues.
Athletes should not substitute energy drinks for sports drinks as they will not provide the necessary electrolytes for endurance or high intensity activities longer than an hour.
If you really want a carbonated beverage during the summer that will hydrate you and has no sugar or artifical sugars, salt or calories, try the sparkling waters, If anyone has mad a homemade unsweetened energy drink that is ultra-healthy, please contact me.
Please see the enclosed references for more information: