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Love & Hate: The Energy Drink

In a new study published April 2017 in Journal of the American Heart Association, it was found that energy drink consumption resulted in abnormal cardiovascular activity and blood pressure changes.

Participants were asked to drink either an energy drink or a control drink (containing caffeine). Measurements such as electrical activity of the heart and blood pressure were measured 1, 2, 4, 6 and 24 hours after consumption. Those in the energy drink group were found to have elevated electrical heart activity at the 2-hour mark. At the 6-hour mark, those who consumed energy drink still had a mildly elevated blood pressure level.

Indeed, due to energy drink consumption level continuing to grow on a global scale, scientists are beginning to have concerns that excess consumption may lead to many detrimental consequences, especially on our heart, kidney and even dental health. They feel that there may be a need to curb this issue, with regulation on sales and marketing towards children and adolescents.

Generally, an energy drink contains stimulant drugs, which may include caffeine. It may or may not be carbonated. There may also be other sugar or associated sweeteners, besides vitamins and minerals. Lastly, non-nutritive stimulants such as guarana taurine and ginseng may be added.

Picture: WikiHow.Com

Some brands may have up to 100 mg caffeine, with a moderate daily intake for adults pegged at 400 mg. The risks from energy drinks mainly come from the high sugar and caffeine levels.

Historically, energy drinks were meant as an energy booster. In Britain, it was originally introduced in 1929 as a recovery drink for hospital patients.

Nowadays, energy drinks are marketed with the promise of increased attention, reaction speed, muscle strength and endurance. They are most popular with athletes and students who need that extra boost. However, due to the easy reach in many retail outlets, other demographics, including children, have convenient access to it, even though they do not need it.

So what happens when you drink an energy booster?

Abigail Morakinyo, founder of Health in Check, has this to say: “The full effects… can be felt within 15 to 45 minutes, resulting in short-term increased concentration and alertness… Within an hour, all the caffeine is fully absorbed and this also results in the liver absorbing sugar into the bloodstream. Once the effects… wear off… you’re more than likely to experience a significant drop in blood sugar levels… feeling tired and low in energy.”

Consuming large quantities potentially brings about palpitations, increased blood pressure, and even nausea and vomitting from the excessive caffeine level. It may also contribute to weight gain. Withdrawal symptoms such as headaches or anxiety may result if you become addicted and decide to stop.

As an alternative to energy drinks, you may consider green juices and smoothies as they are packed with B vitamins to boost our metabolism rate. Otherwise, the good old protein shake can help. Eventually though at the end of the day, moderation is the key here, whether you are an athlete, student or just the man on the street.

© LOOMI Group 2018

 This article is first published on loomigroup.com

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