It seems like everywhere you look you can see energy drinks or ads for them – the market has exploded, even just in the last ten years – and today more than 500 different energy drinks are on the market. But did you know those drinks just might kill you?
A new study shows that drinking 32 ounces daily can cause terrible damage to your cardiovascular system – including causing death.
However, because most of these products are advertised as “supplements” rather than as “beverages,” they aren’t monitored the same way, nor are nutrition labeling requirements the same.
The FDA notes that up to 400 milligrams – the equivalent of 5 cups of coffee – of caffeine is generally regarded as safe for a daily dosage. Most of these energy drinks, however, contain far more than elevated levels of caffeine, courtesy their “proprietary energy blends” – and those extra additives frequently come with nasty side effects.
Those side effects include changing blood pressure and other strains on your heart.
In one study, using an energy drink similar to Red Bull or Monster, participants showed dramatic changes on their EKG tests when drinking the energy drink as opposed to those participants simply drinking the same amount of caffeine.
As reported by NBC News, “An ECG change known as QTc prolongation and sometimes associated with life-threatening irregularities in the heartbeat was seen after drinking the energy drink, but not after drinking the caffeine beverage, the study team reports.“
The study authors note that several energy drinks have been pulled from the market after testing similarly, and that some energy drinks have been linked to fatalities.
Dr. Jennifer L. Harris from University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, located in Storrs, notes there are significant concerns about the beverages, especially the way they are marketed to young boys. She says that ER visits among adolescents and young people in relation to energy drink consumption are on the rise. More than half of the cases of people who got sick from energy drinks between 2010 and 2013 were children.
Harris also noted, “Some of these ingredients (including taurine and guarana) have not been FDA-approved as safe in the food supply, and few studies have tested the effects of caffeine consumption together with these ‘novelty’ ingredients.”