Are energy drinks bad for you?


Energy drinks are hugely popular because of the extra kick they give, whether it's going for a workout or getting that energy boost we need to get us through the day.  But there's a lot of unclarity around whether these drinks are good or bad for us.

According to an article by Livestrong, energy drinks are rich in carbs, caffeine, and simple sugars that contribute to a higher level of endurance. They also replenish energy stores that lead to better performance and recovery, especially when engaging in prolonged, strenuous activities.

The article, which cited data from National Federation of State High School Associations' Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians of Canada, said that simple sugars serve to counteract the possible gastrointestinal stress that may come from the rich carbohydrates content of the energy drinks.

Let's not forget that energy drinks are also useful in replacing electrolytes that are lost in the heat of sports activities. This is essential, especially among athletes as this may cause dehydration if not managed properly.

While these ingredients serve their purpose in boosting energy, there are also drawbacks caused by these very same contents.

According to a report by the Active Times, the benefits offered by these beverages are only fleeting. While the combination of sugar and caffeine in energy drinks may cause an increase in blood sugar that provides an initial burst of energy, it is followed by a sudden drop in blood sugars that cause the drinker to feel tired and lethargic soon after.

A published study by Mayo researchers also found that drinking 16 ounces of energy drink daily causes blood pressure to shoot up and stress hormone levels to spike. The long term effect of this could be a greater risk of heart disease.

This is supported by a 2016 study that found an adverse reaction between drinking at least two bottles of energy drinks a day and heart palpitations. 

Aside from heart diseases, the excessive consumption of energy drinks has been linked to liver problems.

"As energy drinks have become increasingly popular over the years, their ingredients are being looked at more closely, many which do not have a well-established safety profile. Some of these products have even been banned in other countries. While drinking modest amounts of energy drinks may be relatively safe, frequent consumption over an extended period of time has been linked with liver injury," said Dr. Brian Huang in the study.