Most of the risks associated with energy drinks are linked to the high caffeine content.
A caffeine overdose can cause heart palpitations, high blood pressure, nausea, convulsions and even death in severe cases. Caffeine in high amounts can also reduce insulin sensitivity over time, putting the drinker at risk of type 2 diabetes.
There are also slightly less serious, yet still unpleasant risks, such as insomnia, restlessness, irritability, nervousness or stomach upset.
Furthermore, the drinks may create a risk of late miscarriages, low birth weight and stillbirth. As a result, most energy drinks available today state that the product should not be consumed by pregnant women.
The high sugar content of the drinks could result in poor dental health and obesity, while the stimulation could cause hyperactivity, especially in children and adolescents, in addition to effects on their neurological and cardiovascular systems.
In conclusion, it’s clear that there are a number of proven risks associated with both energy drinks and high caffeine consumption, however there have been very few studies relating to the long term effects of energy drink consumption. Further research is needed to decipher the potential outcomes of using the beverages as stimulants over a prolonged period of time.
How much caffeine is appropriate? Are energy drinks safe to drink at all?
If you are concerned about the dangers of energy drinks, try cutting back your intake. There has been no evidence to suggest that energy drinks in moderation are a threat, just like it is completely fine for most individuals to drink coffee each morning.
The Mayo Clinic recommends up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine each day as a general safe amount for most adults to consume. This is the approximate equivalent of four cups of coffee, ten cans of soda or two energy drinks.
For adolescents, however, the limit should be limited to 100 mg per day, while caffeine use in children is not recommended at all.
Providing you stick within the recommended caffeine limits and enjoy the drinks as part of a healthy, balanced diet, there should be no risk attached. Remember to monitor your sugar and calorie intake, too, as energy drinks have been linked to a risk of obesity when frequently used.