An energy drink is a drink that contains some sort of physical or mental stimulant. Usually the stimulant is caffeine in some form but there are a number of other ingredients that energy drink companies can add:
Caffeine and sugar are the two heavy lifters in energy drinks and the effects of energy drinks are based mainly on those two ingredients.
Sugar is a fundamental fuel for the body and brain. Usually energy drinks contain some form of fructose or glucose or a mix of both.
Caffeine works to give you energy by effecting adenosine and dopamine uptake and by making your body produce adrenaline:
To a student energy drinks may appear to be the best thing since toast however, is it really healthy to be relying on caffeine and sugar for your energy? What side effects can consuming too much of these drinks have in both the long and short term?
Red Bull the king of energy drinks has been banned in France, Norway and Denmark. But this an extreme reaction and in the UK they investigated energy drinks and issued a warning for the use by children (under 14) and pregnant women. Though energy drinks consumed in large quantities can have serious side effects, one or two cans won’t do you much harm. Different people will react to different amounts of caffeine in different ways and some will notice the below side effects after just one can. In general though, it takes 300 – 400mg of caffeine or 3 -4 cans of the average energy drink to see these effects.
Due to the potential side effects you should not drink energy drinks if you have heart problems or before exercising. This could lead to serious heart conditions or severe dehydration.
Energy drinks also contain a lot of sugar. Large quantities of sugar lead to an energy spike and then a crash. Too much sugar can also contribute to conditions like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. If you are diabetic you should be aware of the amount of sugar present in energy drinks.
Energy drinks and alcohol have opposite effects on your body. While energy drinks stimulate your system, alcohol depresses it. This can have dangerous consequences. Though Jagerbombs and vodka Red Bulls are popular ways to start the night, mixing alcohol and energy drinks should be done carefully and in moderation: