To Your Health: Energy Drinks
Fall break has arrived at Southeast Missouri State University. Students may have just taken their finals for 8-week classes or completed mid-terms for full semester courses. Some may have pulled all-nighters with the aid of energy drinks. But is this a harmless part of college life?
Consuming energy drinks does come with some risks. In 2017, a South Carolina student died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event after chugging an energy drink that had been preceded by a Mountain Dew and coffee.
Harvard School of Public Health reports that many energy drinks pack about 200 mg of caffeine, the amount in two cups of brewed coffee. In addition to caffeine, a typical energy drink may contain carbonated water, as much or more sugar than soda, and herbs or substances that are associated with mental alertness and performance.
The CDC warns that energy drinks can cause dehydration, heart complications, anxiety, and insomnia. In addition, long-term consumption can lead to weight gain and dental decay. While the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Sports Medicine say youth should forgo these products entirely, a report found that more than 40 percent of American teens surveyed had consumed an energy drink within the past three months.
An article in The Atlantic pointed out that the popularity of energy drinks is due to a variety of factors, including excellent marketing and the lack of warnings. Drugs with caffeine require warning labels, but dietary supplements don’t. So No-Doz, a caffeine tablet, requires labeling about its dangers but an energy drink does not.