Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More evidence of possible harm from energy drinks!

You may be familiar with energy drinks such as Red Bull, 5 hour energy, or Monster.  These drinks are often carbonated and contain a mix of sugar, caffeine, added vitamins, and various herbal stimulants (such as ginseng).  These drinks have been targeted at young adults, athletes and anyone who needs a "pick me up".  Unfortunately, there have been some tragic side effects of consuming these drinks such as the incident of Four Loko drinks (which contain alcohol in addition to caffeine) leading to deaths in students consuming them. 

Now there is some emerging evidence that consuming energy drinks before the age of 25 can lead to anxiety, depression and addictive behavior later in life.  According to Dr. Conrad Woolsey, the professor who is researching the drinks, the problem isn't just that the drinks are packed with sugar and caffeine, but that they also contain additives and herbal ingredients that may not be safe.  He believes that these additives are what can overstimulate the production of stress neurotransmitters in young consumers and lead to future problems.

I am sad to say that I see young children and young adults drinking these beverages quite frequently.  I have never thought that this was a good idea due to the unnecessary calories from sugar and the added caffeine found in these drinks.  Now it seems that energy drinks may be detrimental to young bodies for other reasons too.  Just one more reason to steer our children away from this stuff!

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