Is Your Energy Drink Poisoning You?
When you’re constantly on the road, finding ways to boost your energy is critical. Of course, there are the always-advised methods of getting more sleep and eating healthy, but it’s hard to eat according to the food pyramid when you’re constantly traveling. And sleep? Well, you do it out of necessity. So given the inconveniences of both these healthy habits, you may think that energy drinks are your magic elixir.
But energy drinks can actually be poisonous to your body. Not in the immediate, faint-as-soon-as-you-drink-it sense, but in a more subtle, dangerous manner. Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of energy drinks.
1.) They Have a Ton of Caffeine
The 5-ounce Monster M-3 Super Concentrate contains 206 milligrams of caffeine. So does 5-Hour Energy, but this amount is contained in only 2 oz of the energy drink. A regular cup of coffee? 95 mg of caffeine. While you can drink up to 300 mg of caffeine a day, these drinks are dangerous because they lead people to take in an amount of caffeine that’s close to the daily limit, and since the drinks come in such small amounts, you’re likely to drink more than one can.
These high caffeine levels can cause headaches, so while they may give you a boost in energy, that boost may be countered with a throbbing headache.
2.) They Contain Excessive Vitamins
High amounts of B vitamins can harm you, and these are exactly what some energy drinks contain. 5-Hour Energy, for example, has about 30 mg of niacin, when the daily recommended intake is half that. Drink more than one 5-Hour Energy, and you could suffer an uncomfortable flushing in your skin. Drink two ore more 5-Hour Energy drinks, and you’ll also be consuming more folic acid and B6 vitamins than is healthy. In excess, both of these things can lead to a toxic reaction.
3.) They May Land You in the Hospital
Energy drinks have led to an alarming number of hospital visits. Some 10,000 energy-drink-related visits were reported in 2007. Four years later, that number more than doubled to above 20,000. So unless your schedule is such that you can afford to make a hospital visit, you may want to rethink buying that Red Bull.
4.) Some Have DMAA
DMAA is short for dimethylamylamine. The stimulant can cause cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and shortness of breath. And when it’s mixed with caffeine, the risks of these health problems increase even more. The FDA is currently working to ban it from all food products, but in the meantime, if you absolutely must have an energy drink, be sure to inspect the label carefully. If it lists DMAA, find a different option.
5.) They Lead to High Blood Pressure
Besides headaches and heart issues, energy drinks can also cause high blood pressure. One recent study by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found that drinking 500 mL of a caffeine energy drink a day caused the drinkers’ heartbeats to increase and also led to “a 10-point jump in systolic blood pressure.”
So while neither getting enough sleep nor eating healthy on the road are the most convenient energy boosters, they’re a much better option than energy drinks. Take whatever opportunities for rest that you can, whether that means making yourself go to bed earlier than you want or catching a few minutes of shut-eye during your car service commutes. Also take the time to research what healthy eating options are available. The time and self-discipline these two things take are more than made up for in the energy they’ll give you. And best of all, neither comes with the risks of high caffeine levels or excessive vitamin levels.