Energy drinks and their effects


by Julia Boyd

Energy drinks are bought and consumed by hundreds of people around the world, especially students, and now have been found to increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The scary part is that many of these people are not aware of the negative effects of the drink. Whether it is being used to stay up for an all-nighter study session or to stay awake in those early morning lectures, the effects are the same.

The dangers of energy drinks have been a widely covered topic in the recent news and the University of Waterloo got in on this hot topic. There was a study performed by UW students and Professor David Hammond where their research resulted in the findind that 55 per cent of people between 12 to 24 years old had symptoms of vomiting, chest pain, and seizures due to the consumption of energy drinks.

According to the article by Koz Week, there was a study done at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth indicated that just one can of energy beverage increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The ingredients in these drinks constrict blood vessels, so the diameter of the blood vessels decreases and leads to an increase in blood clots. The drink also causes the heart to pump harder and raises blood pressure in consumers. These results were found by surveying students before taking 680 grams of energy and then observing them 90 minutes after the intake of the drink.

This issue has also been raised by world-renowned chef Jamie Oliver, who helped to persuade the UK government to ban the sale of energy drinks to children and youth. He exclaimed, “We have a huge problem with children and energy drinks. Many children regularly use energy drinks instead of eating breakfast. Teachers from across the country to tell me how children under the influence of stimulants in these drinks disrupt lessons.” As the previously mentioned studies demonstrate, these highly caffeinated drinks are not safe for people, let alone children and youth. The UK is now on their way to officially banning the sale of energy drinks to youth. Our society is becoming more and more health conscious with every day, so will this ban idea spread to Canada as well?

Energy drinks are often underestimated when people think about the effects of caffeine. The effects of coffee are not identical to the effects of energy drinks and should not be regarded as such. The situation in which each substance is consumed is also a key factor in the effects of the substance. Energy drinks are being consumed during physical activity or with alcohol, which increases the heart rate even more than if you were drinking coffee at a coffee shop. Furthermore, energy drinks are not only dangerous because they increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes, and they are also becoming a prominent role on the party scene where energy drinks are mixed with alcohol. According to a blog called Addiction Campuses, the energy drink counteracts the effects of the alcohol so consumers feel more awake while still drunk. This leads to people consuming more alcohol and has increased bad decision making, such as driving home while intoxicated.

Energy drinks such as RedBull and Monster are definitely very popular and appealing to many people. After reading about the studies that have displayed the negative effects of the beverage, what will you do?

Will you continue to buy and consume energy drinks just to feel that jolt of energy that you crave?


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