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How dangerous are energy drinks?

How dangerous are energy drinks? Source: Flickr

Less than four years ago, a study by the World's Health Organization (WHO) revealed that energy drinks could cause health problems. The researchers described a series of health risks, most of them associated with the high content of caffeine.  

These drinks have absolutely no medical value. They offer an energy boost by loading the beverage with high doses of caffeine. They contain other substances such as taurine, sugar, vitamins, herbal supplements, and guarana, which is a plant extract with a high amount of caffeine. 

In order to understand how dangerous energy drinks are, according to the research, one must focus on caffeine.  In simple terms, caffeine can be lethal, especially if taken frequently in the dosage offered by energy drinks.  However, it must be noted that there are no documented cases where a person exposed to a regular dose of energy drinks has been found dead.  So, there is no evidence of the long-term effect of the regular consumption of energy drinks. 

The following then are risks that drinking energy drinks entail:

  • type-2 diabetes as a large amount of caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity
  • High-blood pressure, palpitations, arrhythmia, convulsions, nausea and vomiting are usually symptoms of caffeine overdose. 
  • neurological and cardiovascular effects, especially on children and teenagers. 
  • poor dental health
  • dependence on other harmful substances
  • sensation-seeking behavior
  • obesity 

There are other risks associated with energy drinks.  Combining in with alcohol makes it especially harmful to the body.  Since the caffeine in the energy drink reduces drowsiness without diminishing the effects of alcohol, experts have called it a state of "wide-awake drunkenness".  This means that these people will more easily engage in dangerous behavior. 

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