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1 year ago
5 health hazards of caffeinated energy drinks

Recently, a UK man, Nick Mitchell almost died after he consumed 25 cans of caffeinated energy drinks. The 56-year-old West Yorkshire resident did so in just a matter of six hours, after which he experienced a near-fatal brain haemorrhage after that; this goes to highlight how dangerous these beverages can be although their hazards are generally underplayed by the companies that market them. While they may argue that having that many drinks in a short time is a ticket to the emergency room, we can’t ignore how dangerous these beverages can be.

These energy drinks typically contain anywhere between 50 mg to 505 mg of caffeine. Ever since they were introduced in 1949, the drinks have become very popular and have been consumed quite widely for their energy-boosting properties. They contain a cocktail of stimulants like caffeine and high amounts of glucose. Other commonly used ingredients are taurine, methylxanthines, vitamin B, ginseng, yerba mate, acai, creatine and ginkgo biloba. While an occasional indulgence won’t hurt anybody, frequent consumption of these drinks may prove to be hazardous. Here are some of the undesirable health risks of caffeinated energy drinks.

1. It is bad for cardiovascular health
Several studies have highlighted how these energy drinks can increase heart rate and arterial pressure after consumption. The caffeine content in these beverages, which help in enhancing physical performances, is to be blamed. Other heart problems like ventricular arrhythmias, arterial fibrillation, myocardial infarction etc. have been reported in young and healthy subjects of studies. Energy drinks are also known to reduce endothelial functions and stimulates platelet aggregation, which can cause strokes. Overconsumption of these drinks can cause arterial dilation, aneurysm and rupture of large arteries. Did you know these side effects of caffeine?

2. It can cause neurological and psychological problems
Caffeine is the primary ingredient in these drinks, which gives them an “energy boosting” effect. Drinks which contain more than 200 mg of caffeine can cause caffeine intoxication, manifesting as anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, muscle twitching, restlessness and periods of extreme energy levels. It was found that caffeine stimulates the nerves of the brain to cause headaches. A study has also tied energy drink consumption to violence and conduct disorders in adolescents. It is also known to cause epileptic seizures and hallucinations.

3. It can cause weight gain and diabetes risk
These energy drinks also contain large amounts of sugar, ranging from 21 gm to 34 gm per ounce. The sweeteners such as sucrose, glucose or high fructose corn syrup come with their own bunch of health problems. These sweeteners increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The high sugar content also reduces the activity of the good intestinal bacteria, increasing the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome. High caffeine content also decreases insulin sensitivity, which explains the rise in blood glucose levels after drinking these beverages. A woman was once admitted to the hospital after she showed signs of jaundice, abdominal pain and high levels of liver enzymes after she had too much of these energy drinks.

4. It affects the kidneys
Since these drinks contain a large amount of caffeine, it enhances the body’s diuretic functions. This means, it helps expel water out of the body. That’s why health experts advise against consuming these energy drinks after prolonged exercise in a hot environment because they may cause dehydration. Too much caffeine also causes loss of sodium through urine, which can affect cardiovascular performance during exercise. Sodium imbalance can also reduce the isometric force in the legs. A study reported acute renal injury in a 40-year-old man who consumed energy drinks daily for 2-3 weeks. He got better once the drinks were discontinued.

5. It can destroy teeth
Dental erosion is one of the casualties of drinking too much sugary beverages, and energy drinks are no exception. These drinks contain a criminal amount of sugars and have low pH, both of which are horrible for dental health. Studies have tied dental problems to frequent energy-drink consumption.

While there are a few benefits of energy drinks, especially performance enhancement, it’s hard to ignore the many negative effects of the same, especially among children and adolescents. Considering these drinks are very popular, consumers should be aware of the detrimental effects and should have these drinks as an occasional indulgence.


Alsunni, A. A. (2015). Energy Drink Consumption: Beneficial and Adverse Health Effects. International Journal of Health Sciences, 9(4), 468—474.

Image source: Shutterstock

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