Lots of parents, teachers, coaches and others are asking: Are energy drinks bad for you? There is no easy answer. While the manufacturers want you to believe that they’re just a quick-fix when you’re feeling especially low-energy, or that they are a great way to give yourself a boost before athletics or strenuous activity, the high doses of caffeine can be dangerous. There are some groups of people who might be more likely to suffer adverse effects — and they might not even know it.
Side-effects of energy drinks on teens and adolescents
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids avoid energy drinks. One thing that the AAP wants to be clear on is that sports drinks and energy drinks contain different ingredients. A sports drink usually contains carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes and flavoring. These are intended to replace water and electrolytes that were lost through sweating during exercise. Most of the time, the best way for children to hydrate is to drink regular water. The main concern about sports drinks and children is that these beverages contain a lot of calories and can cause tooth decay and obesity. However, if a young athlete is participating in vigorous physical activity, the occasional sports drink might be helpful.
An energy drink, on the other hand, is made up of stimulants that might include caffeine, guarana and taurine. Caffeine is known to have harmful effects on children, including damage to the neurologic and cardiovascular systems. The AAP’s report makes the conclusion that energy drink side-effects on kids and teens are far more pronounced than in adults, and that the dangers of energy drinks should be known by parents.
Other energy drink side-effects
Back to the question… are energy drinks bad for you? In addition to the high doses of caffeine, they also contain a lot of sugar and calories. For a high-performance athlete, the calories are probably burned fairly quickly, but for a recreational athlete or teenager, the side-effects of energy drinks could include weight gain. Other energy drink side-effects include jitters, upset stomach, headaches or sleep problems. And, when consumed in large quantities, you could even experience fast or irregular heart rhythm, high blood pressure, hallucinations or seizures.
Why would I need an energy drink lawyer?
You might want to call a McIntyre Law energy drink lawyer if you’ve suffered harm from any energy drink side-effects. You might have suffered side-effects of energy drinks because the manufacturers of these products gave misleading claims about the dangers of energy drinks, or because the hidden ingredients interacted in ways that you didn’t anticipate. We call these ingredients “hidden” because some of these beverages contain guarana, taurine, ginseng, vitamin B, glucuronolactone, yohimbe, carnitine or bitter orange. Many of these ingredients are actually designed to enhance the effects of caffeine, which means that the caffeine quotient in these energy drinks is actually much higher than you realize. That means it’s that much easier to drink too much, too fast. A 24-ounce energy drink could contain as much as 500 milligrams of caffeine — which is equivalent to five cups of coffee!
Dangers of energy drinks and alcohol
The side-effects of energy drinks, alone, can be serious—but even more so when these beverages are combined with alcohol. One reason is that studies show that when you combine the two, the signs of drunkenness are lessened, and then you feel that you want to (or can) drink more. Another reason is that because the energy drinks can make a person feel or appear more balanced or coordinated than s/he actually is after drinking alcohol, that person is more likely to attempt drunk driving, which could result in a DUI or serious accident or fatality.
Mixing alcohol and energy drinks has also been shown to lead to adolescent brain damage, ER visits and hospitalizations. And, mixing energy drinks with other central nervous stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall is even more dangerous, as is a combination with illicit drugs like marijuana.
The bottom line…
So, are energy drinks bad for you? Yes. Energy drink side-effects are very serious in teens and children, and they can also affect adults when consumed in large quantities. Fortunately, the energy drink manufacturers are starting to see some pushback as people become more aware that their misleading labeling and advertising tactics are causing harm.
If you’ve experienced a harmful medical condition as a result of over-consumption of energy drinks, or if you are the victim of a car accident in which a driver was affected, you need an energy drink lawyer. The McIntyre Law team is working to get justice for people like you, who were harmed without knowing the dangers of energy drinks. Contact us today!