Beverages called energy drinks are a multibillion-dollar industry based on aggressive
marketing strategies that mainly target teens and young adults. In 2010, 34%
to 51% of those aged 18 to 24 in the U.S. reported regular consumption of energy
drinks, a total of 6 billion drinks. A typical 16 oz. energy drink contains 150-
200 mg. of caffeine, about equal to the same amount of brewed coffee. In contrast,
a 20-oz. bottle of Coke would contain only 58 mg. of caffeine. Energy drinks also
contain a variety of herbs, vitamins, and usually large amounts of sugar. Like other
dietary supplements, energy drinks are not regulated by the FDA. They are associated
with a substantial array of health risks, including increased heart rate, palpitations,
high blood pressure, insomnia, and high blood sugar levels.
Children should not consume energy drinks. Adolescents should be advised to limit
caffeine intake to 100 mg. per day and adults to 500 mg. a day. Because the millions
of persons consuming energy drinks are likely to be unaware of the amount of
caffeine or risks of the caffeine they are ingesting, caffeine overdoses have caused
serious illness and rare deaths—probably from heart irregularities. Assuming that
ingestion over a brief time of 3 to 10 gm of caffeine might be lethal, then it would
probably take 12 or more energy drinks to reach a lethal dose in a healthy adult. But
in the presence of liver disease or other drugs, a fatal dose could be lower.
Mixing energy drinks and alcohol is especially dangerous because caffeine offsets
the sedating effects of alcohol, and drinkers may not realize that they are intoxicated,
keep on drinking, and drink too much. A group of students who consumed both
energy drinks and alcohol approximately doubled their risk of experiencing or committing
sexual assault, riding with an intoxicated driver, having an alcohol-related
motor vehicle crash, or requiring medical treatment.
The International Olympic Committee published a statement in 2015 that it is “inappropriate
and unacceptable to encourage dietary supplements for performance
enhancement with youth athletes.” However, studies have found use by between
22% and 71% of child and adolescent athletes. Although there is little evidence that
sports-nutrition supplements are effective, they are marketed with promises of improved
athletic performance. They are a growing market, estimated at $6.7 billion
of annual sales in the U.S. in 2016.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel