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December 2022
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Study Highlights the Risks of Energy Drinks

Why energy drinks are jeopardizing your health and what to do to energize yourself naturally

Drink at Your Own Risk

Energy drinks are all the rage these days.  Whether it’s Red Bull or Amp, Rockstar or Monster, 5-Hour Energy or Bawls, all of them promise to deliver amazing amounts of vitality and dynamism…so much so that you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it!

Claims like these sound truly fantastic, which is to say that they sound too good to be true.  But what sets these claims apart from so many other unrealistic company claims is that they actually deliver.

If you haven’t experienced the energy lift yourself, no doubt you have friends or family members who have experienced these jolts of energy.  These eight to 16 ounce cans are packed with so much caffeine and herbal stimulants, they make coffee seem like a kids drink.  And truth be told, by comparison, it is!

For example, the average cup of coffee has between 60 and 120 milligrams of caffeine.  Your average energy drink?  Try 200 milligrams (Arizona Green Tea Energy), 360 milligrams (Boo-Koo Energy) even 500 milligrams of caffeine per can!

Despite energy drinks popularity with the general public, several states are putting consumers’ health before the almighty dollar and removing energy drinks from store shelves and chill zones.  For example, the highly controversial energy drink Four Loko – the “four” referring to the absurdly high amounts of the four ingredients caffeine, taurine, guarana and alcohol – has been banned in the state of Michigan after nine Washington state college students were hospitalized after drinking it.  New York and Oregon are on the brink of following Michigan’s lead.

Should Energy Drinks Be Banned Entirely?

While no one is happy to see 20-somethings hospitalized, this may have been just what the doctor ordered to get people’s attention regarding why all energy drinks – not just Four Loko – may need to be banned.

My concern about the health effects of energy drinks comes after the release of a University of Texas at Houston study that examined the potential health risks associated with energy drink consumption.

John Higgins and his team of researchers looked at the ingredients of a wide array of energy drinks extending all the way back to 1976 – which was right around the time energy drinks became pretty mainstream in America – to today.  He also looked at the studies other researchers have done on energy drinks, though there haven’t been many.

His analysis revealed that cases of serious side effects – like heart attack, seizures or death – have been few and far between.  Nevertheless, the side effects he did observe were concerning enough for Higgins to say that they’re risky to drink.

Writing in the pages of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Higgins and his colleagues say, “[People are] not rats, but consumption has been shown to be positively associated with high-risk behavior.”  The high-risk behavior he’s referring to involved bizarre behavior exhibited by rats during a separate study, wherein the rats displayed symptoms indicative of anxiety and self-mutilation.

Higgins noted other less severe, but nevertheless worrisome symptoms that come with energy drinks, like dehydration and elevated blood pressure levels in people that drink them.

Speaking to Reuters Health, Higgins said the best way to go about addressing the health costs of these energy drinks is greater regulation.  There is very little regulation on these drinks today, Higgins said, so companies can put whatever they want in them, and as much of what they want in them.

“Whenever you have a situation like this, you are going to run into problems,” Higgins said.

Energy Drinks Be Gone

Here’s the bottom line:  Don’t buy or consume so-called “energy” drinks.  Avoid them entirely.

It’s not that caffeine and herbal stimulants prima facie are bad; it’s the amount used that’s bad.  Caffeine is a fine thing when taken in moderation.  It increases awareness and can give you an extra energy boost when you want to rep out that last bench press.  But when used in excess, it ruins your sleep patterns, leaves you headachy if you’ve been taking it regularly and suddenly stop, and elevates your blood pressure to unsafe levels.

Far better to pursue natural ways of increasing energy.

Energize Yourself the Natural Way

There are lots of ways to natural increase your energy.  One of the best ways is to establish a regular exercise routine.  This may seem like putting the cart before the horse (a lot of people need energy to exercise, rather than exercise to get energy), but studies have shown that the physical act of moving increases energy levels.  A study published in a 2006 edition of Psychological Bulletin found that sedentary people who exercised regularly improved their feelings of fatigue considerably.  And this was true in 90 percent of the cases they reviewed!

Another way to find energy is by getting into the proper mindset, because much of your energy level depends on your attitude.  My colleague Steve G. Jones and I write about this fact in considerable depth in our book You Can Attract It.

Even if you don’t feel particularly energized, act it!  One of the worst things you can do in life is acting on your emotions at the moment.  After all, how often do we feel like going to work?  How often do we feel like brushing our teeth?  We do these things because it’s what life and good hygiene demand.  And an energetic physical you demands an energetic mental you.  As the saying goes, fake it until you make it!

Finally, take an inventory of what you’re eating from day to day, meal to meal.  There are a lot of foods that drain your energy levels by spiking your blood sugar, which send you crashing with feelings of lethargy and listlessness an hour or two later.

Energizing foods are those that are primarily carbohydrate-based.  Now, that doesn’t mean that any old carbo will do; you want to seek out foods that will fill you up without weighing you down.

Thus, fruits and vegetables are your best options.  These include blueberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, bananas and spinach.  Bananas are particularly energizing, as they contain lots of potassium, a vital electrolyte that help stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain proper muscle and nerve function.

Other energizing foods are healthy fat foods.  While the body prefers to use carbohydrates as its primary source for energy, fats have the highest concentration of energy.  Thus, eat healthy sources of fat, which include protein sources like salmon, mackerel and herring; vegetable sources, like avocado; nuts, like almonds, walnuts and pecans; and seeds, like sunflower, chia, flax and hemp.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a happier, energetic, livelier you!


Related Posts

  1. The High Cost of Energy (Drinks)
  2. Sports Drinks like Gatorade Harsh on Teeth, Study Finds
  3. Sugary Drinks Increase Diabetes Risk in African-American Women
  4. Exposure to Pesticides & Men’s Cancer Risks
  5. Osteoporosis Drugs Potentially Double Cancer Risks, A New Study Shows

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