Turning to energy drinks when you need a boost might seem like a good idea, but a new study reveals that there are long-term health risks associated with these kinds of drinks.
The study, published in Frontiers in Public Health, found that the short-term benefits of consuming energy drinks are outweighed by severe health issues including increased blood pressure, obesity, kidney damage, fatigue, tooth decay and mental health problems such as anxiety and stress.
High caffeine and sugar levels are largely responsible for these health risks. Some energy drinks contain as much as 100mg of caffeine – eight times that of a regular cup of coffee. Additionally, most energy drinks contain stimulants such as gingseng and guarana, artificial sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup. An average 500ml can contains approximately 54g of sugar, the study found, which is well above the recommended adult intake of 36g a day.
Dr. Josiemer Mattei, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says the researchers reviewed existing scientific knowledge around energy drinks. “We summarize the consequences of energy drink consumption, which include heart, kidney, and dental problems, as well as risk-seeking behavior and poor mental health,” she says in Science Daily. “The evidence suggests they are harmful to health and should be limited through more stringent regulation by restricting their sales to children and adolescents, as well as setting an evidence-based upper limit on the amount of caffeine.”
Mattei admits further research is needed on the topic of energy drinks, where there are currently only a few studies that largely focus on healthy adults. Regardless, the negative risks of consuming energy drinks should be enough to encourage you to cut back, or leave them out of your diet entirely.