The promises of Increased energy and better concentration continue to stimulate the growing sales of energy drinks, which are sold everywhere from neighborhood grocery stores to local bars and gyms.
Increasingly, however, health professionals are giving warnings about these products and their possible negative effects, especially on young people.
There are so many possible unknown consequences that derive from caffeine and other supplements, some of which are not regulated, that I think the risks outweigh the benefits.
Meridan Zerner, registered dietitian, Cooper Clinic, Dallas, Texas
A recent study indicated a possible disadvantage of energy drinks. In "The DAWN Report," published on January 10, 2013, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration observed a duplication over a five-year period of the number of emergency visits related to energy drinks, from 10,068 in 2007 to 20,783 in 2011. Most of the cases involved individuals between the ages of 18 and 39 years.
Manufacturers of popular energy drinks have rejected the conclusions detailed in the report, prepared by the Drug Abuse Warning Network. Health professionals urge caution when using energy drinks, however, especially considering the potential danger of their combination with other substances or consuming them in extreme conditions.
According to the "DAWN Report", 58 percent of the visits to the emergency room in 2011 were related to the consumption of energy drinks alone, while 42 percent involved energy drinks combined with alcohol, pharmaceuticals and stimulants of the central nervous system or illicit drugs.
Energy drinks include brands such as Red Bull and Monster, which have a high percentage of caffeine and are marketed as a way to increase energy. These drinks differ from sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, which have carbohydrates and electrolytes as their main ingredients and are designed to provide fuel for the muscles and to help keep the body hydrated. Most sports drinks do not contain caffeine, although a Powerade product, Powerade Fuel +, does.
Health professionals are concerned not only about high amounts of caffeine but also about common additives, such as taurine, guarana, creatine and herbal supplements. Such additives may contain caffeine or intensify the effects of caffeine, and most are not regulated.
The nutrition and health information sheet on energy drinks published in 2007 by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources indicates that caffeine in most energy drinks ranges from 72 mg to 150 mg for containers with 8 oz. To 12 oz.In larger packages the information sheet indicates that they can contain two or three servings and raise the level of caffeine to 294 mg for the entire container. Smaller drinks, called shots, can also have high concentrations of caffeine.
The Food and Drug Administration reported in November 2012 that over a four-year period it had received reports of 13 deaths citing the possible role of 5-Hour Energy shots. In October 2012, the agency received five reports of deaths in which the consumption of Monster Energy is mentioned. These reports, however, do not mean that there is a direct relationship between beverages and death.
Manufacturers of many of these energy drinks have insisted that there is no evidence that their drinks are responsible for injuries or deaths.
In a press release dated January 16, 2013, the American Beverage Association said that the results of the "DAWN Report" indicate that less than two hundredths of 1 percent of the approximately 136 million visits to emergency rooms per year are allegedly linked to energy drinks.
Monster Beverage Corp., maker of Monster Energy, said in a statement that "The DAWN report" is "very misleading" and does not prove the drinks are unsafe.
"Any causal connection between the consumption of energy drinks and visits to the emergency room was substantially weakened by the existence of other factors more likely to have been responsible for the patients' medical problems, such as pharmaceuticals, alcohol or drugs. illegal, "the statement said.
He also claimed that the report did not reflect how many visits to the emergency room were the result of excessive coffee consumption and how it compares to the consumption of energy drinks.
The American Beverage Association, which represents non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, said there is no way to know all the sources of caffeine ingested by emergency room patients.
The association also criticized the report for comparing the amount of caffeine in energy drinks to that of a 5-ounce cup of coffee. The report notes that 5 ounces of coffee normally contains around 100 mg of caffeine, while the amount of caffeine in energy drinks can vary from 80 mg to 500 mg.
"Typical cups of coffee contain at least 8 ounces," the association statement said. "In addition, most of the major energy drinks contain about half the caffeine in a similar-sized cup of coffee. from a coffee shop. "
The eyes of health professionals
Sports drinks are not energy drinks
As a nutrition specialist, Meridan Zerner urges consumers to find out what they are consuming. "I think it's important make a clear distinction between sports drinks and energy drinks, "he said.
Zerner, a registered dietitian at Cooper Clinic in Dallas, disagrees with the term "energy" to describe bottled or canned beverages that are supposed to increase your energy through caffeine.
All the energy, he said, comes from carbohydrates. Caffeine not only does not provide real energy, but it can also negatively affect sleep by decreasing energy.
The main ingredients in sports drinks, such as Gatorade, are low concentrations of carbohydrates and electrolytes. Carbohydrates are substances such as glucose, glucose polymers, sucrose and fructose. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium and magnesium.
Carbohydrates feed muscles, while electrolytes replace minerals lost by sweat.
The main ingredient in most energy drinks, however, is caffeine, which affects the central nervous system, telling your brain to keep the body at a high rate.