Energy drinks cause health risks

By Amber Paramo

Before reaching for an energy drink, there are some healthy alternatives that students should consider.

Instead of consuming unhealthy energy drinks, students should replace it with healthier alternatives such as green juices/smoothies, green tea and water.

Green vegetables such as spinach and kale are used in drinks for energy.

These vegetables are a good source of vitamin B. Vitamin B improves the performance of the body’s metabolism.

Another alternative for consuming vitamin B would be to take vitamin B-12 tablets. From personal experience, taking vitamin B-12 can give the same amount of energy as drinking an energy drink.

Green tea contains a smaller amount of caffeine than coffee does, and it is a healthy alternative to an afternoon cup of coffee.

Too much caffeine has been known to cause jitters, chronic stress and a racing heart.

Most of the time when someone feel sluggish, it is because they are dehydrated. Sometimes drinking water is boring. Adding fruit slices or some blueberries or strawberries provides some carbohydrates and vitamin B for an extra nutritional ‘punch.’

College students are vulnerable to energy drinks’ side effects.

Some of the side effects are: upset stomach, chest pain, dizziness, seizures, insomnia and even heart attacks.

Most energy drinks, as advertised, include excessive doses of caffeine and other stimulants that increase a person’s heart rate and blood pressure.

Just because they are easily available does not mean that they can’t do some serious damage.

The image of an overworked student in the library late at night, sitting at a desk stacked with textbooks and several empty cans of ‘Red Bull’ littered all over the floor may just be a  stereotype, but there is indeed some truth to it.

“Students use it as something to keep them awake and wire them into study mode. Drinking them keeps me up so I can cram more information into my brain. However, I don’t feel that caffeine actually helps with improving focus or concentration, but it does help with staying awake,” said ELAC Student Brian Flamenco

“You may feel energized for an hour or so and then a couple of energy drinks also yield a variety of ingredients, including taurine, creatine, inositol and antioxidants,” said Flamenco.

The amount of  healthy substances contained in energy drinks is far below standards.

“Hours later you crash and feel worse than you were prior to the energy drink.”

Although energy drinks claim to boost a person’s energy level, most of the time the effects only last for a short amount of time.

A quick look at the labels of various energy drinks would be needed for any therapeutic benefit.

These drinks typically contain a lot of sugar. Some drinks are known to have an average of 15 teaspoons of sugar.

If reaching for an energy drink to get over the mid-afternoon burnout, consider that a 24 oz. can of Monster contains 81 grams of sugar, about the same amount as 17 Oreo cookies.

Today students are pretty much strapped for cash.

The average energy drink can cost between $3-5 depending on size, flavor and brand.

The money spent on energy drinks would be best used to buy new shoes, clothes and other items.

Next time when looking for ways to get energy, think about alternative ways before buying energy drinks.

Consuming excess amount of unhealthy ingredients is harmful and especially in drinks.

So instead of solely relying on sugar and caffeine to get through a busy day, take a walk or drink water to feel more natural energy.

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