I'm attending a music festival sponsored by a popular energy drink brand this coming Wednesday so I thought it fitting to look at a recent study that shows that caffeinated energy drink consumption is on the rise in the United States.
This probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to you, but I'm not a fan of energy drinks. Unfortunately we've seen a steep increase in their consumption over the last decade among adolescents, young adults, and middle-aged adults. The marketing of these beverages has convinced these age groups that they should consume them if they want to feel more energized. But do they really work? Or worse yet, are they causing harm?
The study regarding increased energy drink consumption recently appeared in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. It states that the increased use of energy drinks is a cause for concern. These drinks are marketed as being able to reduce fatigue and improve mental and physical performance. However, frequent consumption of energy drinks has been linked to negative health concerns.
Energy drinks either contain caffeine or other plant-based stimulants, amino acids, herbs, and/or vitamins. Some energy drink brands contain as much as 500 mg of caffeine per serving. For comparison, one serving of coffee contains roughly 95 mg of caffeine. Higher volumes of caffeine can put individuals in danger for adverse cardiovascular effects such as high blood pressure and heart palpitations. And if that's not bad enough, most of these energy drinks contain added sugar, which has been shown to put individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dental problems.
Caffeinated energy drinks come with warning labels, as regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA does not impose caffeine limits on these beverages, nor do they require the beverage company to report the actual level of caffeine per serving of these drinks.
The study found that between 2003 to 2016, the amount of caffeinated energy drink consumption increased dramatically among teens, young adults, and middle-aged adults. Middle-aged Mexican Americans and young adults with low educational attainment were found to have the highest increased consumption level. Several groups are working on policies to target these populations on the dangers of energy drink consumption.
I personally choose not to consume caffeinated energy drinks because (1) I find them to be disgusting with all their chemicals and added sugars, and (2) I don't feel like my adrenals need a so-called beating from all the caffeine that these drinks contain. I'll give energy drink companies credit though. They've done an amazing job convincing a large group of people that they can benefit from caffeinated energy drink consumption. In my view, there is absolutely no benefit - only risk. I recommend staying away from energy drinks of all kinds. Drink water instead. But if you really need an energy boost, organic green tea and organic black coffee aren't terrible choices every once in a while.