You may have heard that energy drinks make you more alert? You can also feel bad if you drink too much of them. If you drink too much of certain varieties, you can get more caffeine than you feel good about, and get symptoms of caffeine poisoning. And if you drink them at the same time as alcohol, you risk getting less feeling for how drunk you get. Here you get to know what the drinks contain and how they affect you.
What are energy drinks?
Caffeine is usually a common denominator for what is marketed as energy drinks. Energy drinks are sweet soft drinks that usually contain caffeine, glucuronolactone, taurine and B vitamins, but the variations are many. There is no "legal" definition for beverages called energy drinks.
Are energy drinks dangerous?
Whether energy drinks are dangerous depends, as with everything else, on how much you ingest. If you drink them in moderation, they are not dangerous. It shows many surveys.
Most energy drinks contain relatively much caffeine, often there is as much caffeine in a jar as in a cup of coffee, but there are drinks that contain much more caffeine. If you drink a lot of them, you can risk experiencing very unpleasant caffeine effects.
But if you drink energy drinks at the same time as alcohol, the caffeine in the drinks can make you less aware of how drunk you are.
For those who due to illness have to eat a diet where the amount of protein is limited, it is important to know that energy drinks contain a relatively large amount of an amino acid, taurine.
Your weight affects the effect
Children and adolescents may experience more adverse effects of caffeine than adults, such as palpitations and headaches. This is because they usually weigh less and therefore react to smaller amounts of caffeine. Many adults also drink coffee regularly, which means that they can react less to some of the effects of caffeine than children and young people.
How affects caffeine?
Caffeine can increase alertness and mental activity but does not make it easier for us to learn things. Caffeine stimulates breathing and heart activity.
If you ingest too much caffeine, you can suffer from sleep problems, headaches, anxiety and worry, dizziness and palpitations. Really large amounts of caffeine can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Different people react differently to caffeine.
A can of 250 milliliter energy drink, which contains 320 milligrams of caffeine per liter, gives you about as much caffeine as a cup of brewed coffee of 1,5 dl. But there are energy drinks that contain more caffeine. Some have different fruit flavors and are similar to regular soft drinks but contain as much caffeine as two cups of coffee per can.
It is individual how you react to caffeine, and how much you can ingest without experiencing negative symptoms. For some individuals, there is a risk of mild or moderate caffeine poisoning by drinking a lot of energy drinks.
How do other substances in energy drinks affect?
The amount of glucuronolactone and taurine you ingest through energy drinks is not dangerous. This is according to investigations by EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority).
Energy and nutrients?
In general, energy drinks do not provide more or less energy in the form of calories or nutrients compared to other soft drinks. Caffeine can have a temporary invigorating effect, compared to coffee or other caffeine-containing foods.
It is always the person who produces / sells a product who is responsible for ensuring that it is safe.
Here are some tips that may be helpful:
- Do not use energy drinks to quench your thirst or as a fluid replacement when you exercise or otherwise exert yourself physically.
- Do not combine energy drinks with alcohol, as this may make you less aware of how drunk you are.
- Keep in mind that beverages with a very high caffeine content carry the risk of caffeine overdose, which can cause mild or moderate caffeine poisoning.
- Children and adolescents usually weigh less than adults and are not used to ingesting caffeine. This makes it easier for young people to experience the negative effects of caffeine than adults.
- Pregnant women should limit the amount of caffeine to a maximum of 200 milligrams per day. This corresponds to approximately two to three cups of coffee of 1,5 deciliters or four cups of tea of 2 deciliters. Large amounts of caffeine, over 300 milligrams per day, seem to increase the risk of very early miscarriages. But even doses above 200 milligrams per day are suspected to have a small effect on the weight of the fetus.
What do the surveys say?
Energy drinks have been investigated by scientific experts in several different countries and by Efsas (of the European Food Safety Authority). None of these evaluations showed that energy drinks are dangerous when consumed in moderation.
However, overconsumption or extreme consumption can cause unpleasant experiences and symptoms.