After a day’s work out at the gym or tired from your morning hectic work there is every chance that your heart goes out for the chilled energy drink that’s ready to beguile you with its refreshing taste and false promises. Energy drinks are extremely popular today especially among teenagers and young adults who rely upon it as their lifeline to energy. These individuals owe their gratitude to these drinks considering it as a dietary supplement which has no side effects but only positive impact on the body. The marketers of these products too are clever indeed! They book reputed celebrities and powerful people to advertise their product promising improved concentration, physical performance and decreased fatigue while ensuring that its disadvantages are out of focus.
Energy drinks contain a large proportion of sugar, caffeine, taurine, amino acids and may/may not be carbonated. Promoted as health supplements that provide instant energy, muscle strength and endurance there are no scientific studies that support these advantages but there do exist many of them that enlist numerous disadvantages of drinking these beverages. Studies have proved that when these drinks contain ingredients apart from caffeine it makes them extremely dangerous and hazardous. Someone who consumes such energy drinks frequently is at an increased risk of cardiac problems such as heart attacks, arrhythmias and mind-related changes such as anxiety and phobias.
Drink Your Way to Heart Attack
Researchers, curious to know how energy drinks affected the heart, enrolled 34 adults aged between 18 and 40 years in their study. This study was published in the renowned Journal of the American Heart Association and conducted in the US. Though there were only 34 people involved, this is the largest control study of the effect of energy drinks on the heart.
All the participants consumed two 16-ounce bottles of one of two energy drinks or placebo that was filled with lime juice, carbonated water and cherry flavoring for three days. It was a double-blinded study which gave no chances of one-sided conclusions as both, the participants and the researchers were unaware of who drank which product. Researchers measured the electrical activity of the participants’ heart using an electrocardiogram and blood pressure too every 30 minutes for a period of 4 hours. This activity measures the time taken by the lower chambers of the heart to prepare to generate a beat again. When the time interval is too short or too long, there are chances of an abnormal heartbeat putting the individual at a risk of arrhythmia that can lead to life-threatening consequences.
Results showed that those who consumed energy drinks displayed higher heartbeat intervals at four hours in comparison to those who consumed a placebo. The systolic and diastolic blood pressure rates also displayed higher ranges in these individuals. Researchers became sure that the effect was highly above what caffeine alone might cause. But further research is needed to find out the list of ingredients that might play vital roles in causing these effects in energy drinks. Energy drinks normally have around 300 mg of caffeine per 32 ounces and anything under 400 mg does not cause electrocardiographic changes. Drinking between three and five 8-ounce coffee cups a day amounts to the accepted 400 milligrams of caffeine. This once again clearly proves that caffeine is not a problem when its consumed below its acceptable ranges and it’s the other ingredients that’s doing all the dirty trick. Consuming more than the recommended amounts of caffeine too causes side effects which are explained in detail at www.firsteatright.com.
Hence, people, especially youngsters and those suffering from health conditions, should stay cautious, avoid consuming energy drinks frequently and choose healthier options instead to stay active and energetic. Healthcare professionals must also advise their heart patients, those with high blood pressure and other patients as well against consuming energy drinks for their own health benefits.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.