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Energy Drinks: A continuing health hazard to our younger population

Friday, July 09, 2010
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Energy drinks: a continuing health hazard to our younger population
Though the media regularly tries to focus attention on the health hazards and addictive nature of Energy drinks there seems to be no momentum by the local health authorities to stop the spread of this hazard with an effective public awareness campaign.

Energy drinks fed by a marketing blitz are becoming increasigly popular, even gaining market share over colas. There is trending surge in their consumption as they are now available in the local supermarket check out displays -often in small sized, attractive concentrate forms. The hip fad driven youth are lured by the manufacturers campaign on their being a safe bet. These mega caffeine boosting drinks are starting to replace the effervescent sodas and aerated drinks as the unaware consumer incorrectly believes that these drinks are actually healthy and a preferable alternative to sodas.

So, what's up with these Energy drinks and why have they become such a global rage? Can it simply be the extra burst of energy they provide. For example a can of 'Red Bull' energy drink contain's 80mg of caffeine which is only equivalent to a cup of coffee, but is still much higher than the common colas. These energy drinks also contain stimulatory substances - guarana, glucuronolactone, taurine, ginseng, inositol, L Carnitine, B vitamins, glucose and sucrose that arouse the nervous system and elevate the body's metabolic rate. No, these drinks are not the next magic potion or energy elixir. The downside is that the energy kick or boost after intake is maximal for an hour and drops sharply in two to three hours. The sudden decline in energy leaves an individual wanting for more - leading to an addiction.

Energy drinks addiction has emerged as a new health hazard and studies are indicating their consumption can have negative side effects.



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User Comments

16 July, 2010 | Geetanjali Kelkar | Reply

Geetanjali Kelkar Gatorade is the most popular isotonic sports drink, containing 6-8% of carbohydrates, sodium and potassium. This combination enhances fluid absorption and maintains fluids and electrolyte balance after a strenuous bout of exercise. It is definitely better than aerated and energy drinks. For non-athletes and sedentary individuals coconut water, lime juice, fruit juice and lassi is a nutritionally adequate, environment friendly option.

15 July, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Hi Geetanjali what is your opinion on Gatorade?

13 July, 2010 | Ravi Mohan, | Reply

Ravi Mohan, I have been worried about these energy drinks for quite a while - because our 22 year old son has the smaller bottles quite often- which I think are the concentrated type. I have sent him this article also, but he thinks this is a lot of junk and doesn't believe it.

He started these while playing football and now I think they are a habit with him.
He is 22 years old so I am unable to do anything - except hope and pray.
This is a good start for me-

13 July, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Ravi Mohan,

Your son is in the early adulthood stage where they want to decide on the good and bad things. So they tend to revolt.

What you can do is:
1) Sit and talk to him once or twice
2)When his friends are at home as a group, start a discussion on this topic and get their inputs too, if they have had any symptoms mentioned in the article
3) Get someone (who he looks up to/close)in the family to talk to him and explain about the ill-effects of getting addicted to energy drinks

Hope these suggestions work well for your son and you.

Thank you for your comment.

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,

13 July, 2010 | Ravi Mohan | Reply

Ravi Mohan Thank you Ms. Swamy. My wife and I have been worried for some time now and yes, everytime we talk about this, we fight.
Anuraag is very close to a dear friend of mine, so I will ask him to talk to Anuraag.
It is tough once they leave for college.

13 July, 2010 | Geetanjali Kelkar | Reply

Geetanjali Kelkar Hello Mr Ram Mohan

You can advice your son to consume sports drinks that contain the right blend of carbohydrates, electrolytes- sodium and potassium and amino acids. These drinks help to regulate fluid and electrolyte balance and boost sports performance
Geetanjali Kelkar,PhD

16 July, 2010 | Ravi Mohan | Reply

Ravi Mohan I did have a talk -as recommended and also asked he read this article. He is at that age where if I say yes, its a definite no from his end.
I will wait and watch and hope that knowledge about these drinks will give him some thought to pause before he consumes them.

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