There have always been products that are marketed on their many benefits, but sometimes fail to acknowledge its potential detriments. This can be true of most things. Fast food is tasty and convenient, but it is also unhealthy to eat all of the time. Alcohol is great for recreation, but when abused leads to addictions and possible death. Ever modern technology can fall into that category. Being able to text is great until people started texting and driving. Another grouping of products people enjoy and entirely rely upon to give them a morning, midday or evening boost.
Energy drinks have been popular for, nearly, 20 years, some of the most recognizable are Rock-Star, Monster and, of course, Red Bull. While they do offer an energy boost, provided by high caffeine, sugar, and other stimulants, they do have a dark side. Energy drinks have negative health effects; they can be dangerous if used in excess or too often, particularly, for teens, pregnant women and the elderly.
Energy drinks are essentially mixtures that contain three times the about of caffeine and sugars found in an average can of caffeinated soda; even when they are present in smaller portions, including energy “shot” size (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health). The effects of energy drinks can include cardiovascular and nervous system problems. They diminish blood vessel function after the consumption of a single beverage. These beverages raise the drinker’s blood pressure and cortisol levels that relate to the measurement of stress (Chodosh). Too many people assume that because energy drinks are sold to the public automatically means that they are safe and free of any dangerous health impacts. That is, unfortunately, a serious misconception. This makes youths, adults and all consumers unafraid that there could be any negative side effects of their consumption (Crawford and Gosliner). The fact is that energy drinks are not considered to be beverages, like sodas or coffee, they are considered supplements. Supplements are not monitored or regulated by government agencies, which means they can include, essentially, any ingredients, in any amounts, that the manufacturers like (Chodosh).
There have been a number of stories that tragically ended in death due to excessive energy drink consumption. Many of those cases have involved juveniles, particularly, young athletes that have adverse reactions. They also do not take into consideration what will happen if these energy drinks when mixed in other beverages, particularly those containing caffeine. A teen lost their life after mixing an energy drink, coffee and a soda (Crawford and Gosliner). There are similar issues relating to mixing energy drinks with liquor cocktails. Mixing energy with alcohol leads to a greater likelihood of binge drinking and therefore all of the increased the negative effects of alcohol (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health). The consumption of energy drinks in excess is not just a threat to juveniles and young adults. Energy drinks can also be detrimental to the health of pregnant women and their unborn children. Whatever affects the mother also affects the babies (Seifert, Schaechter and et. al., 520). Finally, seniors who drink too many energy drinks can face all of the aforementioned issues, but also exacerbate pre-existing conditions common in the elderly. Seniors should be lessening their caffeine content not increase it, it can lead to dehydration (Rubin).
The negative health effects of energy drinks have spawned an argument regarding whether or not they should be regulated or even banned. Given that they can have so many negative health outcomes when used consumed in excess or too regularly then regulations should be considered. Like all other beverages, they should be monitored by the FDA (Chodosh). Warning labels and clear detail of the negative outcomes should be available and clear to the public, including specific warnings for youths, pregnant women and seniors. However, a call for a ban on energy drinks is a poor option. Bans of this kind are seldom effective and will have limited effects on the public. People do not respond well to that kind of governmental intervention. It did not work in the 1920s when the 18th Amendment, or Prohibition, was passed to ban the manufacturing, sales, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. It was a failure because people still consumed alcohol from bootleggers. In the mid-20th century, the War on Drugs policies attempted to “ban” and punish drug use as a deterrent. It has also been a failure. Banning energy drinks would likely have an oppositional effect; actually encouraging people to consume them even more. It is better to consider regulations that make people better informed and safer (Crawford and Gosliner). This is much better than a total ban that will probably be entirely ineffective.
There is a saying, “too much of a good thing,” which applies to this topic very well. People become obsessive and it becomes a trend; the energy drink industry is that. The people who make energy drinks are not forcing people to abuse or over-use their products any more than any other industry. “All things in moderation” is a good policy for people when it comes to anything. These beverages contain many ingredients, mostly stimulants and sugar that are much higher than other caffeinated beverages, like soda, coffee, and tea. Energy drinks have ingredients that can be unhealthy if consumed too often or by people, like the very young, the pregnant and the very old, who are at the greatest risk for a negative reaction. This means that there is good reason to make certain that consumers are educated and warned about both the good and the bad of their product. However, a governmental ban or modern prohibition would be inadvisable.
Chodosh, Sara. “Scientists Keep Finding New Ways Energy Drinks are Terrible for You.” Popular
Science Magazine. 2018. p. 1. Accessed May 2019.www.popsci.com/energy-drinks-caffeine-blood-vessel
Crawford, Pat and Gosliner, Wendi. “Energy Drinks are Killing Young People. It’s Time to Stop
That.”The Washington Post. 2017. p. 1. Accessed 3 May 2019
Rubin, Rita. “The Surprising Risks of Energy Drinks for Boomers.” Next Avenue. 2013. p. 1. Accessed
4 May 2019. www.nextavenue.org/surprising-risks-energy-drinks-boomers/
Seifert, Sara M., Schaechter, J.L. and et. al. “Health effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults.” Pediatrics. vol. 127. no. 3. 2011. pp. 511-528
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “Energy Drinks.” United States of Health and Human Services. 2018. p. 1. Accessed 3 May 2019. nccih.nih.gov/health/energy-drinks