Energy drinks promise to provide energy and increase physical endurance. Their sweet taste is quite pleasant and, although they are widely marketed, energy drinks are not as harmless as they seem. High doses of caffeine, taurine (amino acid), sugar and carbohydrates cause powerful stimulation of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, which produce adverse health effects.
“They can raise blood pressure, heart rate, cause closure of blood vessels, tachycardia and, in severe cases, cause cardiac arrhythmias. In addition, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, gastroesophageal reflux, sleep disorders and concentration problems, that is, are not recommended.”, points out Luis Jorge Hernández, professor at the Faculty of Medicine and specialist in public health at Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, about the serious consequences of these drinks.
The problem is that teenagers and adults consume them as an alternative to maintain concentration in studies, provide energy for long hours without rest, delay sleep or feel active at night parties, even in some cases to enhance their effects they are mixed with other substances:They are combined with drugs or stimulants, and produce a synergistic effect, that is, when combined they can cause cardiorespiratory arrest, therefore it is a lethal risk.”, says the expert.
Caffeine and sugar overdose
The high amounts of caffeine and sugar contained in energy drinks are a concern for the medical community. According to researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO), its consumption is associated with caffeine overdose, type 2 diabetes, problems during pregnancy, neurological and cardiovascular effects, dependence and obesity.
Thanks to marketing and advertising strategies, these drinks are promoted as a solution to the fast pace of life that demands high productivity; For Professor Hernández, uncontrolled consumption among the university population is a problem that responds to the desire of young people to improve their academic performance.
“In students, we detected that they use them to avoid sleep, apparently this makes them more confident when studying, but it is a trap. There are young people with underlying diseases that can get worse when consuming them, in addition, cases of mortality have been described due to the fact that they produce tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias that cannot be controlled, so there is no minimum dose, there is no safe dose, it is better to avoid them. them.“, he states.
Energy drinks and anxiety disorders
Along the same lines, German Casas, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine and specialist in psychiatry at the Universidad de los Andes, in Colombia, explains that excessive consumption of energizers can cause anxiety problems and even panic attacks. Likewise, he assures that it is a falsehood that these drinks increase concentration, “They leave the individual with more time to be able to dedicate himself to academic activity because it avoids drowsiness, this is a problem because they are usually very frequent to be used at night to study or party and change the normal cycle of sleep and wakefulness of adolescents or young people”, he points out.
To maintain energy in a healthy way, recommends Luis Jorge Hernández, it is essential to have a good sleep habit (7 to 8 hours a day), a balanced diet and good hydration. Likewise, he indicates that it is important to carry out educational campaigns so that people understand the composition of these products and the risks they cause.