What’s In Your Energy Drink?

As concerns over the safety of energy drinks continue to grow, a study outlines the recent evidence regarding the content, benefits, and risks of the beverages that are popular with adolescents. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, reports that more teens are downing energy drinks; in 2003 16% regularly consumed the drinks while in 2008,¬† that percentage jumped to 35%. One study of college student consumption found 50% of students drank at least one to four a month. This year, research documented a jump in energy drink-related¬†emergency room visits and politicians and consumers called upon the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to look into deaths associated with the drinks. (MORE: Are Energy Drinks Fatally Caffeinated?) What do the beverages contain that could pose a health hazard? Currently, the amount of caffeine added to energy drinks is not regulated by the FDA, so often the amounts listed (if they’re listed) are inaccurate. Studies also don’t support all of the claims made by the manufacturers on some of the other ingredients’ ability to maintain energy. The study authors broke down the most common ingredients found in energy drinks: caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, sugars and B vitamins and why they might be problematic. Caffeine This is the primary ingredient in energy drinks, and its levels can vary widely. Energy drinks do not fall under the same regulatory category as sodas and often have higher levels of the stimulant than indicated. For comparison, a 6.5 oz cup of coffee contains 80 to 120 mg of caffeine, tea has about 50 mg, and a 12 oz cola cannot have more 65 mg. Energy drinks have significantly higher amounts, with the most well-known brands containing anywhere from 154 mg in a 16 oz Red Bull to 505 mg in a 24 oz Wired X505. There is no official recommended limit for the amount of caffeine a person can consume, but excessive caffeine has been linked to a variety of adverse effects such as high blood pressure, premature birth and possibly sudden death. Guarana Also known … Continue reading What’s In Your Energy Drink?