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Abusing Energy Drinks
More than 500 ‘NEW’ energy drinks launched worldwide this year, and coffee fans are probably too old to understand why. Energy drinks aren’t merely popular with young people. They taste like carbonated cough syrup.
Vying for the dollars of teenagers with promises of weight loss, increased endurance and legal highs, the new products join top-sellers Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar to make up a $3.4 billion-a-year industry that —grew by 80 percent last year.
Thirty-one percent ofU.S.teenagers say they drink energy drinks, according to Simmons Research. That represents 7.6 million teens, a jump of almost 3 million in three years.
Nutritionists warn that the drinks, laden with caffeine and sugar, can hook kids on an unhealthy jolt-and-crash cycle. The caffeine comes from multiple sources, making it hard to tell how much the drinks contain. Some have B vitamins, which when taken in megadoses can cause rapid heartbeat, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
But the biggest worry is how some teens use the drinks. Some report downing several cans in a row to get a buzz, and a new study found a surprising number of poison-center calls from young people getting sick from too much caffeine.
“Wow, this drink is some serious stuff. I mean about half the bottle is the warning label, and it is serious, this drink is INSANE. It says that you should not drink it unless you are over 18, which I would say is a good warning.” —
They’ve grown up watching their parents drink Starbucks coffee, and WANT their own version. Heart palpitations aren’t likely to scare them off. Most brands target male teens and 20-somethings. Industry leader Red Bull, the first energy drink on the market, is now the “big arena band” of the bunch.” Monster is produced by Corona, Calif.-based Hansen Natural Corp.
How much caffeine do energy drinks contain? A Universityof Floridastudy found that some products, although served in cans two-thirds the size of a standard can of Coke, contain two to four times the amount of caffeine as that Coke. Energy drinks are unregulated in theUnited States, but the authors of theUniversity ofFlorida paper suggest warning labels for them.
And now energy drinks are moving toward bigger cans with the biggest, so far, is 24 ounces.
Think twice before sending your children out the door with an energy drink. Full of sugar and caffeine, energy drinks share the same health problems as soft drinks.
A Universityof Wisconsinstudy of 14 students found that two energy drink ingredients, caffeine and taurine, didn’t improve short-term memory but led to slower heart rates and higher blood pressure. Since some energy drink ingredients generally speed up heart rates, the researchers could only speculate on the cause. “Drink more than one and you get lots of sugar — 14 teaspoons in two cans, 21 teaspoons in three,” Be careful what you’re putting in your body as well as your children’s bodies. Health is something that you don’t want to take for granted. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Make sure you’re checked regularly as well.
Network Family Wellness CenterDanny Knowles D.C. and Richelle Knowles D.C. 1715 15th StreetBoulder, CO 80302(303) 998-1000
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