The Hidden Dangers of Energy Drinks

The 7 Questions You Need to Ask

energy drinks Have recent media reports citing the hidden dangers of energy drinks made you think twice about consuming them? If you believe energy drinks are no more dangerous than consuming a cup or two of caffeinated coffee, think again.

Over the past four years, the FDA has received consumer reports linking at least 18 deaths to the popular 5-Hour Energy and Monster Energy drinks.

During that same period, 5-Hour Energy was mentioned in 90 FDA filings that include other very serious health issues, including convulsions, heart attack and an unfortunate case of spontaneous abortion.

Of course, you must be wondering how something sold on grocery store shelves and advertised so constantly be so dangerous to your health. When it comes to health and commerce, unfortunately, the two couldn’t be further apart, as shown most recently in my article about corn and GMOs.

You have many more serious questions about “energy” drinks, especially if you have growing teenagers in your home drinking them on the go to stay alert.

What follows are some answers that may surprise you.

How much caffeine is contained in the average energy drink?

Based on a recent study of 27 products conducted by Consumer Reports, amounts vary greatly, from 6 mg. (for a “decaf” version) to 242 mg. (for an “extra strength” version).

Unfortunately, food labels don’t help with energy drinks. In the same study, Monster lists no caffeine amounts in their products, “citing no legal or commercial business requirement to do so.”

Of course, that doesn’t prevent drink marketers from describing their products as scientifically formulated or a killer energy brew.

What other health problems associated with energy drinks?

For one, sleep problems connected with consuming too many energy drinks were a major health problem for U.S. soldiers during their 2010 deployment in Afghanistan, according to a recent CDC study.

In fact, 45 percent of the soldiers reported consuming at least one energy drink a day, and those who drank three or more energy drinks daily were more likely to report less than four hours of sleep each night compared to those who drank less or none.

In another study, scientists determined the acidity levels of 22 energy and sports drinks they tested were so very high that “most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”

Even more alarming, emergency room visits related to energy drink consumption increased almost tenfold between 2005-09, and more than half of them involved young adults combining energy drinks with alcohol.

How do energy drinks slide by FDA regulations that limit the amount of caffeine in soft drinks and coffee?

Because many of them are (mis)labeled as supplements that are unregulated by the FDA, energy drinks can skate past caffeine limits, at least for the moment.

Are there other “energy” foods I should be worried about?

Yes! Frito-Lay just released a new line of caffeine-infused Cracker Jack’D Power Bites, and some brands of instant oatmeal, jelly beans, beef jerky, water flavorings and, even, sunflower seeds, contain it too.

Are there any differences between energy drinks and over-the-counter non-drowsy meds like NoDoz?

According to medical experts, both are “caffeine delivery systems,” but energy drinks come in sexier, more expensive packaging.

What are some safer, healthier alternatives to energy drinks?

energy drinks-questionsNow that you better understand how the hidden dangers of energy drinks can be so harmful to the health of you and your family, you’ll be relieved to know there are hundreds of safer, tasty alternatives to quench your thirst.

I’m a big fan of teas sold by Republic of Teas, Teavana and Rishi. Among those brands, there are hundreds of varieties of organic herbal and blended teas you can sample (green, white, rooibos, oolong).

Some have small amounts of caffeine, while others have none. I prefer whole-leaf teas, but not everyone can afford them (they are quite pricey!) and not as convenient as bagged teas. Even ones in bags are way better than any energy drink or soft drink, however.

Sweetened with a little stevia, a delicious tea is a delicious transition away from sodas and energy drinks.

Don’t care for tea? Adding a squeeze of your favorite citrus fruit (lime, lemon or orange) provides a splash of flavor to the healthiest drink of all: Clean, fresh water.

Are You Ready to Give Up the Juice For Good?

For some of you who really want to give up sodas and energy drinks, but haven’t because of the caffeine kick, you’ll need some extra nutritional support to help your body adjust to “giving up the juice.”

You’ll be surprised how quickly your body will adjust. Over the years, it has been amazing to watch the health of my clients improve almost overnight, a sure sign their once overworked adrenal glands are finally able to relax.

You can do it too.

If you’re ready to make optimal health a top priority in your life and need a partner to help you get there, please review my Natural Health Services page, then fill out the Contact Me form.

After receiving your email request, a free, 10-minute phone consultation will be scheduled, at your convenience, to help us get acquainted, and begin to your journey to a healthier, less caffeinated life, free from the hidden dangers of energy drinks.