Energy drinks differ from soft drinks and sports drinks. Soft drinks have less caffeine and contain sugar or fake sweeteners. Sports drinks can have vitamins, sugar, and carbs, typically they are used to fuel workouts.
Most energy drinks list caffeine and vitamins as the main ingredients. Energy drinks have anywhere form 100 to 250 mg of caffeine per cup compared to coffee which has about 100 mg of caffeine per cup. They also contain a lot of added stimulants, which are claimed to help energy and focus.
- Guarana- Used to decrease tiredness, improve mental speed, promote weight loss and increase sexual desire.
- Ginseng- Used to help reduce stress, strengthen muscles, and improve endurance.
- Taurine- Used to improve memory and endurance.
- Synephrine- Used to promote weight loss.
- L-carnitine l-tartrate (LCLT). Supplement used to increase memory, energy and speed.
- Yerba mate. An herb used to prevent tiredness and improve mood.
- St. John’s Wort. An herb used to reduce stress and improve mood.
- Gingko. An herb used to increase focus and prevent tiredness.
These herbs and supplements are not always harmful by themselves, but combined together with caffeine, they can cause health issues.
A big problem with energy drinks is that there is little control from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and there are no laws on the product label. This means many ingredients have not been tested right and may not list the correct amount of caffeine.
Some problems that may arise from consuming energy drinks are headaches, stomach aches, or diarrhea, chest pain, anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, dental issues, weight gain and diabetes. More severe issues are addiction and withdrawal to energy drinks, high blood pressure, seizures, and heart problems (many people report rapid heartbeat which can be linked to uneven heartbeats or heart failure.
It is important to not consume energy drinks, or to limit the amount of energy drinks consumed. There are few regulations on energy drinks, therefore the complications and health issues that may occur should not be taken lightly.