Why you should never put another can of Red Bull near your mouth again
Energy drinks are one of the most popular beverages in the world. with millions sold each year, it is undeniable that they are a force to be reckoned with. They’re easy to get a hold of, taste delicious and give that well-needed energy kick. But they hold many secrets which are explored below!
The beginning of energy drinks
Energy drinks were originally produced in Japan, created to enhance sports performance and keep Japanese businessmen at the top of their professional game. They were an immediate hit, and Europe caught on quickly as Red Bull was developed in Austria come the mid-1980’s .
Red Bull was the first form of energy drink introduced to the USA in 1997, a good ten years after it had its world debut in Austria, in 1987 .The USA is now the leading consumer of energy drinks, with approximately 1.5 billion cans of Red Bull being sold in 2004, this ‘highlights the enormity of the industry’.
In 2015 energy drink sales in US convenience stores had a whopping 8.5% unit increase in a 52-week investigation . The fact that energy drinks and their sales are still extremely high and continuing to grow brings to light any adverse side effects these popular beverages may have.
Energy Drinks Effects on Health
‘The term “energy drink” refers to beverages that contain caffeine in combination with other ingredients such as taurine, guarana, and B vitamins, and that claims to provide its consumers with extra energy’, which are ingredients that may be highly dangerous to our health .
Different brands of energy drinks contain various levels of caffeine, ranging from 50 to 505mg per can or bottle and the caffeine concentration being between 2.5 and 171 mg per fluid ounce. So that could be a dangerous amount of caffeine being consumed if you have more than one energy drink in a short amount of time .
Studies have briefly looked at the idea that caffeine has adverse side effects on your cardiovascular system. And although the results were not broad enough to have stricter rules placed on energy drinks, they did encourage some European countries such as Denmark and Norway to ban the selling of energy drinks.
Caffeine has also been argued to have similar characteristics to certain drugs such as alcohol or smoking as research has shown the side effects caffeine withdrawal may have. ‘A population-based serve revealed that 30% of a sample of 162 caffeine users fulfilled diagnostic criteria for substance dependence when applied to caffeine:, further proving the addictive side to energy drinks.
Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal may include intense headaches, nausea, fatigue, bad mood, difficulty concentrating, depression and muscle aching.
Unfortunately, the USA seems to have somewhat lax views on caffeine, and its side effects as the amount of caffeine and individual labels do not need to be put on energy drinks according to the FDA. They say that ‘For healthy adults, FDA has cited 400 milligrams a day—that’s about four or five cups of coffee—as an amount not associated with dangerous, negative effects’.
However, no guidelines for caffeine intake for adolescents or children have officially been put in place, nor how many energy drinks you can consume. It’s scary to think that most energy drink advertising targets young adults who could potentially cause caffeine dependence from a young age.