Energy drinks should be properly labeled and regulated by the government, according to various health experts. NBC News reports that the beverages, which are popular with children and adults alike, contain an extraordinarily high amount of caffeine. As a result, these drinks could pose a serious threat to your overall well-being.
Although these products are currently for sale to anyone with enough cash to carry one home, drug expert Mike Gimbel explained that energy drinks do pose a risk to those who consume them on a regular basis.
“The problem is the caffeine level on these drinks keeps getting larger and larger and larger because of the combination of pure caffeine and the herbal supplements. So when you think of say two plus two, it’s two plus 10,” Gimbel explained.
While adults are putting themselves in the harm’s way by downing these caffeine-saturated drinks on a regular basis, Gimbel warns that it’s ultimately the children who will suffer the most from the contents of these energy drinks. Considering that the size of these beverages seem to be getting bigger and bigger every year, the dangers are increasing at a rapid pace.
“You end up with more caffeine then you ever could imagine. Well, more than the body should have, and the way kids are drinking these drinks, (the drink sizes are) they’re getting larger, and larger and larger,” Gimbel said.
An FDA investigation into the safety of energy drinks was prompted by the death of 14-year-old Anais Fournier. The teenager’s parents have taken their case to court, suing the manufacturers of the Monster energy drink for negligence and wrongful death. As a result of the lawsuit, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to see what kind of effects these beverages are having on those who consume them.
According to MSNBC, no less than four other deaths have been attributed to energy drinks. Not surprisingly, the FDA is worried about the long-term health issues that may arise from frequent ingestion of these popular drinks.
However, Monster Beverage, who saw their stocks plummet as a result of the lawsuit, stands behind their product. “[The company] does not believe that its beverages are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier” and said it intends to vigorously defend itself in the case. The company added that it’s “unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks,” a spokesperson explained.
Although companies are claiming their energy drinks are safe for children, Yahoo! News reports that this may not be the case. In fact, the beverages, which contain powerful caffeine-saturated solutions, could be dangerous to the heart health of the kids who gravitate towards them.
Dr. Steven Lipshultz, professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, explained that kids who believe the beverages will give them extra energy and help with weight loss are being seriously misled. In fact, the high amounts of sugar contained in most of these drinks could, in fact, cause the children to gain unwanted pounds.
“In the absence of a benefit, these drinks shouldn’t be something that kids use,” Lipshultz explained. “There is no safe dose.”
According to Dr. John Higgins, associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, energy drinks such as those offered by Monster Beverage can cause the flow of blood through the coronary arteries to slow down, preventing much-needed oxygen and nutrients from reaching the heart. What’s more, the caffeine in these drinks can cause problems with the consumer’s heartbeat, which may result in arrhythmia.
“What you have is a situation where your heart rate and blood pressure go up, and the heart would need to dilate those arteries because it’s working harder, but instead it’s impaired — they don’t dilate. It’s sluggish, slower,” Dr. Higgins stated.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that children should ingest no more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is roughly the equivalent of an eight-ounce cup of coffee. Given the large amount of caffeine contained within most energy drinks, expert believe parents should pay attention to what their children are putting into their bodies each and every day.
It’s currently unknown what sort of impact the Monster Beverage lawsuit will have on the energy drink market. Should the company be held responsible for the 14-year-old’s death, it could mean that the government will step in to regulate the sale of such products.
Do you think energy drinks are safe and healthy?