Drinking sugary caffeinated energy drinks is more dangerous that caffeine alone, a research study claims. A research study found that consuming four cans of energy drinks resulted in an increase in blood pressure within two hours.
Researchers discovered that drinking 32 ounces (about a liter) of any commercially-available energy drinks resulted in a massive change in the heart rate and blood pressure.
Each of energy drinks available commercially is packed with 108 grams of sugar and 320 mg of caffeine. Most experts agree that the maximum caffeine an adult should consume is about 400 mg. Energy drinks also contain “natural substances” such as taurine, ginseng, and carnitine.
According to the Daily Mail, the research study found that the impact from drinking a non-sugar caffeinated beverage, such as coffee, didn’t have such an effect on the heart.
“We decided to study energy drinks’ potential heart health impact because previous research has shown 75 percent of the base’s military personnel have consumed an energy drink,” Dr. Emily Fletcher revealed.
Her team said that there are more than 500 different energy drinks on the market worldwide and a spike in emergency room visits prompted the study to determine their safety.
The study had 18 participants that they divided into two groups.
The first group received 946 ml of energy drinks, while the second group drank a control drink, which contained 320 mg of caffeine, 40 ml of lime juice, and 140 ml of cherry syrup (sugar).
They monitored all participants by electrocardiogram and their blood pressure at one, two, four, six, and 24 hours after having the caffeinated beverage.
Much to their surprise, the energy drink group showed signs that their heart was “pausing” for 10 milliseconds in between beats. While 10 milliseconds is not significant, it would be much more pronounced if you drank three, four, or even five energy drinks in a short time.
“It’s the pause from the end of the electrical impulse generating the heart to beat to the next impulse. If this time interval, which is measured in milliseconds, is either too short or too long, it can cause the heart to beat abnormally. The resulting arrhythmia can be life threatening.”
According to NBC News, Dr. Fletcher noted that some medications increase the risk for the heart to pause up to six milliseconds, but they have warnings on the medicine bottle. However, there is no warning on energy drinks that caution consumers that it could increase blood pressure.
“Those who consumed the energy drinks still had a mildly elevated blood pressure after six hours,” Dr. Fletcher said. “This suggests that ingredients other than caffeine may have some blood pressure altering effects, but this needs further evaluation.”
“This is a small study and further studies are needed to confirm these results.”
Gavin Partington, the director of British Soft Drinks Association, said that the caffeine in energy drinks is no different than in coffee. He added that he found the findings in the study “odd.”
“The European Food Safety Authority latest opinion confirms the safety of energy drinks and their ingredients and therefore does not provide any scientific justification to treat energy drinks any differently to the main contributors to daily caffeine intake including tea, coffee, and chocolate,” Partington explained.
“It’s also worth remembering that coffees from popular high street chains contain the same or more caffeine than most energy drinks.”
Dr. Fletcher stands by her research study and believes there should be a warning on all caffeinated beverages so the consumer knows the risk before drinking.
Gavin Partington doesn’t think a warning is necessary. He points out that caffeine is in other food products, such as chocolate.
Do you think energy drinks are dangerous? Are you surprised by Dr. Fletcher’s research study’s findings?
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