Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Buzz About Energy Drinks

04.03.2005


When pop princess Britney Spears needs a pick-me-up, she turns to a popular energy drink for a quick boost. Red Bull mixed with apple juice, she has said, “really pumps me up.”

And that’s the idea. Highly caffeinated energy drinks – such as Red Bull, Go-Fast! and Monster – market themselves as sources of increased energy and concentration. Their websites feature high-flying motorcyclists and upside-down skateboarders as dynamic embodiments of all that concentrated energy.

But are these drinks good for you? Maher Karam-Hage, M.D., an addiction specialist at the University of Michigan Health System, raises some concerns about the beverages, particularly when they are mixed with alcohol, ingested before intensive exercise or used by children. “In the United States, these energy drinks have not had any warnings. In Europe, it’s been more cautionary,” says Karam-Hage, medical director of the Chelsea-Arbor Treatment Center, a joint program of the U-M Health System and Chelsea Community Hospital. He notes that France has banned some of the drinks and other countries have placed restrictions on them. “In this country, our advertisements for these drinks and the marketing are ahead of the science.”



The energy drinks typically contain sugar, caffeine (often 80 mg per can, about the same as a cup of coffee), and taurine, a sulfur-containing amino acid. Some countries have raised concerns about the amount of caffeine in the drinks and the uncertain health effects of taurine. Energy drinks are different from sports drinks, which tend not to have caffeine or taurine and are lower in carbohydrates.

While Karam-Hage stops short of saying people never should consume energy drinks, he says that mixing them with alcohol is dangerous and should be avoided. “The best analogy I can come up with is it’s the same as driving a car, putting one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes,” he says of combining the stimulants in caffeine and the intoxicating effects of alcohol.

Mixing alcohol and caffeine is nothing new – think of the people who try to sober up by drinking coffee after a night at the bar – but Karam-Hage says the belief that caffeine makes someone alert after drinking alcohol is a myth. “You feel a little bit more alert and a little more awake, but in reality, your reflexes are not changed whatsoever. You’re still intoxicated,” he says. “And that’s exactly the same problem that happens with energy drinks: people drink more and feel like, ‘oh, I can handle a bit more alcohol then.’ ”

When people consume these beverages before intensive exercise, he says, they should be aware of the effects the drinks have on people’s bodies. They can put a strain on the body due to the caffeine and, in some of the beverages, other diuretics. These can cause dehydration or even collapse, particularly if people drink more than one can before exercising, Karam-Hage says.

He is particularly concerned about the popularity of the drinks among young people. The beverages can cause children to be hyperactive, fidgety or even rageful, he says. And because the drinks are so small in size, people may be inclined to drink more than one at a time, he says. “Most of us wouldn’t really let our children drink two or three or even four cups of coffee, but children go to the store around the corner and find energy drinks,” he says. “That can be dangerous.”

Facts about energy drinks:

  • Most energy drinks contain caffeine, often about 80 mg per can (about the same as one cup of brewed coffee and more than the amount in two cans of Coca-Cola)
  • Taurine, which the body produces on its own, is a sulfur-containing amino acid often marketed as an antioxidant, anti-anxiety treatment and a heartbeat regulator, but some scientists and health care providers say it is unclear what effect it has
  • Caffeine will not reduce the effects of alcohol

For more information, visit these web sites:

U-M Health Topics A-Z: Caffeine and athletic performance
www.med.umich.edu/1libr/sma/sma_caffeine_sma.htm

U-M Health Topics A-Z: Pre-competition meals
www.med.umich.edu/1libr/sma/sma_compeat_sma.htm

The effects of caffeine on children
kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/nutrition/caffeine.html

The effects caffeine has on people’s bodies:
www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002445.htm

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.med.umich.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>