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 Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>