Despite previous health warning,energy drink consumption is still on the rise. In the UK alone, the sales of energy drinks increased by 155% between 2006 and 2014.But new research suggests that the fizzy drinks – like Red Bull,Monster and Lucozade – can cause mental health problems and kidney damage.Children in particular should be banned from buying energy drinks because they can cause high blood pressure, heart problems and obesity on top of rotting teeth.According to a study, published in Frontiers in Public Health, the caffeine-laden beverages can slo fuel risk-seeking behaviour like alcohol and drugs abuse, accidents and violence.
Nutritionist Dr Josiemer Mattei, of Harvard University, said: "The energy drink industry has grown dramatically in the past 20 years, culminating in a nearly $10billion per year industry in the United States."They are often marketed as a healthy beverage that people can adopt to improve their energy, stamina, athletic performance and concentration, but our review shows there are important health consequences and little is known about many of their non-nutritive stimulants such as guarana and taurine."Some energy drinks can contain up to 100mg caffeine in every fluid ounce – eight times more than a regular cup of coffee at 12mgs.They are also very high in sugar, which is why they contribute to weight gain.
Researchers found that the beverages can lead people to behave different by abusing substances, acting aggressive and suffering from mental health problems in the form of anxiety and stress.But they also effect the body by increasing blood pressure, obesity, kidney damage, fatigue, stomach aches and irritation.
Dr Mattei said: ”We summarise the consequences of energy drink consumption, which include heart, kidney and dental problems, as well as risk-seeking behaviour and poor mental health."The evidence suggests they are harmful to health and should be limited through more stringent regulation by restricting their sales to children and adolescents, as well as setting an evidence based upper limit on the amount of caffeine."
The health expert and her team of graduate researchers also looked into the effects of mixing energy drinks with alcohol.It often leads people to drink more alcohol, compared to if they were drinking booze alone.It's believed that the buzz from energy drinks can mask the signs of inebriation, raising the risk of dehydration and alcohol poisoning.
Dr Mattei added: "Our review is limited because there are a small number of studies in this area and they primarily focus on healthy young adults, assessed at one point in time."Future research should explore the effects of the energy drink constituents we know less about, such as taurine, and consider long term assessments across a broader range of the population to examine the effects of energy drink consumption over time."However, we conclude there is currently enough evidence to suggest the negative health consequences of drinking energy drinks outweigh any potential short-term benefits."
Last year a survey led by Durham University, involving 16 European countries including the UK, found 68% of youngsters aged 11 to 18 and almost 20% of under 10s drink energy drinks-sometimes downing a litre in a single session.
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