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Energy Drinks, the facts PDF Print E-mail
So what is the hype over energy drinks and what's in them?

That's exactly what it is, .......... HYPEActive Image
And what's in them?

Well, the main ingredients are SUGAR and CAFFEINE.

And below are some of the other ingredients you may find in popular energy drinks and what they do in the body:
  • Ephedrine - A stimulant that works on the central nervous system. It is a common ingredient in weight-loss products and decongestants, but there have been concerns about its effects on the heart.
  • Taurine- A natural amino acid produced by the body that helps regulate heart beat and muscle contractions. Many health experts aren't sure what effect it has as a drink additive (and the rumor that taurine comes from bull testicles is false).
  • Ginseng - A root believed by some to have several medicinal properties, including reducing stress and boosting energy levels.
  • B-Vitamins - A group of vitamins that can convert sugar to energy and improve muscle tone.
  • Guarana seed - A stimulant that comes from a small shrub native to Venezuela and Brazil.
  • Carnitine - An amino acid that plays a role in fatty acid metabolism.
  • Creatine - An organic acid that helps supply energy for muscle contractions.
  • Inositol - A member of the vitamin B complex (not a vitamin itself, because the human body can synthesize it) that helps relay messages within cells in the body.
  • Ginkgo biloba- Made from the seeds of the ginkgo biloba tree, thought to enhance memory.

­Looking at the ingredients, energy drinks appear to be part soft drink and part nutritional supplement. According to reviewers, the taste falls within the same range. People who have tried energy drinks have described the taste as ranging from "medicinal" to "molten Sweet Tart."

Active ImageAlthough the manufacturers claim that energy drinks can improve your endurance, health experts disagree and any boost you get from drinking them, is solely from the sugar and caffeine.

Caffeine works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical involved in sleep. When caffeine blocks adenosine, it causes neurons in the brain to fire. Thinking the body is in an emergency, the pituitary gland initiates the body's "fight or flight" response by releasing adrenaline. This hormone makes the heart beat faster and the eyes dilate. It also causes the liver to release extra sugar into the bloodstream for energy. Caffeine affects the levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain's pleasure center. All of these physical responses make you feel as though you have more energy.

Although energy drinks are generally considered safe, like most things, you should drink them in moderation. Because caffeine is a stimulant -- consuming a lot of it can lead to heart palpitations, anxiety and insomnia -- it also can make you feel jittery and irritable. Over time, caffeine can become addictive. It is also a diuretic -- it causes the kidneys to remove extra fluid into the urine. That leaves less fluid in the body. so drinking an energy drink while you're exercising can  be particularly dangerous. The combination of the diuretic effect and sweating can severely dehydrate you.

This is particularly worse for young children as their bodies are much smaller and therefore can only take a fraction of the amount an adult can withstand before they succumb to any of the the effects that may be caused by the chemical contents.

Consider this 

"Other ingredients can also be problematic - For example, the stimulant ephedrine,Active Imagewhich is also an ingredient in many decongestants, can cause heart problems and In 2001, two California high school students fainted after ingesting energy drinks containing ephedrine. Because very little research has been done on the long-term health effects of consuming excess amounts of taurine and other ingredients in energy drinks, many health experts advise pregnant women and young children to avoid them"

Red Bull Banned!

"Did you know? Red Bull may be the best selling energy drink in the United States, but it isn't so popular in other countries.  In 2000, the French government decided to ban Red Bull after the brand was linked to the death of an 18-year-old Irish athlete. The teenager died after drinking four cans of Red Bull at a game.  French laws dictate the maximum amount of caffeine that companies can add to products, and Red Bull exceeds that limit. Denmark and Norway have also banned the drink. Other countries, such as Canada, require the can to carry a warning label for pregnant women and children".

Put Simply
These drinks are not suitable for children and especially children involved in exercise where they sweat and are therefore prone to dehydration.  In most cases power drinks just make a child hyperactive and further accelerate dehydration.   This problem is then made worse when the drinks effects wear off and the child suffers withdrawal symptoms due to the caffeine addiction which can be compounded further by the higher than normal levels of chemicals in their small bodies causing organs to work at their maximum imparting extra stress and strains on the body. 

These drinks can represent a real danger, in particular to the health of small children.



And finally
The sugar in an 8 ounce can ranges from 5 to 8 teaspoons and usually accounts for 100% of the carbohydrates (80 – 130 calories). The RDA for sugar is no more than 6 – 7 teaspoons of sugar for each 2000 calories consumed. 

So one small tin/bottle of energy drink contains all of the sugar you should eat in your diet for a whole day!

Did you know that Caffeine and Sugar are also the main ingredients in Coca Cola and many of the more popular fizzy pops?

Caffeine is also found in tea and coffee but contrary to popular belief tea does not contain more caffeine than coffee, it actually contains about half the amount compared to instant coffee and a third of filter coffee.  A cup of regular coffee (not a mug) has 133 mg of caffeine whereas Coke or Pepsi has 35 to 38 mg, so if you work that out it means a mug of coffee contains about 4 times the caffeine or

1 x mug of Coffee = 4 x Cans of Coca Cola

Energy Drinks, other drinks, caffeine and the symptoms
Drinking, Power drinks, Cola, Fizzy pop, Coffee and Tea are not good for children and can lead to caffeine addiction followed by withdrawal, causing symptoms including (but not limited to): Hyperactivity, Muscle Stiffness, Headaches, Difficulty Concentrating, Anxiety, Chills and/or hot spells, Restlessness, Difficulty sleeping, Nausea, Anxiety, Flushed face, Accelerated Heatbeat and Behavioural problems. 

Symptoms include (but not limited to): Loss of appetite, Fatigue, Weakness, Muscle cramps, Headaches, Nausia, chills, Accelerated Heatbeat and Tingling of limbs.

Research in America has found 
"consuming even as little as one or two sodas (cans of pop) per day is undeniably connected to a myriad of pathologies. The most commonly associated health risks are obesity, diabetes and other blood sugar disorders, tooth decay, osteoporosis and bone fractures, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, food addictions and eating disorders, neurotransmitter dysfunction from chemical sweeteners, and neurological and adrenal disorders from excessive caffeine" Source

Our advice - DRINK WATER !
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