Energy drinks: worth the risk?

Energy drinks. To many students, they are an ally, a friend, a hero even. They can get a student through a three hour night class, or through an extra hour of studying. But is it worth the risk?

On the back of each Amp, Monster, Rockstar or Red Bull, there is a warning label. It’s small, hard to see, but it’s there. And it normally reads something like; “Not recommended for individuals under 18 years of age, or those sensitive to caffeine. Limit caffeine intake to 400 milligrams per day.”

One 16 ounce Full Throttle energy drink contains 200 milligrams, one 16 ounce Amp contains 142 milligrams, and a 16 ounce Monster contains 160 milligrams. So, if you drink two of these drinks you’re pushing the recommended limit for caffeine intake. The consumer needs to monitor how they are feeling after they drink one.

Matthew Gardner, a freshman here at SC4 said, “I drink around 20 energy drinks a month. They help me maintain a level of focus that, without energy drinks, would not exist. They help boost my mood and motivate me.” However, Gardner did cite a few side effects, including minor shaking and twitches of his hands.

I myself have taken energy pills, shots, drinks, and even those strip things that you stick on your tongue. I’ve had nosebleeds from excessive energy drink use, rapid heartbeat, occurrences of tunnel vision, flushed skin, headaches and nausea. Various medical professionals have described similar symptoms in articles on websites such as WebMD, and Medical Daily. They also mention the worse long term effects, prolonged use can lead to cardiac arrest, diabetes and insomnia.

But the key word is always “excessive.”

Drinking seven Monsters in a day, that’s asking for trouble. Taking six or so 5-hour Energy shots is just ridiculous. Just like alcohol or any substance, the user needs to know his or her limits. If you have a heart condition, don’t drink caffeine filled drinks. The consumer needs to take action and react responsibly.

 

Alex Olson
Staff Writer

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