'It’s a staple for many college students. Pulling an all-nighter to get that paper in – surrounded by cans and junk food wrappers. We’ve all seen it on the television even if we haven’t indulged ourselves. These carbonated beverages often keep college kids able to function between classes, socializing, and at work. But, at what cost?
Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages marketed to improve energy, stamina, athletic performance, and concentration. Categorized as “functional beverages” alongside sports drinks and nutraceuticals, the stimulant beverage industry has grown dramatically in the past 20 years. In 2015 alone, the United States saw over $9.7 billion in sales, and that number grows each year. The target consumer market for energy drinks is adolescents and young adults.
One study found that 51% of college students report consuming at least one energy drink each month. This is problematic, as there is lots of recent evidence to suggest these drinks can cause a myriad of problems. Manufacturers of energy drinks claim that these beverages are beneficial in that they can boost energy, and can improve physical and cognitive performance. However, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support these claims. On the other hand, there is emerging evidence that they are associated with a number of health issues. (1, 2, 3, 4)
Energy Drinks and Heart Attacks
There is growing evidence to suggest that drinking too many energy drinks can contribute to heart problems, and could even cause heart attacks. This is worse with people who have underlying structural heart disease, inherited heart-related problems, and abuse of other substances in addition to energy drinks. It doesn’t just occur with these people though. It may be assumed the elevated risk is due to high levels of caffeine. However, these drinks also often contain things like guarana, taurine, theophylline, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, vitamins, and L-carnitine. These can increase the risk of heart attacks, especially when ingested with alcohol.'
Read more: Scientists Issue Warning Against Energy Drinks: They Can Cause Stroke, Heart Attack, Blood Clots and More
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