Getting Buzzed

 

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Energy Drinks – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Energy drinks are “dietary supplements” they are not food.  And as such, they do not require FDA approval before marketing.  “Bigger – Better – Faster – Stronger” An energy drink can make almost any claim about effects or performance as long as they do not claim to treat, prevent or cure a disease.  And the claims they do make, do not have to be scientifically proven.

Caffeine is a stimulant that, in high doses, can cause increases in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, anxiety and even panic attacks.

There is no limit on the amount of caffeine an energy drink can legally contain.  While caffeine is a substance that can be intentionally added to a drink, there are other stimulants such as guarana, yerba mate, bitter orange extract and kola nut extract which are also stimulants.

The tricky thing is, caffeine and other stimulant ingredients are often listed as part of an “energy blend,” making it difficult to determine just how much a drink contains.  What exactly is 1870mg of “energy blend”?

What it may be is a whole lotta trouble! 

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Just how much caffeine is in that Venti Mocha, Double-Shot Semi-dry Macchiato?

We strongly recommend that most everyone not consume more than 300-400 mg of caffeine, from all sources, per day.  Here’s a chart with the caffeine content of some common beverages.  For other foods or drinks, check out CaffeineInformer

 

 

 

Drink

Caffeine Content

Amount Required to  Reach Caffeine Limit

“Typical” regular coffee 65 – 120 mg per 8 oz cup 3 – 5 cups
Redline Extreme 316 mg per 8 oz bottle 1 bottle
Starbucks brewed coffee 330 mg  per “Grande” (16 oz) 1 cup
Monster 160 mg per 16 oz can 2 cans
Spike Shooter 300 mg per 8.4 oz can 1 can
Red Bull 80 mg per8 oz 4 cans
5 Hour Energy shot The company does not reveal caffeine content Less than 1? Unknown
Black tea 50 mg per 8 oz cup 6 cups
FRS Energy drink 48 mg per 8.4 oz can 6 cans

 

 

There’s a lot of myths about caffeine and energy drinks’ affects on adults.  Consider the following information and incorporate it into your daily living.

TRUE or FALSE?  Caffeine in moderation is safe for most adults.  TRUE.  Up to 300 mg/day (about 3 small cups of regular coffee) is safe for most adults.  Children should limit caffeine to less than 100 mg/day (but why give kids caffeine anyway!)CAUTION: While most healthy people can tolerate 400mg caffeine per day, there have been rare cases of severe reactions to excess energy drinks, including stomach ulceration and bleeding, seizures, cardiac arrest and worsening of psychiatric conditions.
TRUE or FALSE?  I can drink coffee or energy drinks and fall asleep, so caffeine must not affect me.  FALSE.  The effects of caffeine can last 6 hours or more, and it can disturb sleep in different ways.  Studies show that even those who fall asleep easily after caffeine still have less restful, lower quality sleep.
TRUE or FALSE?  The B vitamins are the main source of energy in energy drinks.  FALSE.  The stimulating effects of caffeine, especially when combined with sugar, are the main sources of energy.  While B vitamins are necessary for energy metabolism, most Americans aren’t deficient in B vitamins, and excess B vitamins are usually excreted.
TRUE or FALSE?  There’s no problem drinking low-carb or sugar-free energy drinks FALSE.  Low-carb or sugar-free energy drinks contain caffeine, and excess caffeine can have negative effects.  The acid in energy drinks, like that in sodas and fruit drinks, can cause tooth erosion even without sugar.
TRUE or FALSE?  Drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks will reduce the inebriating effects of alcohol.  FALSE.  Combining energy drinks and alcohol can make a person “feel” more sober (“wide-awake drunk”), leading them to take more risks such as driving under the influence, but it does not negate any of the effects of alcohol.

 

 If you’re going to consume Energy Drinks, do so safely…

  • Do not exceed 400mg total caffeine per day.
  • Read and understand warning labels.
  • Do not mix energy drinks with alcohol and with other stimulants.
  • Avoid energy drinks or any other caffeine sources within 6 hours before expected bedtime.
  • Don’t consume energy drinks during or immediately before exercising – drink water or sports drinks instead.
  • If you have hypertension or a heart condition, consult a health care practitioner before consuming energy drinks.