What is the fastest growing beverage on the market? What current beverage is popular with young adults and athletes who want to award off drowsiness, decrease mental fatigue or improve their athletic performance? What drink has some people questioning the safety of this beverage due to its high levels of caffeine and other added ingredients?
Energy drinks are the answers to the above questions. Energy drinks are beverages that contain caffeine and other ingredients such as guarana, taurine, and other vitamins and/or minerals. They claim to provide the consumer with extra energy. The term "energy drink" was created by makers of the beverage industry and is not supported by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As a matter of fact, energy drinks fall under the classification of supplements. In the United States, nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and without control over the caffeine content and many of the ingredients used in these beverages, the public cannot be assured of its safety. Many of the ingredients listed on these nutrition labels have not been well-studied.
Energy drinks usually have very high doses of caffeine, ranging from 90 to 500 milligrams per serving. In comparison, an average 8-ounce serving of a soft drink and a cup of coffee contains 24 and 85 milligrams of caffeine respectively. This means that one 8-ounce energy drink can have as much caffeine as 14 cans of cola! For most healthy adults the American Dietetic Association states that moderate amounts of caffeine (200 to 300 milligrams per day, or about 2 to 3 cups of coffee) is not associated with adverse health effects. However, a high consumption of caffeine can be linked to side effects, such as disrupted sleep, dehydration, a decrease in bone mass, high blood pressure, kidney damage, seizures, and stroke.
There are healthier beverage options available for us to drink. Besides the high caffeine content the high energy drinks have, they also have a large amount of added sugars. Check the label to see exactly what you are drinking. Whether you are an athlete or a student hitting the books, the best drink for hydration is water."