Energy in a can

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Any beverage requiring an “acquired taste” is usually not worth drinking. Acrid energy drinks, with their health consequences, are no exception.

Marketers prey on students’ busy schedules, creating advertisements depicting dirt bike tricksters or snowboarders doing flips and jumps with a branded energy drink in one hand. Additionally, the cans boast B-vitamin and herb content to create the deceiving illusion that these concoctions are healthy.

There are very small traces of vitamins and herbs in energy drinks, which are unnecessary supplements for a consumer with a healthy diet. The cans are heaped with sugar to create an immediate energy rush and conceal the bitter taste of a massive amount of caffeine. Within an hour of consumption, the caffeine kicks in to stimulate the central nervous system, which makes the consumer more alert and gives them a burst of energy. It also affects the kidneys, increasing urination, which can lead to dehydration if an adequate amount of water is not consumed, which is why energy drinks should not be used before any physical activity.

Caffeine creates a physical addiction. Withdrawal symptoms commence 12 to 24 hours after the last dose and can consist of a headache, irritability, restlessness, fatigue, depression, nausea and vomiting.

According to the Mayo Clinic, nine out of 10 Americans regularly consume caffeine, making it the most prevalent behavior-altering drug. While older generations were resolved to the idea that they were not really awake before their morning cup of coffee, younger generations are guzzling energy drinks at a frightening speed. While a typical 8-ounce cup of coffee brewed at home has between 65 and 100 milligrams of caffeine, an average energy drink comes in a 16-ounce can with 160 to 250 milligrams of caffeine. Wired X505 boasts 505 milligrams of caffeine in their 23.5-ounce drink.

The amount of caffeine needed to overdose depends on the consumer’s weight and sensitivity to caffeine and ranges between 250 to 500 milligrams. A caffeine overdose is characterized by restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, gastrointestinal disturbance, muscle twitching, rambling flow of thoughts, cardiac arrhythmia-even death.

Wired Passion Fruit with Calcium comes in a black and pink can. The manufacturers of this drink donate some proceeds to breast cancer research, while you stress your heart. Energy drinks can cause high blood pressure in people that regularly drink two 16-ounce cans per day. The drinks also speed up your heart rate, putting extra stress on your heart, which may lead to long-term health problems.

With our society’s quick-fix mentality, drugs are prevalent as “cures” and one can become desensitized to the cautionary words “may cause,” especially when energy drinks boast vitamins and herbs as another marketing ploy to appear healthy. However, there are not enough for the drink to be looked at as a supplement. A healthy diet should supply all of the vitamins that you need. Also, some energy-inducing herbs can counteract prescriptions, such as acne medication. A nutritionist or medical professional should be able to give you the best idea of your individual nutritional needs.

There are healthy alternatives to boost energy. Eat a healthy diet, take any necessary herbal supplements or multivitamins, exercise regularly and try to get a good night’s sleep. Listening to your body’s needs now may prove worthwhile in the long run.

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