They’re sugar bombs
The sugar content in energy drinks ranges from 21 to 34 grams per 8 ounce serving, and can come in the form of sucrose, glucose, or high fructose corn syrup. People who consume two or three energy drinks per day could be taking in 120 to 180 milligrams of sugar, which is 4 to 6 times the maximum recommended daily intake. Sugar raises blood glucose levels, causing your pancreas to release insulin, which increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
They could overwhelm your central nervous system
Energy drinks can overstimulate the central nervous system and cause restlessness, anxiety and irritability. The beverages typically contain up to 300 milligrams of caffeine, which can result in high blood pressure (hypertension) and increased heart rate (tachycardia). These effects can hinder body temperature regulation, reduce plasma volume and upset the vascular system.
People who consume energy drinks may experience caffeine withdrawal 12-24 hours after consumption, which includes symptoms such as headache, irritability and constipation. These symptoms can last up to nine days, depending on the person’s tolerance and number of energy drinks consumed. The latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) classifies caffeine withdrawal as a mental disorder which can significantly impair a person’s ability to function in daily life.
They can steal your sleep
Just like drinking coffee, tea, or any other source of caffeine, energy drink consumption can interfere with your sleep patterns. According to a study conducted at Walter Reed Army Hospital, people who consumed three or more energy drinks per day got an average of just four hours of sleep a night. Not surprisingly, the next day these individuals were fatigued, lacked focus, and would often fall asleep during routine tasks.
The amount of sugar contained in energy drinks is about the same as in soda. Sugar can cause significant weight gain in several ways. The liver contains a form of stored energy called glycogen. When the liver is maxed out on glycogen, fructose is turned into fat (another form of stored energy). Fructose can also turn off your body’s appetite-control system because it fails to stimulate insulin. Without insulin, the “hunger control hormone” called ghrelin, isn’t suppressed. The result is a lingering appetite and weight gain.
First, the FDA, European Food Safety Authority, and others have affirmed the safety of energy drinks and their ingredients. Second, most mainstream energy drinks actually have far less caffeine than a similar size coffeehouse coffee. In fact, many have about half as much. Even so, America’s leading energy drink manufacturers voluntarily go far beyond all federal requirements when it comes to responsible labeling and marketing practices, including displaying total caffeine content – from all sources – on their packages along with advisory statements indicating that the product is not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women and persons sensitive to caffeine.