Energy drinks are known for their high caffeine content, which often tops that of soda and even coffee. But they seem to affect people’s hearts and blood pressure differently than other caffeinated beverages, suggests a small new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
In the study, researchers divided 18 men and women into two groups. Half were given a 32-ounce commercially available energy drink with 320 mg of caffeine, as well as other ingredients like taurine and ginseng (both dietary supplements). People in the other group were given a soda-like control drink of the same size that contained the same amount of caffeine with a bit of lime juice, cherry syrup and carbonated water. After six days, the groups switched and drank the other beverage.
When people drank energy beverages, their blood pressure remained elevated for more than six hours. The researchers believe that could mean that the other ingredients in energy drinks may alter blood pressure beyond the effects of caffeine alone.
“What the growing body of evidence is pointing to is that there are effects on the heart that are different than caffeine alone,” says study author Emily Fletcher, a deputy pharmacy flight commander from David Grant U.S.A.F. Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California. “Consumers should be aware that drinking an energy drink is not the same as drinking coffee or soda.”
Fletcher says that the findings suggest people should approach energy drinks with some caution, especially those who have risk factors for heart issues. “I would recommend only moderate consumption of energy drinks and particular avoidance in people with underlying cardiac disease or hypertension,” says Fletcher, “or during activities that would also increase your blood pressure and heart rate, such as exercise or sports.”
Sugar nor caffeine is not bad in moderation, but diet drinks which artificial sweeteners are extremely bad. Aspartame crosses the blood brain barrier and is suggested to be a cumulative substance.
However little in the way of rigorous science apart from one study that showed no short term effects in a sample of 48 volunteers, The study noted that it was impossible to get those reporting side effects to take part. As such it did not address self-observed sensitivity. As most of the negative stories are regarding long term effects it's value is not great. I drink maybe 2 or 3 small (150ml or 5oz cans of normal coke a month) and a lot of espresso.
If they contain ginseng that is bad enough, I can't take that even in its natural form, nor more than a couple of coffees a week, ginger or chocolate. Caffeine is not an ongoing stimulant, after the first few doses, the effects wear of, and all it does then, after it has created a dependency is to return you to the state of a none caffeine drinker. Better never to take it at all, or stick to a very weak form like tea.
I have never been a fan of coffee or any sodas. I don't deal well with carbonated beverages, never have. I used to drink the 5 hour energy drinks but decided they were too expensive. I do drink gallons of water a day, I figure I'm getting extra steps with the potty runs. If I need the pick up I pop caffeine pills. Sometimes I have coffee with enough cream and sugar I can gag it down.I had an overdose of caffeine at a very bad time once, I went over 36 hours without sleep and an ER trip, I had a really erratic heartbeat not to mention it mimicked a panic attack. Lesson learned.I tend to avoid anything with ingredients I cannot pronounce, and I have a big vocabulary. As close to the way it comes from nature is my motto, consume less from factories. I think it is healthier and saves a crap ton of money.
My attitude is that stimulants are like borrowing from your future. The mild ones will just make you need sleep more after a while. The heavy ones will debilitate you. The way I look at it, my future is getting shorter enough all on it's own; no need to hasten the process!
I’ve little experience with energy drinks ... but you had me at “soda pop”
I’ve not noticed the ..heart failure crowd sucking down energy drinks, mainly ‘our youth.’ I wonder how it affects youngsters? Negatively, I’m sure
...thanks for the relevant details and warning ~
I only drank an energy drink once. It was to buck me up to take another ski run. What happened:
In the ski area every sign was blue: the international sign for an intermediate run. Since my goggles were fogged up, I kept going and WHAM!
Fell down a triple-black-diamond run for ski experts with a death wish. I was toast. To get off that horrible steep run, I went sideways out-of-bounds. Dragging orange tape, I staggered into the lodge traumatized.
Also, the only one I ever had tasted just awful, which was reason enough for me never again to waste $4.99 on 2.5 ounces of unidentified ooze in a tiny bottle. (I never tried the bigger ones, but they're an even bigger waste.)
Thanks for the scientific backing for my instinctive prejudice!