Let's talk about energy drinks

Energy drinks are beverages that give us a kick to start the day, or a little afternoon perk when our energy is waning. Their demand has steadily increased over the past few years, as people become more dependent on the “oomph” boost. 

Energy drinks are sweetened, caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages. Because of their extremely high caffeine content, these pick-me-ups have a stimulating effect that boosts energy, alertness and performance.

Energy drinks usually contain taurine, guarana, ginseng, L-carnitine and glucuronolactone, as well as sweeteners. These are all stimulants and when mixed with alcohol, they also serve as a mood booster.

The risks of energy drinks

Researchers from the University of York and University College London found that children who consumedenergy drinks five or more days a week had lower psychological, physical, educational, and overall wellbeing. While you’re spoilt for choice in the market of energy drinks, there are many negative effects that outweigh their claims of healthy energy-boosting properties. 

Let’s learn a few health hazards that come with drinking energy drinks.

Irregular heartbeat 

This is a common symptom among regular caffeine and energy drink users. You may experience heart palpitations if you consume an energy drink that contains an excessive amount of this stimulant.

Caffeine intoxication

Acute caffeine intoxication comes from having too much caffeine. Vomiting, seizures and rapid heartbeat are amongst some of the common symptoms. While any source of caffeine can cause these effects, different types of energy drinks have much higher caffeine levels, increasing your chances of becoming caffeine intoxicated.

Increased blood pressure and glucose

Drinking energy drinks can raise systolic blood pressure in a short period of time. If you're trying to maintain a healthy blood pressure level, energy drinks should be off your menu. They also cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which is something you should be aware of if you’re diabetic.  

Alcohol and energy drinks combo

Certain alcoholic ciders may contain energy stimulants. Caffeine stimulation combined with the depressant effect of alcohol has been linked to a distorted perception of level of intoxication. This means, you’re not fully aware of how much you’re drinking, which can lead to dangerous behaviours like drunk driving.

Issues with fertility 

If you’re struggling to get pregnant, consider that energy drinks may be contributing to fertility issues. Ginseng is a root supplement used in herbal medicine and it’s common in energy drinks. For some people, ginseng can cause headaches, digestive issues and insomnia. If you're taking other herbal supplements or medications, like blood thinners or antipsychotics, talk to your doctor about the safety of ginseng for you. It may cause vaginal bleeding, diarrhoea, severe headaches and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare and serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes.

Up your energy in healthy ways

  • Eat an apple and somecheese for a protein- and carbohydrate-rich snack. Carbohydrates and protein from food are energy-producing nutrients that help you feel more energised by keeping your body's cells active.
  • Grab a piece of dark chocolate, which is high in antioxidants, flavonoids and caffeine, to help improve your brain function and mood.
  • Get seven to eight hours of good-quality sleep each night.
  • Move your body regularly to release tension and stress. This will help boost physical and mental energy.


This article is for informational purposes only. Always check with your doctor or medical practitioner about any health concerns, before embarking on any fitness or nutrition programme, and usage of any medication.