Reported as the fastest growing sector of the beverage market, energy drinks clocked in at $5.4 billion in 2006! They’re shiny, sugary and endorsed by professional athletes.  So it’s not really a surprise that drinks like Red Bull, Amp, and Rockstar are selling like hotcakes! People will actually believe that these drinks improve their performance. That is why every 1 out of 3 teens are chugging these barrels of sugar DAILY.

Okay, maybe they do keep you alert and energized, but at what cost? Cardiologist Dr. Ramin Manshadi says,

Some energy drinks have twice as much caffeine as coffee beans and can raise your heart rate and blood pressure.

Obviously, those are some things you just don’t want to mess with because it could lead to irregular heart beat and sudden death.

According to the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA),  those who enjoy downing one Jager Bomb after another are at higher risk because of what JAMA calls, “wide-awake drunkenness.” A US report states that the number of ER visits related to energy drinks has skyrocketed from 1,128 in 2005 to 13,114 in 2009, half of them involved mixing energy drinks with alcohol. Personally, I don’t think it’s the energy drinks fault: drunk people are going to do stupid stuff and get hurt regardless.

In my opinion, it’s the young kids who are at the hugest risk.  They can get addicted very easily. And when that happens, I wish you luck when trying to pry that aluminum can of sugar from their grubby hands and replace it with a tall glass of milk. Consequences of energy drinks displacing healthful beverages are dangerous. Dietitian Sarah Remmer says,

Long term, consuming caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

And let’s not forget about the population that probably consumes the most energy drinks of all: university students. During exam season, many students turn to energy drinks as an all-night fuel liquid. I completely understand why: professors are mean and give us too much material to learn, especially in the class before the exam! And I hate to admit it, but I’ve actually done just the same for my biochemistry exam last term… However, I realised that it didn’t matter how awake I was, my brain was just flat-out tired. I couldn’t study even if I had the energy to run a marathon.

Thankfully, the wheels of change are in motion. Energy drinks are no longer categorised as “natural health products,” which aren’t strictly regulated. Honestly, I can’t believe it was even labelled as that in the first place! Now, the jolt-inducing beverages are going to be controlled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). What does this mean? Nutrition panels on cans will finally be mandatory! It’s a small step, but definitely one in the right direction. With more information, consumers can make better choices. Then maybe… they’ll realise that water is the ultimate source of hydration and you can’t skip out on sleep if you want energy!