Energy drinks have become quite popular in America in the last few decades. It has been observed that they are the second most consumed dietary supplement among American teens and young adults, only next to multivitamins.
Research shows that men between 18 to 34 years consume the most energy drinks, and almost 1/3 of teens between 12 to 17 years drink them on a regular basis.
Caffeine is the primary ingredient in these energy drinks. Other ingredients include sugars, Taurine, Ginseng, B vitamins, Glucuronolactone, Yohimbe, Carnitine, and Bitter Orange.
People consume energy drinks to feel energetic– Energy drinks help them improve their physical performance, enhance their mood and increase mental awareness. These energy drinks increase brain functioning in small quantities, and you don’t feel sleepy, but are you aware that these drinks have consequences in large amounts?
In this blog, we will illustrate the psychological effects of energy drinks– so that you can understand how good or bad these drinks are for you.
Origin Of Energy Drinks
According to The New York Times Magazine, the era of energy drinks started in 1962, with Lipovitan D –a legal energizing tonic launched by Taisho in Japan. By the 1980s, vitamin-concentrated and extra caffeinated beverages had become very popular.
Since then, many soda brands, including Coca-Cola, introduced their caffeine and sugar-laden energy drinks, which couldn’t sustain the market. Later in 1987, taurine and niacin were added to these drinks, and thus, the Red Bull energy drink was invented by Dietrich Mateschitz in collaboration with Chaleo Yoovidhya.
Cut to today, many brands- Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar- have launched their energy drinks in the market. The energy drink market is worth 30 billion dollars.
What Do The Energy Drinks Contain?
A regular can of energy drink contains the following ingredients:
Caffeine: These drinks contain a lot of caffeine– approximately 80 mg per 250 ml per can. It is equivalent to three cans of soft drinks!
Caffeine is responsible for augmenting strength and performance, providing instant energy, improving alertness, enhancing focus, and delaying fatigue.
Sugar: An average Rockstar energy drink contains about 60 mg of sugar, twice as much as a regular Snickers bar.
High amounts of sugar are added to cover the taste of other ingredients in the energy drink. Glucose is the body’s fuel. Therefore lots of sugar means lots of energy.
Amino Acids (Taurine): It is a mild inhibitory neurotransmitter that regulates energy levels and heartbeat and excites the brain during times of stress.
Ginseng: It is a medicinal herb responsible for increasing memory, relieving stress, and increasing energy. It helps the body to maintain the body’s stamina and vitality.
B Vitamins: Like niacin (B3), folic acid (B9), and riboflavin (B2) essentially help to convert food to energy. They help to increase the health benefits of the energy drink.
After a long day at work, have you ever decided to grab a can of energy drink just to keep going? Well, we know you must have. What’s wrong with getting a kick out of these and boosting up your energy, right?
You might want to hold that thought! We have enlisted the psychological effects of energy drinks for you!
Positive Psychological Effects Of Energy Drinks
- Energy drinks significantly enhance your psychomotor performance: reaction time, concentration, and memory.
- A large amount of caffeine in these drinks gives you high energy and reduces mental stress.
- They stimulate the central nervous system, boost your energy and alertness, and stimulate brain function, thus, improving your brain’s cognitive development.
- They reduce mental fatigue and have relieving impacts. The ingredients of an energy drink work together to raise your metabolism and keep you energetic when you are working out.
- If you like healthy and organic drinks, there are options with less sugar and zero calories, giving you a head start to work if you’re feeling drowsy.
Negative Psychological Effects Of Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are associated with some rising health and psychological concerns:
1. Way too many synthetic ingredients are hazardous For the body, as well as for the brain. Studies have shown that the excessive intake of energy drinks may cause some serious mental issues such as:
2. The drink-manufacturing companies add a lot of sugar to add taste. Once you start consuming them in excess, these drinks become pretty addictive, especially among teenagers, so it is important to limit the consumption of these energy drinks.
3. Some recognizable signs of its addiction are intense cravings and an uncontrollable intake of drinks.
4. Excessive intake of energy drinks affects your central nervous system and causes depression, sleep problems, increased aggression, anxiety, substance abuse, and many other problems. It also disrupts sleep patterns in teenagers.
5. Some energy drinks often contain alcohol– this is a deadly combination and impairs your mental ability. The intoxication gives you a false sense of control, dehydrates your body, and accelerates heart rates, causing jitters, anxiety, seizures, mania, and sometimes strokes.
6. Too much caffeine seriously affects the still-developing nervous and cardiovascular systems in children.
7. Just 32 ounces of energy drinks is enough to mess up the rhythm of your heart. It shoots up your blood pressure and impairs mental activity. In simple words, it makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood and may even result in death.
8. The transmission of neurotransmitters is disrupted, resulting in a fall in dopamine levels. It increases the chances of depression as the person starts craving the energy drink.
If people already suffering from depression consume these drinks, anxiety and panic attacks increase several times. As the following data suggests, consuming energy drinks increases important safety concerns-
- Between 2007- 11, the number of energy drink-related visits to emergency departments doubled. In 2011, 1 out of 10 of these visits resulted in hospitalization.
- About 25 % of college students consume alcohol with energy drinks, and they binge-drink significantly more often than students who don’t mix them.
- The CDC reports that drinkers aged 15-23 who mix alcohol with energy drinks are 4x more likely to binge drink at a high rate than drinkers who don’t mix alcohol with energy drinks.
- In 2011, 42 per cent of all energy drink-related emergency department visits involved combining these beverages plus alcohol or drugs (such as marijuana or over-the-counter or prescription medicines).
Overall, a few psychological benefits of consuming energy drinks certainly do not outweigh the risks they expose you to.
It is advisable to cut down the number of these caffeinated death cans as much as possible. Along with being harmful to your mental health, they are very toxic to your body. Look out for some healthy alternatives like herbal tea, which can give you energy and are gentle for your brain.
Avoid getting sugar highs and instead try to adopt a healthy lifestyle. There should be a work-life balance so that you feel less lethargic and not tempted to consume an energy drink.
For more information on mental health, check out yourmentalhealthpal, acquaint yourself with healthy practices, and drop your questions in the comment box!