It seems everyone today is looking for energy. They have found the answer in energy drinks, which are becoming their own food group.

The drink’s popularity has exploded across the world. It is now common to spot the drinks everywhere from high schools and college campuses to party scenes and even in some corporate settings. Many are unaware of the dangers of energy drinks.

Today the world drinks more than 900,000,000 gallons of these energy drinks. First popularized in Europe in 1960s, energy drinks are now a $5.4 billion dollar market.

In the 60’s, the first US drink was marketed to improve hydration and prolong athletic performances. It was invented for the University of Florida Gators, and was called Gatorade. Known as a sports drink, it is safer than most energy drinks.


The US has one of the loosest sets of regulation around labeling and health warnings. Using a loophole created by the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, energy producers are not required to place caffeine intoxification warning labels on their energy drinks, An energy drink can have up to 500 mg of caffeine, five times the recommended dose, without any warning labels.

Classified as dietary supplements, energy drinks have no limits on the caffeine added. Caffeine levels range from 50mg to 500 mg in a 20 oz bottle. Caffeine in energy drinks can excrete water from the body to dilute high concentrations of sugar entering the blood stream, leading to dehydration. If the body is dehydrated by 1%, performance is decreased by up to 10%.

Many of these energy drinks lead to caffeine addictions. This results in withdrawal symptoms as headache, dizziness, muscle stiffness, depression and fatigue, when they skip their energy drink. An over dose of caffeine can mimic mental disorders.
Stimulants, such as ginseng and ginkgo balboa, are often added to enhance the effects of caffeine, and others, such as guarana and yerba mate, contain caffeine.

Drinking as many as five cans a day, many use this drink like a pop. Teenagers, being more sensitive to caffeine than adults, are literally drunk on a caffeine buzz all day. Caffeine should not be given to children under the age of 12, and certainly no more than 100 mg every 3 to 4 hours. No-doze tablets contain 100 mg of caffeine and warning labels are required.

Many feel they have more energy because of physical responses they feel. Caffeine works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical involved in sleep. When caffeine blocks adenosine, it causes neurons in the brain to fire.

Thinking the body is in an emergency, the pituitary gland initiates the body's "fight or flight" response by releasing adrenaline. This hormone makes the heart beat faster and the eyes dilate. It also causes the liver to release extra sugar into the bloodstream for energy. Caffeine affects the levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain's pleasure center.


To top it off, high amounts of sugar artificially-sweeteners are added. Other common ingredients are guarana, acai ginseng, maltodextrin, carbonated water, inositol, carnitine, creatine, glucuronolactone, ephedrine, theobromine ginkgo biloba, vitamin B, herbs, and taurine.


Synthetic taurine is implicated in high blood pressure, strokes, seizures, heart disease, and has been accused of having a sedative effect on the brain. It has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system that’s very unnatural.

Taurine is a free-form amino acid that plays an important role in muscle contraction (especially in the heart) and the nervous system. It is contained in many foods and manufactured by the body from amino acid cysteine. The body naturally makes taurine during exercise and in times of stress. A good diet supplies all your daily needs of taurine. The daily dose should be between 100 and 500 mg a day. One can of an energy drink has 1000 mg of synthetic produced taurine.

It works deep inside the brain’s regulatory area of the thalamus, interacting with neurotransmitters, is involved in the sleep wake cycle pathways of the brain, and plays a role in the crash people get after drinking highly caffeinated beverages.


Energy drinks should not be confused with sports drinks such as Gatorade, which are consumed to help people stay hydrated during exercise. Sports drinks also provide carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes that may be lost through perspiration.

During exercise, electrolytes are lost, resulting in dehydration and irregular heart beats. The caffeine in energy drinks adds to dehydration. Water is still the most effective way to prevent dehydration.


It’s become trendy to mix the drinks with alcohol, which dehydrates the body and interferes with normal sleep patterns.
Teenagers tend to drink energy drinks with alcohol with the intent of counteracting alcohol intoxication, to hide the taste of alcohol, and to lessen the subjective effects of alcohol intoxication like dizziness and headache,

This mix, however, is hazardous, since energy drinks mask the influence of alcohol and a person may misinterpret their actual level of intoxication. [They drink more alcohol, and are also more likely to suffer alcohol-related consequences such as sexual assault, injury and riding with an intoxicated driver, even after adjusting for the number of drinks.

Those who drink mixers are more likely than non-mixers to drink more alcohol, and are also more likely to suffer alcohol-related consequences such as sexual assault, injury and riding with an intoxicated driver, even after adjusting for the number of drinks.


Many young people drink the beverage to look cool and fit with their friends and to get a buzz. They find they can spend longer amounts of time studying for tests, stay awake in the morning, and enjoy a buzz by mixing it with alcohol. It has become a teenage obsession and the potential dangers are not discussed. Consuming high-energy drinks can have a detrimental impact on their ability to concentrate in class.

Most of these drinks are simply carbonated water loaded with gut-fattening high fructose corn syrup. Most energy drinks contain at least 27g of sugar per 8oz can. Those drinks that are advertised as sugar-free usually contain artificial sweeteners, which are worse for you than real sugar.

These drinks lead to more teenage obesity, by being packed with a lot of calories, some offering over 60 g of sugar (that's 15 teaspoons) in one can!

Besides empty calories and a nasty assault on their teeth, drinks that are this sweet really don't help keep their bodies hydrated. These drinks replace more nutritious drinks as milk, vegetable juices, and the often overlooked hydrating powerhouse “ water”.


The true remedy for lack of energy is getting enough sleep and eating right. Energy drink chemicals have enormous dangers
and side effects. The stimulating properties in energy drinks will increase your heart rate and blood pressure, and prevent sleep.

People who eat well, drink water, and get enough physical activity and rest will have plenty of energy — the natural way.