A majority of young people tend to consume energy drinks. What is an energy drink? What are the motives for consuming energy drinks? What are the connections between energy drinks and health risks? What is the difference between energy drinks and energizers? What recommendations for the consumption of energy drinks?
Definition of an Energy Drink
The term “energy drink” is a marketing term that has no regulatory definition. It includes drinks that are supposed to mobilize energy by stimulating the nervous system. It refers to any product in the form of a drink or a liquid concentrate and which claims to contain a mixture of ingredients with the property of raising the energy and liveliness levels, excluding sports drinks.
Did you know? The effects of an energy drink can be approximately equivalent to one liter of coffee swallowed in one stroke. So here we can find a very first connection between energy drinks and health risks.
Origin and Expansion
Originating in Japan in the 1960s, energy drinks are sold around the world in 134 countries.
In Europe, energy drinks began to surface by Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian entrepreneur who developed Red Bull, based on a Thai drink, Krating Daeng, itself based on Lipovitan.
In the United States, Red Bull was imported in 1997 and was the dominant brand until 2011, when its main competitor Monster Energy exceeded its sales volume, all circuits combined.
Energy drinks become popular in the form of alcoholic mixtures. No doubt, but here we are dealing with an essential link between energy drinks and health risks.
Red Bull, Rock Star, Guru, Monster, Hype, Full Throttle … Here are some energy drinks that are increasingly popular with teenagers, young adults, and even children. You can not miss them, they are on sale in several places: gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, bars, and even in some educational institutions and gyms.
The composition of Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are mainly composed of water, sugar, and caffeine (synthetic or natural, such as guarana). They contain ginseng, vitamins, and other ingredients, depending on the brand. These drinks also contain glucuronolactone, inositol, and taurine. According to the manufacturers, these ingredients would help increase the energy level. However, the effects of these ingredients are disputed. And of course, manufacturers are not asking about the link between energy drinks and health risks.
Majority and generally energy drinks are composed of:
Caffeine is a methylxanthine alkaloid. It is the most consumed psychostimulant substance. It acts on the neurotransmitters of the central nervous system which causes a stimulating action on the body. Caffeine fights fatigue and improves cognitive performance in the short term. In energy drinks, caffeine can be added in the form of guarana, whose main active ingredient is caffeine, or in the form of pure caffeine.
Taurine is a sulfur amino acid, in high concentration in the bile of the bull, hence its name. Its blood concentration is directly related to food intake. It has an effect on neuronal excitability and cardiovascular effects increase the contractility of the muscles. In energy drinks, it is present in high concentrations. Like many antioxidants, at such a high concentration, taurine could have the opposite effect (pro-oxidative), and affect the detoxification capabilities of the body.
Glucuronolactone is naturally produced from glucose in the liver. It is a sugar, naturally present in the body, whose natural intake is of the order of 1 to 2 mg/day. A can of energy drink contains an amount equivalent to about 600 days of food intake. The health effects of such a massive dose are still poorly understood. The toxicity limit is not established. The precautionary principle is recommended. Don’t be a victim of energy drinks and the health risks that they bring.
Vitamins in Group B
Energy drinks usually contain riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12) ). The consumption of two cans, recommended by the manufacturer, is sufficient to reach and/or exceed the threshold of toxicity established for vitamins B3 and B6. The maximum absorbable dose is also exceeded for vitamin B12. The toxicity has not been clearly demonstrated but would be neuro-behavioral, marked by the occurrence of behavioral disorders, memory problems.
It is a medicinal plant that acts on cognitive functions. It can expose to difficulties of energy adaptation, by favoring hypoglycemia and the decrease of the appetite. Ginseng is meant to change or accentuate the aroma in energy drinks.
Energy drinks contain a very high concentration of carbohydrates. This hyper-sweetened beverage can lead to the reaction of hypoglycemia if it is consumed before exercise, manifesting itself in generalized weakness, headaches, decreased alertness, and counter-performance.
Energy drinks are very popular with young people. The consumption is initially motivated by the discovery of a new drink, unusual taste, which quickly takes on a connotation of “fashionable drink”. And of course, they aren’t aware of the dangers of energy drinks and health risks in conjunction with them.
A significant percentage of children, adolescents, and young adults, in the order of 30 to 50%, consume more or less regularly energy drinks. This fashion effect is not without danger for young consumers: many reports have highlighted side effects.
Consumers are looking for ways to artificially increase their performance in these drinks, or help them get through a difficult time. This difficult course is of different nature and is reflected in the circumstances of consumption: it is, for example, a period of intense revision for a student, a long and trying driving for a truck driver, an extension of the waking state.
Consumption can also be motivated by a need for disinhibition, a need to escape, the search for a situation of pleasure, well-being, or to optimize the party.
Energy drinks will bring this escape to a more stimulating, more intoxicating life.
This flight and this quest for pleasure will be accentuated by the association with other products such as cannabis or alcohol. The consumer is exposed to a risk of addiction to these products.
Repetition of such behavior can bring risks to the consumer. It may overestimate his ability to adapt to his environment, which makes him more vulnerable, with a risk of increased stress, anxiety, maladaptation to a life situation.
This search for exceeding its limits is maintained by marketing exposing risky behaviors, stressful situations, the use of images of extreme sports, which only reinforce the exceeding of limits.
Assumptions that can explain this important consumption. First, there is a lack of information about these new products. If parents know that their children are not given coffee, they are not as knowledgeable about these energy drinks. The very strong promotional force of the brands that market them is a second hypothesis to explain this high consumption.
This kind of stimulating drink has, since its marketing, being able to target a specific audience by focusing on its values: young, clubber, a sportsman on the verge of transgressive and extreme. Today, it has evolved into a dynamic new environment and new products have appeared on the market to conquer a younger audience.
Difference Between Energy-Giving Drink and Energy Drink
Many people confuse “energy-giving drink” with “energy drink”. Well, though, there is a difference between these two types of drinks.
*** Energy-Giving Drinks
Energy drinks, otherwise called carbohydrate drinks of the effort, have a nutritional composition adapted to the sports practice and are subject to a specific regulatory framework at both the French and European levels. They are intended for the athlete performing an intense physical activity exceeding one hour.
These drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade are recommended for the effort. They provide minerals and thus help fight against dehydration, fatigue and provide energy.
The practice of cardiovascular activity of more than 60 minutes causes a loss of minerals and glucose through the sweating process. Thus, energy drinks can overcome the lack and provide the necessary carbohydrates for the maintenance of good energy, can increase the intensity, and extend the exercise period.
Inside energy drinks, we find sugar, glucose, water, mineral salts (potassium and sodium), and vitamins (B and C). Their intake of sugars and calories is important, from 300 to 500 calories per liter.
In commerce, they exist in several forms:
* Ready to consume in the bottle,
* In the form of a gel in berlingot,
* Powdered (sachets, large boxes).
Regulations dictate many parameters: composition of ingredients to be respected (without acidity, without preservatives or dyes), specific labeling statements, etc.
*** Energy Drinks
They do not refer to any regulatory definition. They contain significant amounts of exciting compounds to stimulate the central nervous system, which can be dangerous in sports according to the National Agency for Food Safety.
Energy drinks are potentially dangerous and part of a driving force.
That’s why in the following lines we offer stimulating and healthy drinks to replace energy drinks, and then finally we will present recommendations for the consumption of energy drinks.
Stimulating and Healthy Drinks to Replace Energy Drinks
Natural energizing juices are all the more interesting because people do not drink enough water in general, and the lack of hydration is partly responsible for the fatigue felt during the day. Fruits and vegetables have high water content with the added taste.
Mix 3 peeled kiwis, a banana, a glass of papaya juice, and the juice of half a lemon. Low caloric, this cocktail brings magnesium and potassium, and banana fibers provide a feeling of satiety, ideal in the morning before a long day.
Squeeze an orange, tangerine, and the juice of pink grapefruit. This drink is rich in vitamins C and B1, magnesium, and calcium. Perfect as an anti-fatigue solution and to prevent downsizing, especially after a long week of work.
Mix 100g of spinach, 150g of broccoli, and 250g of sweet green apples. A healthy recipe that brings a good dose of vitamin B2 provided by broccoli and spinach, and the fresh taste of apples. To consume in addition to the lunch to keep good energy before starting the afternoon.
In a juicer, squeeze 2 apples, 200g strawberries, and 4 pineapple slices. This drink has the advantage of being rich in vitamins A, C, and D while providing potassium and magnesium. Perfect for quenching the body during long summer days.
Mix the grains of a bunch of white grapes with 2 tomatoes and a handful of raspberries. Add the juice of a lemon to the resulting mixture. This drink can be used as a cure for 8 to 10 days each morning to regenerate the body and provide extra energy to the cells, particularly useful during seasonal changes.
In a juicer, mix an orange, 4 slices of pineapple, and 2 carrots. Mix the juice obtained with crushed ice in a shaker. Drink rich in minerals and vitamins C, B1, B6, and K, are recommended facing the winter.
A Glass of Water
Water has a real impact on dynamism. Dehydration promotes the appearance of a feeling of fatigue but also of hunger and hampers concentration. Moreover, the fact of being dehydrated prevents digestion and lowers blood pressure, all of which lead to a decrease in energy. With each stroke of fatigue or feeling hungry outside of meals drink a large glass of water.
This isotonic drink – that is to say, very close to the composition of the blood plasma – is a concentrate of all the minerals essential to the proper functioning of the body. Rich in zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, it is an important source of nutritional energy improving the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals and the secretion of insulin.
Cocoa contains caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, and anandamide, which activate the brain receptors and cause pleasure and mental clarity. It is attributed in addition to stimulating, antioxidant, exciting, and antidepressant properties. One or two spoonfuls of pure cocoa powder, even better without sugar, diluted in water or milk, is both comforting and energizing.
Consumer Recommendation Regarding Energy Drinks and Health Risks
The National Agency for Food Safety (ANSES) specifies that energy drinks are reserved for adults. Their consumption, in association with alcohol, is not recommended and they should be consumed in moderation and are not adapted to the practice of intense physical activity.
Energy drinks should be consumed only occasionally and moderately by healthy adults who do not have a particular medical condition. The consumption of drinks of this type must also be limited to an occasional basis. This is the way how to avoid the danger of energy drinks and health risks in conjunction with them.
Anyone with anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, and cardiovascular problems should not consume this type of drink.
In addition, pregnant women and children under 12 should never consume it. These drinks are harmful to the health of children and adolescents, especially because of their high content of caffeine and sugar and their acidity. So here we can find the most strong links between energy drinks and health risks?
* Avoid excesses: limit yourself to the consumption of one drink per day maximum.
* Avoid mixtures: do not consume alcohol. Energy drinks mask the effects of alcohol and give a false sense of sobriety. This can increase the risk of unconsciousness or coma and driving situations intoxicated.
* Do not use them to hydrate during intense physical activity or during hot weather.
Good nutrition and high water consumption are the secrets of a healthy organism. To make up for the lack of energy, make sure to eat snacks made of protein and carbohydrates between meals.
The marketing of energy drinks was authorized in 2008 in France with regard to the principle of free movement of goods legally manufactured or marketed on the European market.
Since 2008 and the authorization to sell energy drinks on French territory, warnings are recurrent. The risks of association with alcohol, the dangers for pregnant women, or the threats to swallow these drinks during sports are frequently recalled.
The promotion of these drinks to sensitive populations and in contexts of risky consumption should be regulated (for example, by avoiding associating these drinks with sports or parties).
The public must know that consuming energy drinks is not trivial. These are not classic sodas, even if the distribution is the same as the other sodas in the trade. However, both types of drinks do not have the same composition. Consumers must be informed of the conditions of consumption that may expose them to risk.
In our humble opinion, if possible, it is better not to consume energy drinks. Be aware of all dangers regarding energy drinks and health risks in conjunction with them. You have the choice to replace them with stimulating and healthy drinks.