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Energy Drinks – Sugar High, Sugar Low and Away We Go!
By Joan McDaniel November 28, 2012 Updated Aug. 22, 2013
The non-food energy drink industry has a large product line which is being aggressively marketed by high-profile athletes, sports companies and the mainstream media to teenagers and young people. Some of these products are; AMP, 5-hour Energy shots, Monster Energy, Red Bull, Rock Star, and others. Labels on the containers state that they are “not recommended” for some consumers, including children — a group that beverage producers define as those under 12 years — and people “sensitive” to caffeine.
From Red Bull Website
There has been increased media coverage of these Energy Drinks, due to several newspaper reports and a Food and Drug report released last year. These reports address the claim that several people have died after drinking the energy drinks and that the energy drink makers are under investigation for misleading consumers. Senator Dick Durban has called on the FDA to regulate the caffeine content in the drinks.
The FDA does not define the term “energy drink” by regulation, and, according to the Wall Street Journal, the drinks are actually more loosely regulated than traditional sodas, despite their higher content of caffeine and addition of other ingredients.
I do not plan to cover the validity of the claims, the law suits that are following, nor the life/death issue. I would like to cover the ingredients of some of these “Wonder drinks” that are being aggressively marketed. I do not consider these products to be good for your health. I don’t think you will drop over dead immediately after consumption, but I do consider them dangerous and to your health, wellness and well-being.
The main ingredients of these drinks are caffeine, carbohydrates and sugar.
Note in the label below the number of Carbohydrates is 28 g and Sugar is 27 g. That is extremely high.
Let us first look at the caffeine contents.
This is the label from Red Bull
Notice the label does not indicate how much caffeine in in the drink but here is a list of drinks and caffeine contents.
How much caffeine is in some Drinks?
16 oz. Starbucks drip coffee = 330 mg
2 oz. 5-Hour Energy = 207 mg
24 oz. Monster Energy drank = 240 mg
16 oz. Starbucks caffè latte = 150 mg
8 oz. Coffee, Brewed = 80 to 130 mg
8.3 oz. Red Bull = 80 mg
1 oz. espresso = 75 mg
12 oz. Starbucks Tazo Chai Iced Tea Latte = 75 mg
12 oz. Pepsi One = 56 mg
12 oz. Mountain Dew = 54 mg
8 oz. brewed green tea = 30-50 mg
8 oz. brewed black tea = 47 mg
12 oz. Diet Coke = 47 mg
12 oz. Coca-Cola Classic = 35 mg
For a little less kick, check out these options:
16 oz. Snapple Iced Tea = 18 mg
12 oz. Nestea, sweetened or unsweetened = 17 mg
8 oz. Hot cocoa = 14 mg
12 oz. Lipton Brisk Iced Tea, lemon flavored = 10 mg
8 oz. decaffeinated coffee, brewed = 2 mg
8 oz. decaffeinated black tea = 2 mg
Even some foods and medications contain caffeine, so check those labels:
NoDoz Maximum Strength, 1 tablet = 200 mg
Excedrin, Extra Strength, 2 tablets = 130 mg
Haagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream, 1/2 cup = 100 mg
Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar, 1.45 oz. = 18 mg
Hershey’s Chocolate Bar, 1.55 oz. = 9 mg.
Effects and Action of Caffeine
It is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant; adverse effects: nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, tachycardia, palpitations, altered consciousness, paralysis, hallucinations, seizures, etc. Energy drinks have the highest amounts of caffeine than other drinks except for some Starbuck drinks.
Caffeine constricts blood vessels in the brain and decreases circulation. When caffeine is suddenly missing from your diet after long use, there is a sudden increase in circulation both to the brain and digestive system. This may lead to severe headaches as well as constipation or bowel upset.
Carbohydrates and Sugar
As I have covered in previous articles, when you eat more refined carbohydrates than your body can use they are converted to instant sugar. If you noted on the label above a typical energy drink contains 28 g of Carbohydrates and 27 g of Sugar. This is the same as drinking pure sugar-water. Consumption of extra carbohydrates, cause a sudden spike of blood glucose then as suddenly a crash.
In other words drinking this much sugar-water results in a roller coaster ride of highs and lows leading to daily fluctuations in energy and alertness, and possibly to eventual chronic adrenal exhaustion
Your body can not adjust to these up and down and over time it can not fight the resulting inflammation. These sugar highs and low will in time numb your brain and produce a zombie like activity level.
You may think this allows you to maintain a high activity level but over time you body can not keep it up. This may be just the kind of life style you think you need or want or whatever. Your young and think your invincible but in time Sugar, Caffeine and excess carbs build up and cause major body changes.
Drinking Sugar Free is not a solution.
Now if you think you can drink the sugar-free variety of these drinks to avoid the damage, think again.
Low Carbohydrate Monster loaded with sucrose a form of Asperitine and 2,500 mg of an Energy Blend that’s loaded with who knows what plus a whole lot of caffeine. There is also new evidence that Diet foods and drinks can actually cause not prevent Diabetes.
Other complications of diabetes
Insulin resistance is a complication of diabetes mellitus (type 2). It is a need for high amounts of insulin to control diabetes per day. Chronic exposure to high insulin levels desensitize your body’s cells and they become unresponsive or resistant to the action of insulin. In order to move glucose into the cells a higher amount of insulin is needed, which puts more pressure on the pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin resistance is the first step to developing diabetes. Insulin resistance is believed to be an underlying problem of Alzheimer’s and other Neurodegenerative disease. High Blood pressure is more a disease of excess sugar than excess salt. Coconut oil has been found to be useful in the treatment of insulin resistance.
Diabetic Neuropathy - Nerves are highly sensitive to elevated Blood sugars. Chronic insulin resistance caused nerve degeneration and damage and is the most serious complication of Diabetes. Symptoms consist of pain, tingling or numbness of hands, arms, feet and/or legs, weakness, dizziness, cramps, speech impairment, vision problems, bladder control, and or loss of sense of warm or cold. Loss of circulation leads to inability to heal wounds that can become gangrenous.
Metabolic syndrome – is a combination of medical disorders that, when occur together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Some studies have shown the prevalence in the USA to be an estimated 25% of the population, and prevalence increases with age. It is also known as metabolic syndrome X, cardiometabolic syndrome, syndrome X, and insulin resistance syndrome.
It’s your life
I can not tell you how to live, nor what to eat or drink. I can not help you get rid of your addiction to sugar. Somehow I think telling you to grab a handful of walnuts for energy will do the same thing you are use to. I can not tell you to change your life style the only thing I can tell you, is—
Once you have diabetes, your life changes in a major way.
So instead of shopping for energy drinks and sporting equipment, you will be learning how to use one of these —
Addition from November 20, 2012
This Video is from the Food Channel. It further illustrates the dangers of the overloading of sugar in your system is a cause of concern and dangerous to your health.
Energy Drinks The Food Channel Video
The sales pitch? Glamorous images of snowboarding, surfing, parties, and sports performance.
The reality? Heart palpitations, anxiety, calls to poison control centers, and extreme
levels of caffeine and sugar.
In the future I plan to write my own article on the complex disease of diabetes but for now here are some very good links. Remember excess sugar destroys your body, your mind and most of your organs.
Until next time
How Diet Foods and Drinks Can Actually Cause, NOT Prevent Diabetes
Sugar Dumbs Us Down
Leading Energy Drink Makers Under Investigation for Misleading Consumers