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The Energy Drink Epidemic

Jorge Franganillo
Energy Drinks Licensed Under CC BY 2.0 DEED.

It’s no secret that over the past five years, energy drinks have become a staple in American high schools. Any classroom, any given time will most likely have at least one can open on a desk, a few cans in the recycling bin and a couple unopened cans sitting in a student’s bookbag. Many people do not understand the significance of a problem with such overconsumption of caffeine, especially since the age demographic is getting younger with every new marketing pitch, but it’s taking over one can at a time.  

As many people may know, caffeine is a stimulant. This means that it stimulates activity in the brain and gives the body energy. However, many people choose to ignore the fact that caffeine is a drug as much as prescription drug is. Overconsumption of energy drinks with excess amounts of caffeine in them can lead to a dependence on it, and in a lot of cases, withdrawal symptoms when the body is not given this drug. Of course, not everyone who drinks coffee and energy drinks will experience this, but moderation is key in keeping people out of this dependence.  

Short-term effects of overconsuming caffeine in energy drinks (which contain 100-300 milligrams of caffeine per serving on average) are insomnia, nausea, headaches, and stomach pain. Increased heart rate and convulsions are a potential symptom of consuming an energy drink, and the risk for any of them goes up tenfold depending on the dosage of caffeine in the drink and the rate someone’s consumption. Caffeine by itself is not horrible in monderation, but the problem with energy drinks is that they are the opposite of moderate caffeine consumption.  

From the Mayo Clinic’s website, they list the long-term effects of energy drinks can be caffeine addiction, high blood pressure, liver and kidney damage, insomnia and increased cortisol. The things people put in their bodies while they’re young will affect them for the rest of their lives, whether they know this or not. Setting aside the caffeine intake, the amount of chemicals, sugar, and other preservatives found in energy drinks greatly adds to the risk of any of these complications, as well as many more.  

If anyone is struggling with their own consumption of energy drinks but finds themself coming up short with better alternatives, here’s a few to try; Coffee, Macha, or tea are a great organic alternative for those who need a small pick me up in the mornings without the added complications of chemicals. Green juice also works well as substitutes. These alternatives also have caffeine in them, but they have significantly less and more organically produced than energy drinks.  

If none of those seem to work, going cold turkey, slowly decreasing your consumption of energy drinks, and pushing through the days might be how some people learn to get over the dependence on these harmful drinks.  


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