Ever since Red Bull was introduced in the United States the world of beverage has never been the same. Energy drink is starting to become as popular as soda and is estimated to reach $10 billion in retail sales by next year (2010). Energy drink is consumed by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. This is great for the energy drink industry but is bad for people’s health.
Fortunately, a large amount of energy drink consumers do not drink it on a regular basis. The consumers who drink it on a regular basis will eventually feel its negative side effects. Most energy drink side effects are minor at first but eventually they can lead to serious chronic diseases in the near future. Side effects can range from headaches, stomachaches, insomnia, dehydration, tremors, blood sugar spikes, energy crashes, and increase of heart and breathing rate.
From studying energy drinks, I would say about 99 percent of them are not healthy for you. To make it worse, most brands of energy drink have sugar-free versions of their original energy drinks. Sugar-free energy drinks are the worst because they contain artificial sweetener, usually sucralose. Out of the 100 different flavored energy drink I reviewed (note: I don’t review them anymore), GURU was the only energy drink I felt was healthy enough to drink.
Most energy drinks contain synthetic vitamins, minerals and other synthetic chemicals. They also contain a lot of energy blends, such as glucose, caffeine, and energy herbs. The energy herbs should not cause too much health problems but some herbs have been known to cause strange side effects when mixed with other chemicals. The ingredients that I’m most concern about are synthetic vitamins and minerals, caffeine, refined sugar, fluoride and sucralose.
Synthetic vitamins and minerals:
- Most, if not all of the vitamins and minerals found in energy drinks are cheaply made and synthetic. The purpose of this is to increase profit as much as possible. Synthetic vitamins and minerals are usually more stable which is why energy drink manufacturers prefer them over natural vitamins and minerals. Most energy drinks contain B-vitamins and vitamin C. These vitamins are known as water-soluble vitamins; thus, they will dissolve quickly in liquid. However, the synthetic versions can usually last longer in liquid. When you drink energy drinks, you are basically drinking a drink that is full of empty calories. Some synthetic vitamins and minerals may break down quicker than their natural versions. This can cause harmful side effects, and in rare cases may lead to toxicity in the long-run.
- Most energy drinks have high levels of caffeine, ranging from 70 mg to more than 150 mg. Caffeine is a mild diuretic which promotes fluid lost. Caffeine is also a mild stimulant and operates somewhat similar to amphetamines. Moderate levels of caffeine is probably not that harmful, but consume it in high levels and that is where you are putting yourself at risk.
- Unlike natural sugar found in fruits and vegetables, refined sugar is stripped of its nutrients. These nutrients are essential for the body to safely utilize sugar. When these nutrients are not present with sugar, the body cannot metabolize the sugar effectively. This can result in the formation of toxic metabolite such as pyruvic acid. Toxic metabolite can destroy cells by interfering with their respiration process.
Fluoride (sodium fluoride):
- This popular toothpaste ingredient should be banned from all commercial products because it is very poisonous. Before fluoride was introduced into commercial products it was used as a rat poison. Most energy drinks usually contain fluoride because they are made with regular tap water. Some energy drink manufacturers may add fluoride in their products to help prevent bacteria contamination. For proof that fluoride is a toxic waste, please read What Is Fluoride? Hidden Camera Exposes the Toxic Chemicals in Fluoride.
- Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose works similar to refined sugar but may cause more health problems. Sucralose is an artificially created sugar that is over 100 times sweeter than regular sugar. Sucralose is produced by chlorinating sugar; therefore, it is contaminated with chlorine. It was actually discovered while trying to create a new insecticide. In other words, it has similar insecticide properties. Some researchers claim that it is not harmful because it passes through the digestive tract unchanged. If this were true, how come we can taste it? Industry experts claim that the molecules of sucralose is similar to sugar but independent researchers claim that it is more similar to pesticides. Independent researchers also suggested that sucralose may contribute to degenerative brain diseases. Sucralose is sold under the brand name Splenda.