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This Is What Energy Drinks Are Doing to Your Body

It can be hard to get through a whole day without a little caffeine boost, especially if you’re at work and hating it. So, believe us, we completely understand the desire to reach for an energy drink, but is this really a smart decision?

Energy drinks have been in the United States since the ‘90s, Family Doctor reports, and now you can find hundreds of different flavors and many different brands to choose from. These drinks are so popular that according to CNN, the global energy drink market is expected to be worth $61 billion in by 2021.

Some of the world's elite athletes have lent their names to energy drinks (for example, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton and Monster Energy), and for the most part, these drinks taste great. However, these drinks are not just packed with caffeine, but also sugar or false sweeteners, and Family Doctor notes that also include stimulants. These stimulants vary from guarana, which is used to prevent tiredness and increase alertness, to ginseng, which is used to enhance performance and reduce stress, although the publication claims that not all of these ingredients have been tested right.

It’s no secret that health experts aren’t a fan of energy drinks, and according to CNN, the World Health Organization has warned that these beverages "may pose danger to public health," and the reason for this could be because of the concern that the ingredients are found in higher concentrations than they would in food or plants. And it seems more research could be needed to see how these ingredients react with caffeine.

Energy drinks can be particularly bad for your health if you are drinking multiple a day, or in conjunction with other caffeinated beverages as this could be higher than the daily recommended caffeine dose. They are also not recommended for people under the age of 18, and should also not be drunk by pregnant women or people who have a caffeine sensitivity or existing heart problems.

Side effects differ from person to person but could include chest pain, headaches, stomach aches, and diarrhea. But consumption could also cause dental problems and result in dizziness and a lack of sleep. Mother Nature Network also notes that people who drink energy drinks could be irritable and restless, as well as experience muscle tremors. The publication also reports that energy drinks increase blood pressure and stress hormone levels, even in healthy young adults.

There have also been cases of excessive consumption of energy drinks affecting the liver, including a case study of a man who experienced a buildup of niacin in his liver, which led to hepatitis, Mother Nature Network reports. And a study by Medical News Today found energy drinks “alter the heart function of healthy adults.”

Another unpleasant effect is energy drinks can cause sugar crashes, and withdrawal symptoms can appear after 12 to 24 hours these include headaches, constipation, and irritability. So, to conclude, it’s probably best to think about your caffeine consumption and the effects that energy drinks can have on your body before you reach for them just to get through a slump in your day!

[Image via iStock/Getty]

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