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					The dangers of energy drinks      Hacker's guide to smart living


      Read if: you want to know more about the effects of excessive
caffeine and sugar intake      Energy drinks have been getting a lot of
attention lately. They are used by students during exam sessions, tired
drivers, visitors of night clubs, fitness maniacs, etc. The one and only
reason for their intake is exhaustion. The manufacturers of energy drinks
claim that they are useful and bring joy, by -œlending wings-• to
consumers. But behind the promises of lasting energy, there are hidden
dangers to health.      The ingredients that pump us up      Caffeine -
the major component of all energy drinks. It stimulates our mental
activity and cardiovascular endurance. Taurine - an amino acid that
accumulates in our muscle tissue. It supports neurological development
and regulates the levels of water and mineral salts in blood. Carnitine
- a component of human cells that contributes to a rapid oxidation of
fatty acids, increases metabolism and reduces muscle fatigue. Herbs -
like Echinacea, Ginkgo biloba and ginseng help for pain reduction during
physical exertion and improve memory; Guarana - its major component is
caffeine , which is associated with increased energy, enhancement of
physical performance, and suppressed appetite. Vitamins - they are
necessary for the normal functioning of our nervous system and brain.
Mateinat - a substance included in the composition of the South American
green tea mate. It helps to deal with hunger and promotes weight
reduction. Fructose and sugar - carbohydrates which energize our body
and stimulate our brain Nicotine - increases the levels of brain
neurotransmitters; thus, it stimulates our mental ability, suppresses
appetite and causes muscle relaxation, increasing dopamine's levels in
the brain. Nicotine is highly addictive and dangerous for our health.
Other artificial stimulants, depending on the brand: phosphate,
riboflavin, dextrose, sodium benzoate, potassium chloride, sodium
citrate, gum Arabic, inositol, etc. Face the facts       The majority of
energy beverages are a blend of herbal and nutrition stimulants listed
above. If we look at them separately (excluding Nicotine), probably we
won't find anything worrisome. But, if these supplements are combined and
in high dosages, these same energy boosters may have pretty nasty effects
on out body's systems and even on our short-term memory.      Dr. Ann
Slattery, a clinical toxicologist with Children's Hospital in Birmingham
says that one of the problems, related to energy drinks is that the Food
and Drug Administration does not regulate the amount of caffeine in -
œherbal supplements,-• the category under which these energy drinks fall.
Moreover, -œthe manufacturers of these products don't always list
caffeine by name on the nutritional label. Instead, they will use -
œherbal-• names, like guarana or taurine, among a host of others-• she
adds. For example, if we look the label of one 24-oz (700 ml) energy
drink, we will see that it contains 1,000 mg taurine and 2,500 mg of
caffeine and guarana per a single serving. In comparison with the daily
maximum recommended dose of caffeine which is 300 mg, those figures are
astounding, aren't they?      In moderate levels (about 100mg per
serving) caffeine is not harmful. In fact, it could be beneficial,
stimulating the nervous system. In high quantities, it affects our sleep,
causing insomnia and nervousness. Moreover, caffeine is known to have
laxative and diuretic effects. When over-dosed, it provokes dehydration.
It increases heart rate and body temperature which may cause excess
sweating and irregular heartbeat. The Daily Telegraph reported that high-
caffeine consumption is linked to adverse effects, -œincluding confusion,
stroke, seizures and even death-•. The report says that after a
scientific study funded by the US National Institute of Health, the
researchers identified that when caffeine is combined with other
ingredients such as L-carnitine and ginseng, possible adverse effects
include: seizures, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and altered blood
pressure.      A main ingredient of energy drinks is sugar. High levels
of refined sugar are also a health concern, especially over the long-
term. Sugar affects the absorption of nutrients, and can cause huge
spikes and drops in blood sugar levels. Typical energy drinks contain 100
to 180 g of sugars per serving. The recommended Total Daily Intake (TDI)
according to health organizations is 90g. Energy drinks spike blood
glucose levels and this boosts our power. But, when those levels drop,
they come crashing down, and our bodies tell us to seek out more sugar.
In fact, relying on sugar and caffeine sends our body into a vicious
cycle of dependency that can seriously harm our health and can lead to
ageing. Furthermore, they make our body fat and mushy. Experts form Mayo
Clinic worn that excess sugar in diet has been linked to :       diabetes,
obesity, teeth cavities; premature aging; low levels of serotonin,
which leads to depressions disbalance of microflora (good bacteria),
which causes infections and gastrointestinal problems; Bad combinations
My friends have the habit of mixing alcohol with energy drinks and this
is dangerous as well. Both alcohol and caffeine dehydrate. As an energy
drink energizes, and alcohol depresses, the two combined become a risky
combination, one raising blood pressure, and the other acting as a toxin
in the body. Also, a mixed cocktail can have the effect of making an
individual feel more awake. This leads to more heavy drinking and blurred
perceptions.      Another scenario where energy drinks become a hazardous
is when physical activity is involved. Exercise, whether dancing, or
playing basketball elevates the heart rate and blood pressure, and causes
fluid losses. This strains the cardiovascular system. The effect of
energy drinks make us feel that we can push our body harder than normal,
instead of understanding that when heavy amounts of caffeine are
responsible for this feeling, intense activity is unwise.       Poor
diet,drugs, chronic stress and environmental toxins sap our energy.
However, energy drinks are harmful and they are not the answer to
fatigue. It is important to take care of our adrenal and thyroid glands
which are our natural sources of energy. Thus, instead of reaching for
energy drinks, it's better to use probiotic liquids and natural
antioxidants found in normal healthy foods. They are full of healthy
micro flora. They help us digest and boost our immune system, giving us
long term energy.      If you liked this article, continue reading:
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