Energy Drinks Versus Coffee
The energy drink market has been booming over the past decade. Yet, the buzz on the subject has been controversial. Some argue that energy drinks pose no more risk to health than coffee, while others simply do not believe this is the case.
Caffeine is a natural substance found predominantly in coffee beans and tea leaves. It is also found in many foods, including chocolates, sodas, teas and coffees. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers caffeine to be a safe substance and many consume it every day with no negative side effects.
So what sets energy drinks apart from other beverages? It’s the high levels of caffeine in addition to the ingredients taurine and guarana, which are found in energy drinks. Medical professionals have been studying taurine and guarana to determine if they can dangerously increase caffeine’s effect on the body. One study in the Medical Journal of Australia evaluated the energy drink consumption of 188 subjects. Over 30 percent of the subjects experienced symptoms that required hospitalization, including heart palpitations, gastrointestinal upset and chest pain.
In addition to the possible synergistic and unsafe reaction between caffeine, taurine and guarana, the added sugars found in energy drinks can lead to weight gain, affecting overall heart health. When comparing coffee and energy drinks, the consensus from medical professionals is clear that coffee is the healthier choice. Children and adolescents should never consume energy drinks.
Written by: Leslie Lewis, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern