More reports on: Soft drinks

Energy drinks may affect mental health increase blood pressure

18 November 2017

Energy drinks that provide instant mental and physical stimulation come with increased risk of serious issues affecting mental health, blood pressure and obesity, a new study reveals.

The energy drinks, which are high on sugar and caffeine levels are often marketed as a healthy beverage for people to improve their energy, stamina, athletic performance and concentration.

According to the findings, energy drinks are associated with health risks ranging from risk-seeking behaviour, such as substance misuse and aggression, mental health problems in the form of anxiety and stress, to increased blood pressure, obesity, kidney damage, fatigue, stomach aches and irritation.

"We summarise the consequences of energy drink consumption, which include heart, kidney, and dental problems, as well as risk-seeking behaviour and poor mental health," said Josiemer Mattei, assistant professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

The study also highlights the worrying trend of mixing energy drinks with alcohol. According to experts, the practice makes people consume more alcohol than if they were drinking alcohol alone.

Energy drinks, it is thought, can mask the signs of alcohol inebriation, allowing individuals to consume more, increasing the likelihood of dehydration and alcohol poisoning, according to researchers. Researchers suggest restriction on sales to children.

"The evidence suggests they are harmful to health and should be limited through more stringent regulation by restricting their sales to children and adolescents, as well as setting an evidence-based upper limit on the amount of caffeine," Mattei said.

Energy drinks can trigger risk- seeking behaviour, and also cause mental health problems and obesity, according to scientists who found that the short-term benefits of such beverages are outweighed by serious health risks.

Energy drinks mostly contain similar ingredients - water, sugar, caffeine, certain vitamins, minerals and non- nutritive stimulants such as guarana, taurine and ginseng. Some may also contain up to 100 milligramme caffeine per fluid ounce, eight times more than a regular coffee at 12 milligramme.

The study was published in Frontiers in Public Health.

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