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Over-Wired or Over-Tired: The Dangers of Energy Drinks

As college students, we are always pressed with deadlines, homework assignments, tests… the never-ending list goes on! Having such a busy schedule might lead us to drinking one too many cups of coffee, and sometimes even one or more energy drinks to help keep us awake after a long night or weekend. We all know the tag line “Redbull gives you wings,” but can it be doing more harm than just that? Young adults might not be aware of the detrimental effects these oh so popular energy drinks can actually have on your health and body! Are you over-tired, or just over-wired?

Energy drinks have been the reason for thousands of emergency room visits, as well as five deaths associated with the well-known energy drink, Monster. These so-called energy drinks aren’t actually giving your body energy. Instead, they are just stimulating your body with an excess amount of caffeine and speeding up your heart rate. ConsumerLab.com reported one 2-ounce bottle of 5-Hour Energy contained 206 mg of caffeine and is 9 times more concentrated than a cup of coffee, that’s unheard of! For reference, an 8-ounce cup of coffee only has 95 milligrams of caffeine.

If you drink these energy drinks, you usually finish one within an hour or less. That means you’re drinking over two-thirds of the daily amount doctors recommend you having in a full day! Just think of what that’s doing to your body if you drink two or three energy drinks in a day. Many energy drinks have high levels of vitamins, which at a high, concentrated level can lead to toxicity in your body and might leave you feeling sick. If you want to get energy from caffeine, it is recommended to drink tea or coffee throughout the day so your body is able to regulate properly.

Another reason to try to stay away from energy drinks can be the high risk of cardiac arrest, headaches, insomnia, vomiting, jitters, and sometimes can even lead to a caffeine addiction! When mixed with alcohol, it can become a cocktail for death or other serious health conditions. It was reported by a psychologist, who conducted a study on effects of energy drinks mixed with alcohol, that your body’s natural process of knowing if you’re drinking too much starts to shut down, which causes you to over-drink.

So next time your eyes are feeling heavy try taking a nap, going to bed at an earlier time, eating well, and a cup of tea or coffee a day should help keep the sandman away! Try to keep in mind the negative effects energy drinks can have on your health and body, so you can start feeling better without the awful side effects from those drinks. A Redbull now and then won’t harm you too much, but it would be a smart choice to limit yourself.

Just keep in mind it’s never a good combination to be over-tired and over-wired, cheers!

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Elana Jacobson

U Mass Amherst

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