Energy drinks have always been a subject of deep debate over its health properties. Those who indulge in it, swear by its ‘healthier’ properties compared to sodas and other caffeinated drinks.
However, a new study has completely negated this belief saying that energy drinks are worse than caffeine itself.
Elaborating on its findings, the study says that energy drinks can have a greater impact on health than caffeine consumption by other means.
Researchers discovered that ingesting about a litre of any commercially-available energy drink caused abnormal changes in blood pressure and heart rate of the study’s participants. These changes were apparently missing when volunteers consumed a control drink that contained the same amount of caffeine.
Each energy drink available commercially is packed with 108 grams of sugar and 320 mg of caffeine. As per experts, the requisite and/or maximum amount of caffeine an adult should consume is approximately 400 mg. Energy drinks also contain “natural substances” such as taurine, ginseng, and carnitine.
According to the Daily Mail, the research study found that the impact from drinking a non-sugar caffeinated beverage, such as coffee, didn’t have such an effect on the heart.
Research author Dr Emily Fletcher, of the David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California, said, “We decided to study energy drinks’ potential heart health impact because previous research has shown 75 percent of the base’s military personnel have consumed an energy drink. And nearly 15 percent of military personnel, in general, drink three cans a day when deployed, which is more than we studied here,” the Telegraph reported.
For the study, 18 participants were divided into two groups. The first group received 946 ml of energy drinks, while the second group drank a control drink, which contained 320 mg of caffeine, 40 ml of lime juice, and 140 ml of cherry syrup (sugar).
The heart activity and blood pressure of the participants were monitored after every 2, 4 and 6 hours post the energy drink consumption, with follow-up examinations taking place after 24 hours.
According to the Inquistr, the energy drink group showed signs that their heart was “pausing” for 10 milliseconds in between beats. While 10 milliseconds is not significant, it would be much more pronounced if you drank three, four, or even five energy drinks in a short time.
According to NBC News, Dr Fletcher noted that some medications increase the risk for the heart to pause up to six milliseconds, but they have warnings on the medicine bottle. However, there is no warning on energy drinks that caution consumers that it could increase blood pressure.
“Those who consumed the energy drinks still had a mildly elevated blood pressure after six hours,” Dr Fletcher said. “This suggests that ingredients other than caffeine may have some blood pressure altering effects, but this needs further evaluation.”
Meanwhile, Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, told the Daily Mail: ‘Caffeine in energy drinks is no different to caffeine in coffee so these findings are somewhat odd.
“The European Food Safety Authority latest opinion confirms the safety of energy drinks and their ingredients and therefore does not provide any scientific justification to treat energy drinks any differently to the main contributors to daily caffeine intake including tea, coffee and chocolate.
“It’s also worth remembering that coffees from popular high street chains contain the same or more caffeine than most energy drinks.”