Alcoholic energy drinks should be banned

Energy drinks - a danger for young people?

Colorful, tasty and totally hip: the stimulating power drinks are the absolute hit with teenagers. After all, a little boost of energy can't hurt, they say. Is that correct?

They are hip, taste sweet and are supposed to give you power. The colorful cans with the energy drinks are permanent stimulants for teenagers. However much harm they can do, the youngsters don't worry about that. Many parents worry about this. Consuming energy drinks unchecked - is that criminal recklessness? Are the power drinks really dangerous to health? Doctors, consumer advocates and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment got to the bottom of this question and the colorful beverage cans.

Energy drinks - young people love them: colorful, exotic and sweet

The shelves are full of it. Nobody can overlook them - the intensive promotion of these trendy beverages alone ensures that. The manufacturers mainly rely on commercials in the electronic media. In terms of content, the stimulating effect is often emphasized. There is no mention of the negative properties such as high caffeine or sugar content. Regardless of the brand you hold out your hand for, the active ingredients, in different compositions, are essentially the same.

Energy drinks - these are the ingredients

In addition to water, carbonic acid, minerals, colorings and flavorings (natural or synthetic), there are above all these ingredients, which trigger a stimulating or stimulating effect:

  • Sugar or sweetener (dextrose, glucose, sucrose, fructose)

  • Caffeine (often in the form of guarana)

  • Taurine (accelerates the metabolism)

  • Glucuronolactone (similar to caffeine and taurine, stimulates the body and mind)

The wake-up effect of energy drinks is mainly due to the two main ingredients: Sugar provides the energy, and caffeine provides the stimulating effect. The risk of caffeine overdosing from energy drinks is quite high. A 250 milliliter can contains 80 milligrams of caffeine, as much as a cup of coffee. That sounds harmless at first, but it's rarely just a can. If you, or your child, drink several energy drinks in a row, this can have undesirable consequences.

Energy drinks - and what they promise

Almost 70 percent of all young people, according to the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center, drink energy drinks - but above all one in four of them consumes more than is good for them.

This is what the energy drinks should bring:

  • more efficiency at work

  • more concentration in exam situations

  • more stamina at parties

  • more stamina when surfing the Internet

  • more concentration at the wheel

  • more strength in sports

"No effect without side effects" is what medicine says. However, very few are aware of this. Energy drinks can trigger these symptoms:

  • Racing heart

  • insomnia

  • inner unrest

  • Gastrointestinal complaints

  • Nausea

With larger quantities, the following can also occur

  • a headache

  • increased irritability

  • Sweats

  • high blood pressure

  • Cognitive disorders

  • Heart rhythm disorders

  • Circulatory collapse

These negative side effects are exacerbated if you:

  • drinks a lot of it

  • little sleeps

  • exerting yourself physically, for example playing sports

  • who mixes energy drinks with alcohol

As a long-term effect, regular and excessive consumption of energy drinks can also damage tooth enamel and cause sugar problems. There is a risk of obesity.

These people should generally avoid energy drinks:

  • children

  • Pregnant women

  • Women who breastfeed

  • people sensitive to caffeine

  • People with diseases of the cardiovascular system

  • epileptic

  • diabetic

Energy drinks - they have already cost lives

The combination of sport or other physical exertion plus energy drink as well as the mixture of energy drink plus alcohol is particularly questionable to dangerous. In the US, several dozen people are said to have died after consuming power drinks. We have already had the first deaths.

Energy drinks plus alcohol: "devil stuff"

In a study, the European Food Safety Authority EFSA questioned more than 52,000 adults, adolescents and children in 16 EU countries. Nowhere else are energy drinks mixed with alcohol as popular as in Germany. Vodka energy has been the trendy drink in bars and discos for years. In 2013, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment BfR surveyed young people who regularly consume energy drinks. So they drink one liter of energy drink with alcohol on average in a single night at the disco. Sometimes a night of partying ends in the emergency room. The doctors there then quickly know what they are dealing with: They speak of "devil stuff".

Energy drinks - the supporting studies are missing

These stimulant drinks have been controversial for a long time - if only because they contain large amounts of caffeine and sugar - and there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that even one of the ingredients actually has a performance-enhancing effect. On the other hand, there is also a lack of adequate studies that prove a health-endangering effect. This dilemma leads the EU to argue: As long as it has not been proven that the drink is harmful, there should be no Europe-wide sales ban. After all, there are warnings on the beverage cans. "For the risks and side effects, you might want to take a look at it before opening the next can."

Energy drinks - "The dose makes the poison"

Whether sweets or alcohol, sports or energy drinks: Too much of a good thing is quickly the opposite of a good thing. You should explain that to your child - and also that they don't have to do without their favorite drink entirely. A scientific report by EFSA states that 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight per day are safe for children and adolescents. "The dose makes the poison". A 250 milliliter can of energy drink contains 80 milligrams of caffeine. Now you just have to be able to calculate a little ...