Energy drinks are one kind of beverages which chiefly contain caffeine, which stimulates the physical and mental conditions of the person who consumes them. It is very popular among Indian youth. One of the most popular brands is Red Bull which gives you wings! The trend among youth is to stay awake till late night for their studies. There is so much pressure on every individual. In order to relieve themselves a bit from the overwhelming pressure, they consume energy drinks. They stimulate your body and you feel a new wave of energy inside you and then you again start working. Energy drinks are subset of soft drinks like Pepsi, coca-cola, coke etc. but, these have very high amount of caffeine, sugar and other additives as compared to the soft drinks.
So, the question is that how far it is safe to have energy drinks daily? These drinks contain caffeine, herbal extracts and certain amino acids which are not good for health. The WHO in its latest report has expressed serious concerns over the negative effects of energy drinks. Taking high amount of caffeine quickly can cause ‘caffeine intoxication’ which include complications like nausea, heart palpitations, high blood pressure,hypertension, vomiting, heart failures leading to death.
The amount of ingredients are currently not regulated so, the companies are at full liberty to add ingredients like caffeine to any extent and many labels containing the list and proportions of ingredients are wrong and false. From the research, it has been found out that a normal cup of coffee of 6.5 oz contains 80 to 120 mg of caffeine, 12 oz of coca cola contains 65 mg but 16 oz of Red Bull contains 154 mg and 24oz Wired X505 contains 505mg of caffeine.
Energy drinks also contain high amount of sugar ranging from 21-34 mg in 8 oz. Those who consume the energy drinks twice or thrice daily, have sugar intake of 120-180 mg from these drinks alone, which is 4-6 times more than the recommended sugar intake. These cause problems like obesity, dental problems, and other related problems with high sugar intake like diabetes etc.
People also like to mix energy drinks with alcohol. The high amount of caffeine and other additives diminish the dizziness caused by alcohol and makes it harder and more difficult for people to realize that they already have consumed too much alcohol but because of energy drinks, they are not able to see the effects of alcohol.
The sale of energy drinks were banned in French markets after an 18 year old athlete died while playing after having consumed four cans of energy drinks. However this ban was lifted by European Court of Justice. In U.S., there are no strict regulations as to whom this drinks can be sold to. In U.K., the govt. has just warned children, pregnant and breastfeeding women to refrain from taking energy drinks. However, there are other countries like Sweden and Lithuania which have banned the sale of energy drinks to minors.
Though the detailed side effects of all the ingredients of energy drinks are to be fully researched upon, but all the researches on energy drinks conducted till now, show that they cause serious ill-effects on the health of people.
Energy drinks are not good for the health of people in long run. While 1 or 2 cans in some days, though not absolutely safe, but is still acceptable, the trend of having 3-4 cans daily is going to be very harmful for the people of any society. The WHO has asked the different countries to come up with special and strong regulations specifying the list and proportions of ingredients, the type of age group to which it can be sold to, recommendations for the limit of intake of energy drinks , awareness among the people about the harmful effects of energy drinks etc. There is urgent need that govt. of all the countries pay heed to the recommendations of WHO and other health experts’ reports.
The largest group that consumes these drinks is the youth. The youth is the future of tomorrow. If the youth is not hale and healthy, then the future of that country is very bleak. Immediate steps should be taken to regulate the markets of energy drinks in the world so that people get energy but not at the cost of their health.
About the Author
Kanchan is a second year law student at National Law University, Delhi. Out of the subjects that she has studied till now, she takes interests in criminal Law. Her hobbies include painting, watching movies, listening to songs etc.
 Alexandra Sifferlin, Why Health Officials Are Concerned About Energy Drinks, TIME, October 15, 2014 http://time.com/3510294/energy-drinks-safety/ .
 Haroon Siddique, Energy Drinks Could Cause Public Health problems, Says WHO Study, THE GUARDIAN, October 14, 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/14/energy-drinks-significant-health-risk-who-study-finds .
 Alexandra Sifferlin, What’s in Your Energy Drink, TIME, February 4, 2013 http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/04/whats-in-your-energy-drink/ .
 Haroon , supra note 2.
 Energy Drinks, WIKIPEDIA, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_drink .