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The Dangers of Energy Drinks

The Dangers of Energy Drinks

Energy drinks make some big promises about how you will benefit from improved concentration, extra fuel to get through the day, and a raging good time. However, in spite of flashy packing and clever marketing schemes, energy drinks are not good for your health. After the initial bursts of energy, you are more likely to have a hard crash, you may experience increased difficulty with concentration, and energy drinks negatively impact everything from your heart to your teeth. Still not convinced? Here are several reasons why you should stop sipping on the liquid body fuel.

Reason #1: Too Much Stimulation

A term you might remember is “wig out,” which is exactly what energy drinks can make you do. The beverages are loaded with sugar and caffeine, causing an adrenaline rush. Drinkers tend to experience the rush of energy within ten minutes, but the overall effects last for about two hours. Though you may feel like you are able to go out and conquer the world, too many stimulants increase nerve irritability and firing rates. Your brain responds with stronger cognition and a heightened sense of vigilance, but you may also become more anxious or stressed.

Reason #2: Too Much Sugar

It is estimated that 45% of men will drink at least one energy drink a day, but 14% of men will drink up to three cans a day. For the unsuspecting user, drinking one 8.4 ounce energy drink will dump as much as 27 grams of sugar into the body. When the entire recommended limit is 50 grams of sugar a day, your weight and health may be sabotaged by your drinking habits. Not only does spikes in blood sugar create ups and downs with your energy levels, but it also leads your body to store more fat. Sugars can make it harder to lose weight. For this reason, many weight loss programs, such as the HCG diet, require participants to keep sugar out of their diet. This includes processed or refined sugars, as well as reduced intake of natural sugars. Eating artificial sweeteners or fake sugars can stimulate you to eat more foods, as sugar is empty calories. Your hunger mechanism fails to get switched off when you consume too much sugar. As a result, your body still sends a message that it is time to eat.

Reason #3: Too Much Trouble

When scientists conducted an immersion study with human teeth and energy drink, significant and serious enamel damage occurred over time. Between the decay when comparing energy drinks and sports drinks, the energy drinks did twice as much damage. The cavities that can come from too much sugar aren’t the only problems facing your teeth. The high levels of acid in the energy drinks can weaken your teeth as well. Energy drinks are considered more acidic than coffee, and for most drinkers, the acid remains on the teeth for a large part of the day.

Reason #4: Too Much Caffeine

Though some caffeine can be helpful in jumpstarting your energy levels the first thing in the morning, healthcare experts warn against consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine a day. This is the general equivalent of three cups of coffee. Energy drinks aren’t completely transparent in how much caffeine they hold. A label may indicate a range of caffeine, with the average drink having anywhere from 20-400 mg. It may seem like you are well within the limit, but there are always a number of unpronounceable components that may have increased stimulant effects or other caffeinated effects.

Reason #5: Too Much Alertness

There should be little surprise that revving your body up with caffeine will keep you from getting the sleep you need. Energy drinks and levels of caffeine and sugar are designed to keep your alert and awake. The stimulating effect on the neurons in your body will work to decrease the amount of sleep you are able to get. If you do need to have an energy drink, you should try to consume it in the morning so there is plenty of time for it to get washed from your system. This can improve your chances of getting a better night’s sleep.

Reason #6: Too Much Fat

If your habit is to guzzle down a few cans each day, you are likely to experience significant weight gain when evaluating long-term weight. The calories and sugar content are the culprits in the can. However, research has linked energy drinks and soft drinks to the obesity epidemic.


If you struggle with low energy or fatigue, energy drinks aren’t the best way to get your activity levels back. For the best long-term results, consult with a physician over the need to change your diet, exercise routine, or medications.


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About the author

Dr. Richard Smith, MD

4 min read