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Let’s Take a Look Into Why Energy Drinks Health Concerns are Mounting with Each Passing Day
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Hey, how’s it going? Yuri here with you with another episode of the SNA Health Class podcast. Today we are going to be looking at the scary truth of energy drinks. This is an area that has exploded over the last couple of years. It’s crazy. I’ve got some ridiculous statistics to share with you. If you’ve ever consumed Red Bull, Monster, any of those other energy drinks—the 5-Hour Energy shot, they’re all the same stuff. It’s pretty crazy.
A 2010 survey by the National…it’s called the 2010 National Health Interview Survey done by the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that one in three adults consumed an energy drink within the past week—this is in the U.S. Twenty-one percent of Americans had more than one energy drink in the past week, and 11 percent consumed more than three energy drinks per week. That’s startling, crazy.
You have to tip your hats to Red Bull and these other energy-drink companies who have really, really marketed very well to especially the minors, ’cause, really, who they’re after are the teenagers, the ones who are kind of pushing the limit. The whole thing is like, “Hey, dude, you can kind of fly in the sky,” and all this stuff. They’ve done a great job of marketing this stuff. Unfortunately, if it was something that was actually good for their health, it would be awesome but it’s not.
It’s very, very, very problematic, this whole energy crisis. It’s really, what I call it; I call it an energy epidemic. More and more people—it’s funny because we drink, the number-one drink in the world is caffeine; we drink more coffee than anything else. Secondly, we’ve turned to these energy drinks as, like, fuel for a car; it’s like we can’t survive without them.
What’s ironic is that in spite of these stimulants, we are more tired than ever. It really comes down to the combination of ingredients that’s within these drinks. We’ll look at a couple of them individually; first of all, caffeine.
Most of these energy drinks, as reported by Johns Hopkins University, range in caffeine content from 50 mg to 505 mg per can or bottle. That’s a lot.
Health Canada says that the recommended, whatever the allowance would be per day is about 300 mg. I don’t even know what that’s considered good or safe; bets just consider 300 per day as the norm or max. Some of these are offering 505 mg per can. That’s very, very, very problematic.
Let’s look at caffeine specifically for a moment before we even go on. Why is caffeine a problem? Well, it’s a stimulant. What does a stimulant do? It stimulates your body to do a couple things. First of all, it stimulates your body, your adrenal glands to pump out stress hormones, specifically adrenaline or epinephrine, same thing.
When that happens, a couple things happen. First of all, your heart rate increases because now you’re in a fight-or-flight state. It’s like you’re running away from a lion. Your blood pressure increases; you become a little bit more focused. There’s debate as to whether this actually helps with why so many teenagers use it for late-night study sessions and whatever else.
Essentially, your body’s put into a fight-or-flight response. When you’re a teenager this stuff is fine; you don’t think about the consequences. What happens is that over time, the more stimulus you provide your body with, the more your adrenal glands become taxed.
The more they’re pumping out cortisol, adrenaline, the more your body is in a state of stress, this fight-or-flight, nonstop, go-go-go, go-go-go. This lessens the quality of your sleep and the duration of your sleep and, over time, can wear down your adrenal glands because too much stimulation, like with anything else, leads to wear and tear.
If you’ve ever heard of adrenal fatigue, this is something that we’re seeing so much of nowadays, so much. People, even myself, I’ve got a certain amount of adrenal fatigue just because I was playing a competitive sport for 15 years of my life at a very, very high level, and the stresses that I incurred with that emotionally and physically were very, very taxing on my body.
Thankfully, I wasn’t drinking energy drinks, but I can tell you, there’re a lot of athletes now, there’re a lot of kids, there are a lot teenagers, there are a lot of people in their twenties and thirties and even older who are consuming energy drinks at higher rates than they are water, so it’s really frightening.
Caffeine is very problematic. It raises blood pressure, disrupts sleep habits, it can aggravate psychiatric conditions. Most importantly, though, it induces reliance, so you feel like you’re on this little bit of a wave for maybe an hour or two, this little caffeine rush, but then it drops. Then what do you do? You don’t feel as good, so you go back and you get more. Then it drops again. So, what do you do? You go back and get more.
That’s why coffee is so—other than if you enjoy the taste, that’s one thing, but it’s so commonly consumed because of this caffeine and what it does to our body.
Unfortunately, when you understand this stuff, caffeine is detrimental. I don’t care about all those studies that say, “Recent studies show that caffeine actually helps prevent colorectal cancer.” Whatever, who cares? You can just eat more fruits and vegetables, and you’re going to get the same benefit or better. Let’s not even go into that coffee-helps-prevent-disease nonsense argument.
The detriments of drinking caffeinated coffee or caffeine in general are much greater than any possible benefit. In addition to caffeine, most energy drinks advertise a special blend of other herbs and ingredients. Sugar is probably the most prominent; a lot of these contain high amounts of sugar.
Also, there are ones that are sugar-free. They’ll put things in like, whatever, aspartame or Splenda, these zero-calorie sweeteners, which are neurotoxins, which directly impair the function of your brain and nervous system, but they also contain things like guarana, taurine, ginseng, B vitamins. These are all little herbs and special things that are supposed to or have been shown to help the nervous system function or energy or alertness. However, the problem, again, is what the source of these is.
The requirements that these manufacturers don’t have to disclaim or disclose where they’re sourcing these ingredients from. Sure, yeah, it might contain guarana, but where is that guarana coming from? Is it chemically manufactured in a plant? Probably. Or even if they’re naturally sourced, are they loaded with toxic pesticides or are they irradiated? Have they been watered with contaminated water? We don’t know this stuff.
I want to give you a couple studies here that really will get you thinking differently about whether these are beneficial or not. I’m sure the studies that I’m about to show you can obviously be refuted by other studies in which you’ll probably find the exact opposite of what I’m about to tell you.
First of all, energy drinks have been heavily promoted to improve cognitive performance, because the thinking is that caffeine stimulates focus, at least for a short amount of time. However, there was a study done, a number of studies that have shown that when compared against placebos—like sugar-free lemonade pretty much—consuming energy drinks had no significant positive effect on concentration, reasoning, or aptitude. A lot of athletes, as I mentioned, use energy drinks. Interesting stuff here.
Creighton University, their Department of Exercise Science did a study, double-blind crossover study, which is pretty solid in terms of methodology, to examine the effect of a Sugar-Free Red Bull on one repetition bench press, so one-rep max on your bench. They looked at 17 students, men, specifically in college—and they found that the Sugar-Free Red Bull had no improvement or enhancement of the one-rep max on the bench press.
Another study at Utah State University looked at a double-blind, randomized crossover study of low-calorie, taurine energy drink, and it did not enhance sprint performance and anaerobic power of 20 NCAA Division I football players who participated in this study. Now we’re starting to see some not-so-great things about why we’re even using this stuff if it’s not improving our athletic performance. I’m sure there are studies that are showing that it does, but, again, there are a lot of studies that show that it doesn’t.
Again, people in the workplace use it very, very commonly. Whether you’re, I don’t know if you’re a surgeon or if you’re operating heavy machinery. If you need this stuff, it’s questionable, right? If you’re a surgeon who’s working, like, 24 hours straight, I don’t want you operating on me. I want somebody who’s fresher. I don’t want you to have to rely on a Red Bull to be able to perform properly.
Energy drinks have been very popular in the military. There was a study done by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and they showed that in Afghanistan, 44 percent of deployed service members consumed at least one energy drink daily, and nearly 14 percent consumed more than three per day. Can you imagine?
Fourteen percent consumed more than three energy drinks per day; that’s massive. Forty-four percent were at least drinking daily; that’s nonsense. Following that, they found that the people who were drinking, those military individuals who consumed three or more drinks per day were far less likely to sleep more than four hours a night. They were also more likely to develop ongoing stress and fatigue.
So, here’s the thinking. You’re in the Army, you’re in Afghanistan, and you need to be alert because if you don’t, you’re dead. You take these energy drinks, you feel alert, but then again, what happens? You can’t sleep properly. So, you don’t sleep properly; therefore your levels of stress and fatigue increase; therefore, you rely on these energy drinks even more so you feel alert and alive. And then again, it disrupts your sleep. It’s this vicious cycle. It’s very, very, very deadly. This stuff is bad, bad news.
The reason I’m bringing this up today is because I came across an article again on CBC Health News that talked about how a health officer out in New Brunswick was going to look up the adverse effects of energy drinks, particularly in children. Now, in New Brunswick it’s illegal to sell energy drinks in schools, but I can’t even imagine that schools allow energy drinks elsewhere to be sold inside the schools, but even if they aren’t, kids can just walk across the street to the convenience store, and they can just pick them up there.
There’ve been a lot of very disturbing adverse reactions. In Canada specifically, Health Canada issued a report saying they’d received 86 reports of adverse reactions to energy drinks since late last year, so this is over the past six months or so. The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. is investigating 13 reports of death linked to so-called energy shots.
Again, the number of people seeking emergency treatment after consuming energy drinks had doubled during the previous four years according to a government survey in the U.S. This is serious stuff; this is crazy, crazy stuff.
The government estimated the number of emergency-room visits related to energy drinks had jumped to 20 thousand from 10 thousand between 2007 and 2011. It doubled; the number of emergency-room visits due to energy drinks doubled over four years.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the new drug. These energy drinks are the new drug. Forget about—you might as well legalize marijuana. I think we’d have fewer issues with that than all these energy drinks.
It’s funny because we allow people to drink alcohol ad libitum, as long as you’re over 18 or 21—whatever it is in the States, 19, I don’t even know what the age is anymore—you can drink as much as you want no problem. It’s ridiculous considering the health consequences of drinking alcohol.
Yet, not that I smoke marijuana—I’m not advising that, yet the health consequences of marijuana are so minimal. I’m not going to say minimal; obviously, it has impacts on brain development and all that cognition stuff. But if you were to weigh the two, marijuana versus alcohol, it seems like marijuana’s a little bit safer than alcohol.
Obviously, we go back centuries in terms of all these stupid agreements we have with alcohol and all this nonsense, but energy drinks, for me, are the big drug, are the drug of the day, because they’re accessible, they’re targeted to kids and teenagers who are going to start becoming dependent upon them, so they can’t even function normally even after they’re in their twenties and thirties without these energy drinks, and that’s a very scary thing to think about.
So, what do I recommend? Well, I don’t recommend that you drink energy drinks at all. If you really want more energy, you have to look at the source of the problem. What is it? You’re not sleeping well? Okay, why aren’t you sleeping well? Are you stressed out? Well, you need to deal with that. You have too much on your mind? Write stuff down before you go to bed; get it off your mind.
Nutritionally, if you follow my Eating for Energy program, I guarantee you’ll double your energy in five days or less or your money back. That’s how powerful it is, and there’re no stimulants, no energy drinks, none of that garbage. It’s simply through food.
If you want to learn more about that, you can go to UltimateEnergyDiet.com, and it’s a life-transforming program. You can actually boost your energy while improving your health as opposed to boosting your energy for an hour with these energy drinks and severely compromising the health of your body. It’s up to you.
What else? Again, it’s simple stuff. You remove the crap out of your diet. You remove the gluten, you remove the wheat, automatically, and you have more energy. You remove the sugar, you lessen the sugar, and you have more energy. You get rid of the caffeine, you go through a bit of a caffeine withdrawal for a day or two or three, boom, and then you have more energy.
The things we’re using to fix our problems are the real cause of our problems a lot of the time. I want you to think about that. This really, really gets me going because I remember when I was down in Phoenix for a Mastermind in, like, dead in the summer. I went for a run at six in the morning ran for about five miles to ASU, Arizona State University, and it was scorching hot at six in the morning.
The problem was that I wasn’t even sweating; this was a very dry heat. I was like, “This is not normal.” I ran the five miles there. I decided not to run back because I’m like if I’m not sweating, I know I’m tired but if I’m not sweating, this is probably not good because I’m probably dehydrated without even knowing it.
What I did was, I walked back, I stopped at a store to grab some coconut water and some water to actually rehydrate normally, and I was blown away. I couldn’t even; I didn’t know where the cashier was because all I could see were just mounds of energy drinks. It was crazy and I’m thinking, What on Earth is going on here?
Then I looked outside and it was the main entrance to ASU. Arizona State University’s main entrance was across the street. I’m thinking, well, that’s very smart. All these students, who are the biggest market for energy drinks, are walking across the street, they’re grabbing their energy drinks, and they’re going back to class. It’s very, very dangerous.
I think part of the problem here is the unrealistic and unachievable expectations that are put on students that are put on kids nowadays by their parents. Kids go to school and they’re expected to get straight A’s. They’re dealing with higher amounts of stress because their parents, in a lot of cases, are expecting them to achieve whatever it is they want to achieve.
I remember going to high school with kids and these are guys who are 15, 16, and I’m asking them “What do you want to do when you’re finished?” and they’re like, “Oh, I want to become a doctor.” “That’s great? Why do you want to become a doctor?” “Because my dad told me I needed to become a doctor.” Well, there’s a life of misery waiting to happen.
Again, the energy drink is not the fix; it’s not going to solve the problem. We need to peel away those layers of the onion and get right down to the root of this issue. Why is it that you’re relying on energy drinks? Why is it that you’re staying up ’til four in the morning to study or write papers? Is it because you’re trying to achieve a certain grade to get into grad school so that you can get into grad school and then get this amazing M.B.A. or Ph.D. and then have trouble finding a job in spite of all that?
I don’t know. We have to really get to the root of these problems. , I have a lot to talk about this stuff, but we’ll leave it at that. I’d love to hear your feedback on this. Jump over to the blog, SuperNutritionAcademy.com/blog; let me know what you think about this whole energy-drink topic. Do you have kids? Do they use them? Do you know anyone who uses them? Do you use them yourself? If you do, I highly encourage you to stop.
Once again, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for the “Big, Fat Food Lies” report, which is on the blog. It’s absolutely free, where you can discover seven nutrition lies that are keeping you sick, fat, and frustrated. So, do that now before you do anything else. Obviously if you’re driving your car right now, you’re not going to do that, but when you get home at your computer, get that done, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
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