Energy drinks can be dangerous

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 Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Alcohol, caffeine have opposite effects.

By V. L. Roberson

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Is the danger of caffeine and energy drinks real?

Natural sciences Instructor Shelly Sheppard, a registered dietician, said for the average healthy college student, there is no immediate danger from caffeine or energy drinks when consumed in moderation. “Three hundred milligrams (three 8-ounce cups) is considered moderation.”

With coffee it’s fairly easy to measure, but with energy drinks it can be difficult to tell because of ingredients such as the amino acids tuarine and L-arginine that enhance the effect of caffeine, according to a study done on mice at Fukuoka University in Japan published by the U.S. National Library of Health at pubmed.gov.

Herbs such as guarana, a natural source of caffeine, can add 40 to 47 milligrams of caffeine for every gram of guarana added, according to the Caffeine Informer website at www.caffeineinformer.com and “Nutrition: From Science to You” by Joan Salge Blake, Kathy D. Munoz, and Stella Volpe, a textbook used in BIOL 1323, Consumer Nutrition for Non-Science Majors.

Naturally this would make a difference if one has an underlying condition.

“So the key is to understand what sources contain so the consumer knows what they are ingesting,” Sheppard said.

Caffeine is classified as a drug, a psychological stimulant. Although energy drinks are not regulated by the federal government, many people believe they should be.

Kinesiology Professor Andreia G. Breaux said, “Due to deaths related to energy drinks, there is a call to regulate them.”

For many students, partying is part of life, and alcohol is part of party life. Mixing alcohol and energy drinks is worrisome because caffeine and alcohol affect the central nervous system in opposite ways, according to the text “Nutrition: From Science to You.”

Studies show alcohol with an energy drink causes the same level of intoxication as alcohol alone, though the consumer may feel less intoxicated.

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