Energy drinks: Harmful or helpful?

It is the night before your paper is due, and you are staring at a blank page. As the night goes on, you start to feel drowsy. You know the only thing that will get you through the night is your trusty energy drink.

Many college students have tried energy drinks that claim to have it all to deal with college courses, long work hours and stressful home environments.

But there are several side effects to these beloved drinks that leave many feeling crashed, or even worse.

Nooshin Samadani, a local CVS pharmacist, believes that energy drinks cause more harm than good.

“I don’t recommend them because they give you a high boost of energy, and when the caffeine withdraws it makes you feel sleepy,” said Samadani. “Side effects make you dependent on the drinks, and give you headaches and fatigue.”

According to Energy Fiend, an online database of information about caffeine, most energy drinks consist of two main ingredients: caffeine and sugar.

The average Rockstar drink contains 160 milligrams of caffeine and over 60 milligrams of sugar.

Having too much sugar and caffeine can lead to insomnia, jitters, headaches, diabetes, or even death, according to Energy Fiend.

A Food and Drug Administration report states that 18 deaths and 132 illnesses were linked to energy drinks in the last decade.

“I personally don’t drink energy drinks because they make me jittery and feel weird,” said Santa Monica College student Mary Carothers.

Some college students find alternative ways to stay awake through hectic schedules.

“I go to sleep earlier and try to actually eat breakfast," Carothers said. "Green drinks give me so much energy."

If you must have that boost of caffeine to get through your day, Samadani recommended a cup of coffee as opposed to an energy drink.

“If you take coffee throughout the day, it will give you energy without the side effects of energy drinks,” she said.

So, next time you feel the need to fly, settle for an earlier bedtime, a nice cup of coffee or a good breakfast.

Christina WilliamsComment