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The Elvis Effect

The Energy Drink industry is a six billion dollar a year industry. Last year 230 million cases were sold worldwide. Kids are consuming as many as six of these energy drinks in a single day. I first noticed this about five years ago. A sixteen year old that is a friend of mines little brother could not start his day without a couple of “Monsters” in the morning. I knew some of the risks of consuming caffeine in large quantities, but the facts that follow are brow raising.

According to the above video 50% of kids are consuming one or more of the energy drinks on a daily basis. These energy drinks contain as much as three times the daily recommended caffeine amounts. Now multiply this by the number of cans that some kids are drinking, and you can see the reason for concern. The side effects of caffeine can and will be counterproductive to some medications. Today’s society is very worried about things like A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. I refer to this as the Elvis effect; stimulants to wake up and a downer to help you calm down and relax. A child is hyper, so they put them on medication to counter act this. Then, the child goes to the gas station or the corner store on the way to school and gets an energy drink.

According to my research, a 12 oz. can of soda has 35 mg of caffeine. An 8 oz. can of Redbull has 80 mg and the larger 22 oz. cans of energy drink have 150 mg of caffeine.    Parents do not let their child pound a couple Mountain Dews’ for breakfast, but yet the kids are getting their hands on energy drinks that are in essence two of them.

Overdosing on caffeine has major affects on the central nervous system according to Dr. Whiting.   Affects like anxiety, dehydration, insomnia, irritability, and nervousness. Does this sound familiar to you?

In addition to this it can be compounded with other ingredients like Guarana, Ginseng, and others that I could not find information on. One report I saw said that since caffeine leads to dehydration due to the increased urination, it can also affect bone development in younger children. This happens because vitamins and minerals like calcium are not in the body long enough to be absorbed.

These affects are so bad that to no avail, some states have tried to ban energy drinks all together. But some schools have been successful at banning them on campus. What some are proposing now is to regulate these products just like alcohol and tobacco. Since energy drinks are a nutritional supplement and not food, they are not under the same guidelines as soda and other soft drinks.

In most sports, not only is the branding everywhere you look on posters, billboards, trophy girls, vehicles, and safety gear, it is on the podium with the athletes that young kids idolize. In motocross for example, every rider has an energy drink or what looks like an energy drink of some kind in their hand and sipping on it.

There is a reason they have water bottles or cans with screw lids on them in their hand. It is not energy drink they are consuming. I would bet it is water or vitamin water. If you know anything about physical fitness you know that you avoid caffeine all together when you are training.  Again, everything in moderation and balance it out. If you are in need of a boost then feel free. Afterwards, you will need to replenish the nutrients and water that your body loses in the short run. Regardless of your thoughts on health, nutrition, and physical fitness, the energy drinks, and the associated problems they are causing, will be debated for years to come. Stay tuned.

By Clint Dehnert

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