Do You Know Nutrition: Energy drinks may make you feel tired, droopy in long run

By Phylis Canion
Nov. 5, 2013 at 5:05 a.m.

Recently, you talked with my son's class at school about energy drinks and their potential side effects of overuse. I wish he would remember everything I tell him like he remembered everything you talked about that day. Every time I buy an energy drink, he quotes you and reminds me about how bad they are for me. I guess that deep down I know that because I will not allow him to have one. I just need a boost to get going in the morning, although later in the day, I feel like I am dragging. Is that from the caffeine in the energy drink? Why? Can you please share with me the potential side effects of consuming too many energy drinks in a day?

Thank you for not allowing your child to have energy drinks that are loaded with caffeine. For a 30-pound child, one 12-ounce soda contains the caffeine equivalent of five cups of instant coffee for a 150-pound adult. According to the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, energy drink caffeine content generally ranges from 50 mg to a mind-blowing 505 mg per can.

An energetic child does not need the stimulating effects of caffeine, especially in such a small body. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, secretion of hormones and water loss. It has a direct influence on your brain and nervous system, thought processes and muscle coordination.

You may feel more energetic at first, since energy drinks claim to enhance mental and physical performance, however, when the caffeine wears off, it can leave you feeling tired and droopy.

Because caffeine can stay in your system for up to five hours, it can cause insomnia, adding to your fatigue. Most energy drinks may also contain guarana, which contains large amounts of caffeine. Guarana has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for safety, effectiveness or purity.

What concerns me even more is the aluminum can you are drinking it out of. Your body would get a better boost each morning by eating an apple.

Thought for the week: Life is made up of moments. Moments create days. Days create months. Months create years. Years create life.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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