Before we have a look at the long term effects of energy drinks, it’s worth noting that over the past two decades there has been a surge in their consumption. According to the latest statistics, between 35-50% of American teenagers consume energy drinks on a regular basis, with the most common ones being Red Bull and Monster.
Surprisingly, the same teenagers are often tempted to mix the same energy drinks with alcohol, which increases the risks associated with drinking too much of the drink. Energy drinks have both short and long-term effects, most of which are associated with caffeine and guarana. Below we focus on the notable long term effects of energy drinks.
Long Term Effects of Energy Drinks
1. Caffeine Addiction
Caffeine is one of the most addictive substances on earth. Daily consumption of caffeine over an extended period of time will ultimately lead to addiction. It reaches a point where your body becomes dependent on it such that if you miss it your brain and entire body won’t be at optimum working condition.
According to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adults should consume between 200 and 300 mg of caffeine per day (or even less). Taking one 16-ounce energy drink gives you 160 mg of caffeine, and two will surpass the maximum you can take.
Surprisingly, some energy drinks contain up to 357mg of caffeine per 16 ounce serving, which means one serving will be more than the recommended amount. Why then should you not take too much caffeine? Because overconsumption of caffeine may lead to insomnia, anxiety, jitters and headaches
2. Diuretic Dependence
Most OTC diet pills claiming to have diuretic to help with water retention also have caffeine. The caffeine is meant to provide extra energy that people who are on diet aren’t getting from foods. Caffeine will also stimulate the production of urine.
Over time, your body may become dependent on caffeine to stimulate kidney function, and should you suddenly stop taking the drink you might suffer severe complications, such as loss of kidney function and buildup of toxic urea.
3. Cardiovascular Disease
A review in the American Journal of Cardiology demonstrated the connection between energy drinks consumption and cardiovascular problems. The review highlighted that more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room are related to energy drink consumption.
There is also empirical data substantiating the role of caffeine in energy drinks in causing arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Apart from putting you at risk of heart disease, too much caffeine increases the risk of getting stroke.
There are growing bodies of evidence linking caffeine with the onset of osteoporosis. Caffeine promotes the loss of calcium in bones, a detail that links too much caffeine consumption (from energy drinks) with osteoporosis. While there is yet to be conclusive findings, the available evidence leans in that direction.
5. Disrupted Sleep Patterns
Drinking energy drinks for so long leads to disrupted sleep patterns, which, over a long period of time, can cause permanent problems often associated with sleep apnea.
There are many factors that contribute to miscarriage including: chromosome problems, placental problems, drug misuse during pregnancy, obesity and smoking. Caffeine, in some way, can play a role in causing miscarriage. Drinking more than 200mg of caffeine a day increases the risk of getting a miscarriage, especially when other causative agents are in play.
7. Type II Diabetes
High consumption of caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity, eventually leading to type II diabetes.
Conclusion: Long Term Effects of Energy Drinks
One time consumption of an energy drink won’t cause any of the highlighted health complications. However, taking too much at a time and over an extended period of time will lead to the mentioned health problems, along with palpitations and high blood pressure.