Energy drinks: Health downsides not worth the extra pep

Consuming energy drinks may increase the risks of a wide range of health problems, including poor mental health, substance abuse, diabetes, tooth decay, high blood pressure, and kidney damage, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers. They say that the risks are especially concerning because these drinks are aggressively marketed to young people, are often mixed with alcoholic drinks, and face little regulatory oversight.

Josiemer Mattei, assistant professor of nutrition and lead author of a review article published in August in Frontiers in Public Health that explored the science on energy drinks, told Men’s Health that “The wide range of conditions that energy drinks can negatively impact was quite astounding.”

In an interview published November 16, 2017, Mattei said that the high amounts of sugar and caffeine in these drinks likely play a role in their negative health effects. Other stimulants on the ingredient list, such as guarana, taurine, and ginseng, may also be contributing factors, but more research is needed.

Mattei said that the evidence is clear that the health risks associated with energy drinks outweigh any short-term pep they may provide. A better energy boosting choice, she said, is staying hydrated.

Read study: Health Effects and Public Health Concerns of Energy Drink Consumption in the United States: A Mini-Review

Read Men’s Health coverage: Here’s What Energy Drinks Actually Do to Your Body