Monday, January 29, 2007

Does It Really Give You Wings?

“Red Bull, It gives you wings.” “Monster Energy: Unleash the Beast.” With an increase in the so called extreme sports, there has been an increase in the amount of energy drinks consumed by these athletes and the general public as well. Turn on or attend a sporting event and you can see why. At the race track, at the snowboard competition, at the wake board competition you see banners for Red Bull. You are handed samples of Rockstar and Full Throttle by beautiful models wearing very little clothing. The winner of the competition thanks his sponsor Monster Energy while taking a sip from the can of Monster Energy. You begin to believe that they really won that race, that competition just because of that Red Bull. That must be what gave them that extra energy, right?

Many people see this advertising everyday and but these products because of it. Many young children and drinking these drinks because there favorite athlete is seen drinking it after winning a competition. In a world where most of our children our already overweight, the addition of energy drinks to there diet does not help. They also purpose a health risk to the athlete endorsing the product. These drinks, whose primary ingredients are caffeine and sugar, account for over six percent of the non alcoholic beverage market and are expected to be muti billion dollar companies by 2010.

There are four primary ingredients in all of the energy drinks: caffeine, sugar, taurine, and glucuronolactone .Caffeine can lead to dehydration, and dehydration and exercise do not mix. Caffeine is a diuretic which allows for release of fluids not the reuptake of fluids which in turn causes dehydration. Taurine is an amino acid. Amino acids help with the building of proteins. And glucuronolactone which rids the body of harmful things and causes very quick energy and helps fight fatigue. Taurine and glucoronolactone are created naturally in the body.

According to the Drug Information Clearing House, research has shown that young children who consume energy drinks may suffer from sleep problems, bed-wetting and anxiety as well as becoming irritable. Long term effects may also take place due to the amount of caffeine, as much a large string cup, and sugar, about five tablespoons per eight ounces. As for the athlete, these drinks may lead to dehydration which in turn actually will eventually lead to fatigue. They also increase heart rate which increases arousal and too much arousal can lead to fatigue.

The verdict. While these drinks due supply you with quick energy, they do so with some possible health risks especially to our young athletes. There is still much to be explored in this area. There is still much debate over the whether or not these drinks are safe to drink. Over time we will see if it is really safe for you to get your wings.