Energy drinks have a chokehold on college students. Here’s why that’s a problem. Photo courtesy of iStock.
By Sara Bhatt, Staff Reporter
Energy drinks, though intended to provide quick boosts of energy and alertness, come with consequences both long-term and short-term. With the growing popularity of various energy drinks, especially amongst college students including those who commute to campus, it is important to note exactly what a great deal of caffeine is doing to the body. As someone who was an avid energy drink consumer, here’s what I’ve found:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the stimulants in energy drinks can have harmful effects on the nervous system. Some dangers of energy drink consumption include “dehydration, heart complications, anxiety, and insomnia” which all can have long-term effects on the body and mind. In my experience, energy drinks caused me to mentally feel on edge and physically very jittery. These drinks, whether it be Red Bull, Celsius, Monster, or any of the many other energy drinks on the market, ultimately come with a risk.
Of 50 students from California State University, Dominguez Hills, 37 reported that they consume an energy drink once a day. Some of the students interviewed lived on campus or near the university, however, the majority were commuter students who described sitting in traffic during the morning and late afternoons as “draining” and “exhausting”, on top of an already long school day. While it may not seem like a very drastic number, consuming energy drinks on a consistent basis is bound to create a physical decline in the body and ultimately a sense of dependability.
Although energy drinks are convenient, there are much healthier alternatives. Some of these options include tea (green or ginger), kombucha, or even a sports drink. While these options aren’t guaranteed to boost energy, they are definitely better than consuming the amount of caffeine and sugar that makes up an energy drink.
The effects of teas, kombucha and sports drinks will not last as long as the effects of an energy drink however the risk of their long-term consumption is far less serious. In fact, many of these alternatives reap various benefits. Specifically, ginger tea as it improves cognitive function and green tea, similar to an energy drink, stimulates brain function. It does so, however with roughly 200 mg less caffeine than an energy drink. Personally, I’ve found that these drinks make me feel more alert and present as opposed to energy drinks that create a crash and burn sensation.
Ultimately, the quick reaction to energy drinks may satisfy your short term but in the bigger picture, other options are worth the sacrifice.