Instant energy at great cost

Negative consequences

They are sweet, they are tasty (after you drink them a few times probably) and more over, they are non-alcoholic.

Energy drinks, which are available in plenty at college fests, music concerts and a host of other events, are mostly distributed for free and lapped up by youngsters. In fact, a popular energy drink company has chosen adult star Sunny Leone as its face! However, many youngsters are not aware of the fact that these drinks could pose a risk to one’s health in the long run. After all, they are loaded with sugar, caffeine and other stimulants.

Theertha, a student of communication, enjoys drinking Red Bull once in a while but is aware of its limitations. “Sometimes when you are tired, a can of it makes you feel energetic. But it should not be had in excess,” she explains. While Sandeep, who works in the IT sector, admits that he is addicted to energy drinks. “Earlier, I used to work in the BPO sector. My shift was rotational and I would party with my colleagues every weekend. So I used to drink them just to keep myself awake. Energy drinks are extremely addictive and at that time, I had to stay awake to make a living,” he recalls. He still drinks them regularly although he is aware of the consequences.

While most energy drinks boast of containing vitamins other than caffeine, according to a recent study, caffeine is the only ingredient that actually works. Hence, it’s not a wonder why students like to drink them when they are burning the midnight oil. Furqan Jawad, who is pursuing B.Com in St Joseph’s Evening College, drinks Red Bull and Tzinga occasionally. “During exams, I drink them to stay awake. Also, I feel refreshed when I have an energy drink after a game of football. However, I haven’t made it a habit. They are addictive like nicotine and give you a push,” he informs. Sometimes, the energy comes with instant side effects as he informs, “One of my friends feels
dizzy and numb after drinking them. Even I have experienced the same, especially when I am stressed and drink them.”

Abhishek, who works with Holy Stoked Collective and organises skateboarding events, is totally against energy drinks. “If I had to organise an event entirely by myself, I would never allow them to come. Have you even seen an athlete promoting an energy drink,” he asks. Abhishek, along with his friends, has even started a ‘Don’t Drink It’ movement against energy drinks. “They don’t taste good. In fact, no one really likes their taste in the beginning. Plus, they clearly state that kids below 14 should not be drinking them. But I have seen many underage kids drinking them,” he laments.
“Many places serve a cocktail of vodka or gin and an energy drink. It’s a horrible combination of alcohol and caffeine. The more you drink it, the more you exhaust your body. But you can’t blame the youngsters for getting addicted to them. After all, when
a pretty girl walks up to them and hands it over for free,
why would they say no,” he wonders.

Medical experts feel that the consequences of energy drinks can be negative if not fatal. Dr Guha, a radiologist and assistant professor at the Vaidehi Institute of Medical Sciences, says, “An energy drink of 300 ml contains around 450-500 calories. So it basically fulfills half our daily requirement of 1200-1400 calories.” He adds, “So when you have an energy drink, you need to work really hard to burn all the calories. It’s alright if you are a sportsperson or someone who walks up and down 20 times a day.” However, some people substitute them for water which should be completely avoided, he advises. “Continuous consumption in the long run could pose the threat of cardiac diseases, obesity and high sugar,” he sums up.

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