Drinking too many energy drinks can have a negative impact on your health.
Many types of energy drinks have gained popularity in Cambodia, especially among people who are exhausted from work, in order to boost their energy and to feel refreshed.
However, can high levels of consumption of energy drinks pose dangers to your health?
What are energy drinks?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), energy drinks refer to non-alcoholic beverages containing caffeine, sugar, vitamins, and other ingredients such as taurine, ginseng, and guarana. Energy drinks are normally marketed as able to boost energy and increase physical and mental performance.
Energy drinks were first invented in 1962 by the Japanese company Taisho Pharmaceutical Co. under the name LiPovitan D. After that, other companies began to produce different types of energy drink products and distributed them across the globe, according to a 2019 study conducted by two professors from VIT University in India. Though the exact date that energy drinks arrived in Cambodia is unknown, it is thought that the sweet drink’s importation began around 1993.
Why do some people like to drink energy drinks?
Energy drinks are known to be generally consumed for mood enhancement, energy boosting, and in some cases, mixing with alcohol. However, many researchers have indicated that drinking energy drinks with alcohol can pose dangers to health, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and can lead to inappropriate behaviour such as violence.
According to the American National Center for Biotechnology Information, it is uncertain whether energy drinks actually boost energy levels and enhance consumers’ moods. Many find that energy drinks don’t increase wakefulness as expected, as levels of sleepiness during the daytime remain high.
What are the negative effects of energy drinks?
The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) has listed some negative effects of energy drinks to include:
- Dental decay: high glucose in energy drinks can erode tooth enamel more than other drinks.
- Energy highs and crashes: energy drink consumers, especially teens, will tend to get poor sleep and decreased attention spans throughout the following day.
- Headaches, heart palpitations, and other heart related illnesses
- High blood pressure
- Higher risk taking: researchers found that people who consume six or more cans of energy drinks in a month can have a three times greater risk of smoking cigarettes, using drugs, and engaging in violence.
- Having a lot of energy drinks during vigorous exercise may result in dehydration, weakness, and fainting
How are the proper intakes of energy drinks?
Dr. Chris M. Matsko, a retired American physician, said that people should:
- consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day (no more than a single can of energy drink or less than 250 milliliters)
- not consume energy drinks to supplement vigorous exercise and hard labour
- not mix energy drinks with alcohol or liquor
- purchase energy drinks without a clear label of ingredients
- not blindly believe advertisements for energy drink products
- not use energy drinks to compensate for lack of sleep and vitamins
He added that pregnant women and children should not consume caffeine levels over 200 and 100 milligrams per day, respectively.
What are the signs of energy drink addiction?
According to the UK’s addiction resource website, addictionhelper.com, the signs of energy drink addiction include:
- More consumptions of energy drinks than water
- Drowsiness after energy drink consumption
- Insomnia and other sleeping disorders
- Uneasy feelings if they do not drink energy drinks
- Fatigue, low concentration, headache, muscle pain, and nausea
- Continued consumption even with the knowledge of energy drinks’ possible negative side effects
If you have experienced these problems, you should decrease your energy drink consumption and seek help from a doctor or an expert.
What are strategies to prevent yourself from drinking too many energy drinks?
Mexico Bariatric Center introduced some strategies to reduce energy drink intake:
- Remove all energy drinks in your households
- Substitutes energy drinks with red ginseng drinks, green tea drinks, fruit juice, and water
- Have regular meals and sufficient nutrients
- Avoid unhealthy food
- Acknowledge your energy drink issue and set a strict rule for yourself
What are the risks of energy drinks consumption in Cambodia?
A study about diabetes in Cambodia conducted by WHO indicated that approximately 10% of Cambodia’s population in 2016 are physically inactive. WHO also predicted that diabetes caused by high sugar level intakes will become the seventh largest death cause of global mortality by 2030.
Dr. Chan Sovandy, a vice chief of anesthesia at Preak Kossomak Hospital and a specialist in kidney disease, said kidney dysfunction treatment in Cambodia is mainly caused by diabetes and high blood pressure.
Wide availability of energy drinks in stores and popularity of energy drinks intake in the country are the major causes of diabetes, added Dr. Sovandy.
He continued, “I asked a regular taxi driver from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville how many cans of energy drinks he consumes per trip, and he told me four cans of energy drinks in order to avoid drowsiness. The high consumption of energy drinks is very threatening to his kidneys, and he will develop a diabetic illness within two or three months.”
He also mentioned that Cambodia should promote awareness of health issues, dietary attention, and sugar intakes in order to improve healthy lifestyles among its own people.