Party like a rockstar now, crash later

Kelley Marble

Let’s face it, waking up in the morning for school or work isn’t exactly the best feeling in the world. In fact, it’s got to be right up there with the worst.

So what do we do to curb that feeling and give us a little extra boost? Caffeine, of course. Most of us consume some type of caffeine on a daily basis whether it is chocolate, soda, tea, or coffee. Caffeine comes in many forms, all of them proving to be pretty addictive.

One of the most popular ways to get an injection of caffeine seems to be energy drinks. You know, Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster–there’s practically a new one every day. An energy drink is a caffeinated beverage with other ingredients such as guarana, ginseng, and ephedrine.

Depending on the size of the energy drink, one serving can contain as much caffeine as one cup of coffee, which is double that of one Mountain Dew. So, can this much caffeine and other energy jolting ingredients be healthy for you?

Energy drinks are typically targeted at people under the age of 30, especially those in college. They have become so prevalent on college campuses as well, readily available in vending machines or cafeterias. There are dozens of different energy drinks on the market today, some even originating out of Orange County.

The mass popularity of these drinks has boomed over the past couple of years.

It’s not just that morning boost that feeds the energy drink rage. Another huge reason for this seems to be because to a lot of people, it mixes nicely with alcohol-sort of an energy combo plate. Alcohol, which is usually described as a depressant, now has a counter side when mixed with an energy drink.

When you consider all the stimulating ingredients tossed into the typical energy drink, is it really safe to consume more then one of them a day?

According to Brown University studies found at www.brown.edu, the ingredients in an energy drink will increase your heart rate and blood pressure, and they will also dehydrate you. Since they dehydrate you, it probably isn’t such a good idea to mix them with alcohol or drink them while exercising. You’re already dehydrating yourself, unless you have some kind of death wish, why double up?

Exercise and sports is another huge market that energy drink makers use to promote their products. And that’s a strange marriage when you think about it because with the mass amounts of caffeine, sugar, and sodium, energy drinks can actually contribute to a lot of health risks in athletes.

Other studies describe what you should consider before you consume an energy drink. It’s been reported that if you suffer from epilepsy coming down from the energy high might spark seizures. Different countries all over the world have put bans on these drinks, or haven’t even approved them to go on market. So things are in flux.

This is not to say that drinking energy drinks is an awful thing. After all, there’s practically a Starbucks on every corner in Orange County, so how much worse is a little Red Bull?

But it would be wrong for people to think that just because something is called an energy drink, it is as healthy as going to the gym, eating a bowl tofu or whatever.

Getting up in the morning with a jolt of caffeine or not is never going to be one of life’s finer moments.

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